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Happy Birthday Generation Terrorists!

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Happy Birthday Generation Terrorists! Empty Happy Birthday Generation Terrorists!

Post by Cari Sun 12 Feb 2012, 1:11 pm

In February 1992, the Manics released their debut album Generation Terrorists. I remember at the time, there was a lot of cynicism amongst muso-journos because the Manics, despite only being the band they were, for two years beforehand, insisted that this debut album of theirs was going to be a double album that would sell millions globally, then they'd split up and go away forever. That's an incredibly ambitious claim to be made by anyone, but coming from four South Welsh boys who looked like they'd robbed their mam's wardrobe and vandalised their sister's best blouse, it was just plain hilarious - especially to those who never looked beyond the M25 for talent. Yet, there was something fascinating about them. They got the journalists talking about them regardless, and they knew it. The band toured relentlessly promoting their material whilst providing amusing anecdotes of recycled half-arsed rock 'n' roll excesses (Nicky Wire spewing up behind the amps after necking too much Red Stripe, James Dean Bradfield standing at the foot of the stage at the Reading Festival furiously spitting on the crowd for the hell of it, Richie Edwards claiming to have a threesome etc). It was like Spinal Tap meets Twin Town. Then Richie Edwards notoriously self-harmed much to the shock of journalists.

The album itself, however, was much more intelligent. Clearly this band had been dreaming up this album for years - every lyric, every quote used on the sleeve and look of it was carefully thought out and put together. It's teemed with slogans pinched from the popular culture of the time, political rhetoric, and some scarily inarticulate angst. The polished production and aesthetic gloss contradict the lyrical content but give the album the appearance of big American rock classics like Appetite For Destruction which heavily influences the sound (Condemned to Rock n Roll blatantly pilfered from Rocket Queen for example). Indeed, James Dean Bradfield claims he taught himself to play guitar by listening to Appetite For Destruction and copying the chords. The lyrics mimic those of their influences - highly politicised albums like The Clash's London Calling and Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

So, big deal, you say that this anniversary has come about. What's the significance of that? Well, for me personally, I think it's one of the most important albums in Welsh popular culture. For me, the Manics were the first Welsh band to really kick open the door for Welsh artists. Before them, Welsh bands/pop stars were either non-existent to elsewhere or something of a novelty. There might have been something of an exception in The Alarm had they not had ridiculous haircuts and the constant U2 comparisons. The Manics appeared to some as a bit of a joke, but they were deadly serious. When asked about where they come from they were honest - it's sh*t being in South Wales under Thatcherism, actually. Being a working class teenager in South Wales myself and living in what felt like the arse-end of nowhere, this band were honestly speaking for me. Whilst listening to the great noise they had made musically, their lyrics educated me and the quotes on the sleeve, helped me to discover other things that perhaps, I'd never have bothered with before and wasn't taught at school. I went on to become a huge manics supporter at the time and wrote a fanzine for them for about 12 years before responsibility took over in 2003 Smile I hope this thread introduces their early stuff to some newer, younger fans and brings back fond memories for the older ones.

Stay Beautiful Happy Birthday Generation Terrorists! 3559488474

You can read more interesting stuff about the anniversary and album here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/walesmusic/2012/02/manic-street-preachers-generation-terrorists-20th-anniversary.shtml

My favourite tracks off it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM_oov3dU6A&ob=av2e

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gavcjNniIvk&ob=av2e

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Post by dyrewolfe Sun 12 Feb 2012, 1:22 pm

I've got it - picked it up by chance in my local Woolworths several years ago (before it closed). My favourite tracks are You Love Us and Condemned To Rock 'n' Roll.

I also have Everything Must Go. Seems to me that most of their stuff in between and since hasn't come close to those albums.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Mon 20 Feb 2012, 1:53 pm

Generation Terrorists is an important album but it's not a great album. The production is horrible. How they could have listened back to the drums on 'Love's Sweet Exile' and given it the thumbs up, I really don't know. That said, it's certainly true that it went a long way to changing the attitude of the (inevitably London-centric) music press to Welsh bands and music from Wales. They talked the talk and with Generation Terrorists they proved they could walk the walk, even if it was a polished sound that was at odds with the nihilist punk outlook of their lyrics. As Cari said, they kicked in the door.

Dyrewolfe, if you don't have it already already, you should get yourself a copy of The Holy Bible. The Manics have never sounded as raw and as vital as they do on that album, even if the lyrics and subject matter are bleak. It's the perfect marriage of lyric / ethos and music.

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Post by dyrewolfe Tue 21 Feb 2012, 3:51 pm

Hmm. I might look up some tracks on YouTube and check it out that way. If I like them, I may well buy it.

Normally, I prefer my albums to sound polished. Raw energy is for gigs IMHO. If you're going to commit something to a studio master tape, you may as well make it sound as perfect as possible (unless, of course, you're recording a live album).

I'm a bit schizophrenic like that. I believe music can be a masterpiece of art, as well as an audio "punch in the face".
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Post by Cari Tue 21 Feb 2012, 5:52 pm

The production does have a polished finished to it, but some of it stills sounds raw. It's definitely not as polished as Gold Against The Soul which is a terrible album (albeit one or two decent songs on it).

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:22 pm

I disagree with you there, Cari. Gold Against the Soul is overblown, but the sound is much better on it. 'Sleepflower' is punchier than anything on Generation Terrorists, for me.

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Post by Adam D Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:28 pm

Cari - would you mind if this article was used on the v2 journal?

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Post by Cari Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:30 pm

Adam - no not at all, if others find it interesting. The more the merrier.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:32 pm

PM for you, Adam! Smile

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Post by Adam D Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:33 pm

If its the PM about the name change - I will do it later this evening OK

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:34 pm

Thanks. Sorry for pestering you! OK

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