hat is there to say about the Manics? Well, almost too much really. Possibly one of the strangest phenomenons in rock history, Manic Street Preachers have always been a band in their own. After nearly inventing the tag “fake it till you make it” and then making it big, both in the UK charts and with a notoriously deranged cult following (which seems to have died down with them growing old, boring and wearing slacks instead of war gear), the now threesome have done the unthinkable, and released a greatest hits.
Ever since they began their reign of terror on the UK music industry in 1991, the Manics have had one hell of a ride. Back then, you’d never think of hearing the words “greatest” and “hits” come after their name, not just because the idea of them seemed so far fetched hits were needed to keep them alive, but also because they just didn’t seem to subscribe to anything that conventional or predictable. When they made Generation Terrorists you hardly thought they’d resort to this.
Forever Delayed contains about 16 of the Manics best songs. That doesn’t mean their best 16 are present. There’s a whole slew that were neglected that could easily replace the four less-than-stellar ones here and even some of the others. They seem to have ignored their best album, The Holy Bible, including only one of the album’s singles (“Faster”), and given an exorbitant amount of attention to their two most successful (and mature, or shall we say, dull) albums, Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. Songs like “The Everlasting” and “Tsunami” are an insult on here to classics like “Slash And Burn”, “She Is Suffering”, “Roses In The Hospital”, and possibly their greatest song ever, “4st 7lb”. The fact that such songs are missing really makes you wonder how important Richey James was to them (they do include a portrait of him on the cover, so he did exist).
Of course, like most of these comps, in order to get sales, new tracks are necessary. They don’t have to be good, which they aren’t really. “There By The Grace Of God” is catchy, but sounds too progressive, and “Door To The River” is just rubbish.
But the Manics have always been about life-altering anthems, and there’s plenty here. It’s their talent for penning such triumphant tunes that makes them such an important, popular and good band. “Motorcycle Emptiness”, “A Design For Life”, “Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M.A.S.H.) and the lost classic, “Motown Junk”, all shine on this disc. And why there might be moments that lack the lustre of others, this is a good investment for the old hi-fi (especially if you see Gold Against The Soul as a difficult listen).
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01