Classic Album: Manic Street Preachers ‘Everything Must Go’

Having released the bleakest record of their career, and quite possibly of the entire decade, with 1994’s ‘The Holy Bible’, the Manics were reaching critical mass and it seemed something had to give. Chief tunesmith James Dean Bradfield was becoming worried that he wouldn’t be able to fit the increasingly polemical lyrics of Richey Edwards, permanent icon and sometime guitar player, to workable melodies. After poor sales of their bold third album, the band feared they might be dropped and, in February 1995, an American tour was looming on the horizon when Edwards disappeared.

Manics EMG

After several months of uncertainty, the band vowed to go on. Convening for a nervous get-together in a Cardiff studio, they attempted a run-through of a song called ‘A Design For Life’, assimilated from two different lyrics Nicky Wire had provided Bradfield with in the months after Edwards’ disappearance. Realising that they had something special on their hands, the Manics attempted to record, with Stephen Hague in the producer’s chair, but found the results to be mixed. Opting instead for Siouxsie and Associates producer Mike Hedges, revered at the time for his stellar work on McAlmont & Butler’s ‘Yes’, the band decamped to a French Chateau and got to work. Described by Bradfield as “the most idyllic experience the band has ever had,” the results were to reverse their commercial decline and redefine how the band was viewed.

Continue reading “Classic Album: Manic Street Preachers ‘Everything Must Go’”

Classic Album: David Bowie ‘Station To Station’

Few artists reach the milestone of ten studio albums. Fewer still are actually at the peak of their powers when they do so. Unfortunately for rock chronologists and obsessive fans alike, David Bowie is able to remember little about the genesis of this remarkable record. Its story is nevertheless an interesting one and serves to chart the transitional process between Bowie the chart smash and the artist responsible for the imperious Berlin trilogy of ‘Low‘, ‘”Heroes“‘ and ‘Lodger‘.

David-Bowie-Station-to-Station

In the time prior to recording, Bowie was inhabiting the character of Thomas Jerome Newton for Nicolas Roeg‘s film, ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’. Newton, an extra-terrestrial obsessed with television, was one of his most striking roles. While far less flamboyant than Ziggy, Newton’s haunting appearance is an entirely apt representation of Bowie at this stage in his career. Indeed, he admitted to hanging onto this character for months after filming and images from the shoot adorn the cover of both this album and its successor, ‘Low‘. From this grew The Thin White Duke, the last of Bowie’s adopted personae in the Seventies, whose monochrome attire dominated press photos and tours surrounding this record. Continue reading “Classic Album: David Bowie ‘Station To Station’”