MANIC STREET Preachers have been one of the most controversial and political bands of the past decade. October sees the release of their 'greatest hits' album, Forever Delayed. There is much that disappoints about the Manics these days. Their upcoming national tour is sponsored by Carling and the tickets are expensive. The band also seems to be keeping quiet over war on Iraq when other bands like Massive Attack and Blur support the anti-war movement.
Nevertheless even a cursory listen to Forever Delayed shows how important the Manics still are in terms of providing angry, politicised and exciting music. The politics of the Manics were forged during the 1984-5 miners' strike when they witnessed Thatcher's brutal smashing of the miners in South Wales. When they exploded onto the music scene in the early 90s they fused the politics of Marxism and anti-capitalism with the sound of bands such as The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Public Enemy.
Those who want to get a real taste of the Manics' most exciting moments would have to explore deeper than this album, but it does contain some gems. 'A Design for Life' is a widescreen epic that deals with working class struggle against the alienating affects of capitalism.
'Motorcycle Emptiness' is a beautifully melancholic song that reads like an anti-capitalist manifesto, talking about the enslavement of the ghetto. 'Little Baby Nothing' deals with sexism and the objectification of women.
And 'The Masses Against the Classes' must have been the first UK number one single to feature an audio clip of Noam Chomsky at the beginning!