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MANIC STREET PREACHERS - The Love of Richard Nixon   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Thursday, 09 September 2004
This is the sound of Three men tearing up "The Holy Bible"...

Hold the CD in your hands. You see the cover : the juxtaposition of American iconography and the Manics themselves. Once, the most political, the most vital, the most beautiful of bands.And when you see the words there... "The Love Of Richard Nixon", and you think Oh Christ, they've got it back. Or at least, you hope so.

And you're wrong. And you're right at the same time. They've got something back, but it isn't what you'd expect from them.

Back after a string of disappoint debut singles, the relaxed If You Tolerate This, the empty, obtuse So Why So Sad, the bland There By The Grace Of God. To this we add another oddity. It's not awful, but neither is it a Great song. 

The Love Of Richard Nixon sounds fabulous on paper. Spangly, techno sounds, an awesome classic-rock solo, and some of the best lyrics the band have penned ever. The problem is that it just doesn't work. Where's the passion? Where's the sense of adventure? Where's the humanity? Where's the sense that this is anything other than an anodyne, dated faux-retro retread with an OK chorus and a understated, barely-there melody?

This though, produced by the band and then remixed by Goldfrapp, sounds oddly like it was made by machines. Even Jamess vocal sounds disconnected, mechanic, passionless. But it's not all bad. If this record didn't have the words "Manic Street Preachers" on the cover, if it didn't have the weight of The Holy Bible on it's shoulders, if the band didn't have this amazing, beautiful history to live up to, The Love Of Richard Nixon would be a brilliant, bold debut single that would storm the charts and herald a new, brave name to be watched with curiousity and hope.

Better then, to look to the b-side, Everything Will Be, a beautiful lament to everything and nothing at the same time, and has the instant brand of a classic, long lost Manics b-side (of which they have about 20).

With the Manics though we expect more. So much more that they can probably never attain the expectation. We expect beauty, passion, political revolution, urban hell, and rock n roll. We expect another band, a band that died in January 1995.

"of all the decisions i have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what is best for my nation, I have never been a quitter" - Richard Nixon

By the standards of anyone else, The Love Of Richard Nixon is a slow, insidious grower of a song, and you'll be coming back to it for years with that nagging feeling that it is an unsung, unrecognised classic.By the Manics standards, The Love Of Richard Nixon is another untypical, leftfield turn that sounds absolutely nothing like The Manics. 

According to one of the quotes on one of their previous single, "Progress is a comfortable disease". This is the sound of that progress. Are you sitting comfortably?

 

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