Manic Street Preachers - National Treasures: The Complete Singles
Review by Jack Foley
HAVING reached the landmark of releasing 10 studio albums last year, Manic Street Preachers now put together National Treasures, their complete singles collection.
And while the name may be slightly presumptuous (as the Manics have been an acquired taste for much of their career), the 38 tracks that span their 21-year career to date do boast some highlights.
Split over two CDs, the album kicks off with the high-flying Motown Junk and ends in the forthcoming new single, This Is The Day, which marks the first time since 1992’s Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H) that the Manics have released a cover version as a single despite recording and playing live many versions of their favourite tracks over the years.
This Is The Day (released on November 7) is a cover of the 1983 The The track taken from the synth-noir classic album Soul Mining and finds the band remaining as faithful as possible to the original while placing their guitars to the fore and a vaguely ‘60s vibe also thrown in.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of crowd-pleasing moments that reflect how unapologetically bold and forthright James Dean Bradfield and co have been over the years.
These include La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh), Motorcycle Emptiness, Suicide Is Painless, Everything Must Go and A Design For Life on CD1 (the latter, especially, one of the band’s timeless anthems).
CD2, meanwhile, opens with one of their biggest hits, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next and a prime example of how they’ve consistently been able to mix honest, open and sometimes bolshy lyricism with catchy instrumentation and pop savvy.
Worth stopping to appreciate again on CD2, meanwhile, are The Everlasting, You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Tsunami, So Why So Sad, Ocean Spray, Let Robeson Sing, There By The Grace of God, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough and current single, This Is The Day.
As with most best of or singles collections that are released this time of year, National Treasures does showcase how enduring the Manic Street Preachers have been over the years and why they’ve been able to adapt and remain at the top of the music game for so long.
Yes, they probably play more strictly to their long-time fanbase than some acts (U2, Coldplay, etc) but there are plenty of pearls among the 38 songs collected here, which makes them worth revisiting even if they’re not quite national treasures!
Download picks: La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh), Motorcycle Emptiness, Suicide Is Painless, Everything Must Go, A Design For Life, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, The Everlasting, You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Tsunami, So Why So Sad, Ocean Spray, Let Robeson Sing, There By The Grace of God, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, This Is The Day
- If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
- The Everlasting
- You Stole The Sun From My Heart
- The Masses Against The Classes
- So Why So Sad
- Found That Soul
- Ocean Spray
- Let Robeson Sing
- There By The Grace Of God
- The Love Of Richard Nixon
- Empty Souls
- Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
- Indian Summer
- (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love
- Some Kind Of Nothingness
- Postcards From A Young Man
- This Is The Day