Journal for Plague Lovers review

Posted on May 28, 2009


My review on Journal for Plague Lovers album by Manic Street Preachers:

I was rather pessimistic and poignant about this album at first, but thankfully, it’s better than I’d expected before. Initially I loved it, then hated it, then loved it again. The album builds some distinct mood of late Manic’s boring pop rock tunes mixed with remarks of their 90s era. On the first listen to the whole album while reading the lyrics, I was a little dissatisfied around latest tracks (some tedious chorus problem I think?), a missing link felt between the music and lyric, which made me feel like James sing in weird lingo. Maybe cause most of them were cut short/edited from the original written by Richey which much more like poems as I read them.

Note that: music wise I’m not that worldly and far from sophisticated. And you won’t find what you expect from music journalist like, it’s just a thoughts sharing, not to perform anything that promotes any consideration to listen to it. So permit me to babble more about the lyrics. Which actually, is hard to justify them so keenly since they’re barely communicative. Also the fact that they are Richey’s heritage before he disappeared, as Nicky said they were hardly penetrable. So my belief about the lyrics overall, seems like (again) Richey had exteriorized his confusion and anxiety to the world, or more likely tried to express his state of being on the verge of personal-spiritual fragility, which in a way portrayed as random rants, bit of immature rants. I could feel the same vibe of anxiety earlier in the days I started writing. It was when you’re appalled by interesting thoughts, quotes or slogans you read from so many books or movies and then you forcefully exert to bring those world’s fragments into your rants. lol.

Peeled Apples opens with Trevor Reznik’s line from the Machinist movie. Remember Christian Bale once said that he’s a bit of manic about the Manics, I think the fanboy is very happy now :D such very convincing track, also the first track I quickly fall for the first time heard it from Zane Lowe’s radio. Jackie Collins Existential Question Time is very catchy and SATT-ish (which also makes it tedious guitar hero and again, bit boring). Me and Stephen Hawking would make a great single if they released any. This Joke Sport Severed gives me an awesome drought and drenched feeling at the same time, but it’s a simply great track. Journal For Plague Lovers gives a nostalgic feeling of classic brit pop rock tunes with fun bass line. She Bathed Herself in a Bath of Bleach intro gives a slight recognition of Wattsville Blues from Know Your Enemy, though I’m not much into this track (the demo version is nice and benign, which so much reminds me of I Killed the Zeitgeist). Loves the Facing Page: Top Left, nostalgically evocative of Small Black Flowers that Grow in the Sky, it’s just vulnerably beautiful. Marlon J.D. 80’s drum beat strums me a quick conscious of Joy Division’s She Lost Control (but impossible that J.D. stands for Joy Division). On Doors Closing Slowly, tell me I’m overrated *inhales* but I shuddered at the line where Richey speaks. All Is Vanity was a bit hard to grab, I had to for days to be tuned to this track, and so with Pretension/Repulsion and Virginia State Epileptic Colony, but I finally registered to them after listening to the demo version. I like them better, without discrediting the album version which are very well recorded and polished. The last track, William’s Last Words induces me an impressive color of Nicky Wire’s unique timbre (in respect to say off tune) well at least it gives me sentimental feeling, and the lyric has the I Killed the Zeitgeist’s color. And Bag Lady the hidden track is one of the great tracks actually, it somehow reminds me of Holy Bible. But why as a hidden track?

It’s rather devil’s advocate-ish and ironic when I think about them building this powerful cult figure on Richey’s image for this album, but I have to admit that it’s pretty impactful if you attempt to get devoted and meek to them industrially. I started to think, having the album signed by the members (I do) doesn’t matter to me anymore. It could be signed by jockey and that just makes the fragile tatty fangirl heart sad. All just sentimental ego :\ Anyway, it’s still very nice to listen to, and I’m optimistic on the uneasiness to grab them cause it makes them won’t be as forgettable as the previous album Send Away the Tigers which is too much instant. This one is versatile, reminds you to previous Manic’s albums back then. It has the unique feeling of one whole album with no single to blow. In bitesize, each song stays in their own proportions. Like reading 13 chapters of book, or more likely, a journal. Okai, amateur’s eyes and ears has surrender now. What’s your saying?

And at the end page, they give an excuse:
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”  George Bernard Shaw.

“Shadows and Words”

Check this documentary about Manic Street Preachers on Channel 4, 17 May. And this interview:

“This album could seriously damage us”

Also, I’ve been loving:

A History of World in10 1/2 chapters by Julian Barnes

I’ve loved You So Long, and There’s a lot of people with interesting thought since I’m nothing good at advertising my own page in blogspot, I moved my poems gradually to here. Oh, where else can we shout the rants and random twattery :D