[8] Manic Street Preachers, ‘Walk Me To The Bridge’

manics 2014

“DA-DA-DA-DAAA” – it’s a riff you have to sing along to. Juniors 1 and 2 sing along to the riff.

Well, this is timely, seeing as everyone’s talking about the Manic Street Preachers right now. Between you and me, I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to The Holy Bible all the way through, or at least not more than once. I was never invested in the cult of the Manics although I did buy ‘Stay Beautiful’, ‘Love’s Sweet Exile’ and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ (and Gold Against The Soul just for the first two singles), and later ‘A Design For Life’ and ‘If You Tolerate This…’. They just didn’t speak to my politics, which were, in essence, can I dance to it? And is Staropramen on tap?

Which makes it all the more surprising to see them here, so long after even their biggest fans would admit was their peak. Except for those fans who think that terrible single with Nina Persson was any good, of course. But this is such a great, punchy single. I always did like ‘Yellow Pearl’. And the false chorus appeals to the pop anarchist in me, as does the mild is-it-isn’t-it about Richey Edwards intrigue. Nicky Wire says it isn’t and you have to trust a man in shades, don’t you?

[5] Manic Street Preachers, ‘So Why So Sad (Sean Penn Mix – Avalanches)

Is this really the done thing? Heroes of the year, The Avalanches took the Manics’ dreary and slightly odd Showaddywaddyesque plodder and kicked out the stinking chorus, droning Nicky Wire echoed vocal lines, misplaced moog and general sense of melodic dead-end – and replaced all the tired parts with Beach Boys glitter, sun-kissed Hawaiian keyboard strokes and chugging percussion, creating a dizzily gorgeous seaside twilight happy mix. Then they named it after Sean Penn. Pure crazed genius. It’s just a pity for the Preachers that these Aussie samplesmiths couldn’t be around every day. Pity for us too – think of the records we would have been spared.

Junior stood before me, wielding a plastic sword. That might have been how The Avalanches did it, come to think.