Friday, 1 January 2010

2000 Manic Street Preachers: The Masses Against The Classes

Now this seems kind of familiar - Cuban flags, Marxist ideology, quotes from Naom Chomsky and Albert Camus - yes, it's tempting to roll your eyes at the 'how very Manic Street Preachers' of it all, but the surface flatters to deceive; beneath those heavy handed paving stones lies a beach of self awareness from which the Manics deliver a 'Complete Control' tongue in cheek riposte to those in the fan base who criticised their recent releases for being too mellow. "When the future is what we believe in, we love the winter, it brings us closer together" - the band are happy to send themselves up within the parameters of their own choosing; the "and yes we mean it too" is a polite re-statement of the same Sex Pistols lyric that inspired Ritchie James to carve '4Real' into his arm with a razor blade to prove his sincerity to a journalist and the opening "Ahhh...hello it's us again" itself harks back to the multi 'Hello's of John Rotten/Lydon's own rebirth on 'Public Image'.

Part parody, part frustration - it would be easy to dismiss 'The Masses Against The Classes' as a petulant whine against the fans unwilling or unable to appreciate their riot free new art, but after wading through the thick effluent that made up most of 1999, then this guitar blast of a single that sounds like it was shovelled up from the gutter is manna from heaven to these jaded ears. It's not the song that the band will be remembered for, but it's as good an example as any of the contrariness for which they will.



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