I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don't want virtue to exist anywhere; I want everyone corrupt. - Winston Smith ("1984", George Orwell)
This is it: arguably the Manic Street Preachers' greatest work. The year is 1994; Richey had begun to collapse under the pressures of being famous, cutting himself on stage and sometimes surviving on a sole bar of chocolate a day. His alcoholism and anorexia were sufficiently bad that he checked into the (in)famous Priory clinic. Amidst all this, the Manics began to make their third LP.
The Holy Bible is bleak, depressing, and angry, James Dean Bradfield spitting out the lyrics whilst pounding away at his guitar. Sean Moore's drumwork is frantic and heavy, and Nicky Wire wields his bass with his usual skill. While he helped pen the lyrics, this is really Richey's work - and the words are every bit as painful as can be expected from him. This isn't an easy album to digest; it deals with topics ranging from abortion to prostitution of the soul, the pain of trying to be beautiful to political correctness, American politics to the Holocaust. Throughout the album, clips from films, documentaries and other programmes are placed, adding an unsettling twist to the music.
- Yes - A song about the prostitution of one's soul - Richey felt that the band had become prostitutes the day they signed their first record contract. A powerful introduction into the album, littered with expletives and backed with typically strong punk-influenced guitars. Not released as a single - although cover artwork was prepared (a parody of TSB's advertising slogan, "MSP - The band who likes to say 'Yes'"), Richey's disappearance meant the single was called off. "He's a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock / Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want."
- Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart - Almost a continuation of Yes, this song deals with the absurdities of gun control laws("Fuck the Brady bill"), racism, and the idea that the Democrats are still an alternative. Not released as a single. "And we say there's not enough black in the Union Jack / And we say there's too much white in the Stars and Stripes"
- Of Walking Abortion - A slow, dark song, linking Fascism to the inadequacies of human feelings. Inevitably, we can only blame ourselves when an oppressive government comes to power. Not released as a single."Who's responsible? You fucking are!"
- She Is Suffering - 'She' is beauty, and this strong riff-based song deals with the pain that goes along with trying to be beautiful. One of the more radio-friendly songs on the album - despite the lyrics -, She Is Suffering was released as a single on the 3rd October, 1994, reaching number 25. "Beauty is such a terrible thing."
- Archives of Pain - A creeping, bass-led song seemingly advocating capital punishment ("An eye for an eye"), the track opened with a quote from the mother of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims. Not released as a single. "Give them the respect they deserve."
- Revol (Lover) - A fast and furious nonsense song, linking famous political figures with bizarre statements supposedly about them. Released as a single on the 1st August 1994, reaching number 22. "Lebensraum! Kulturkampf! Raus raus! Fila fila!"
- 4st. 7lb. - A harrowing, first-person account of anorexia, written as a girl's diary of her disorder. One of the most moving songs on the album, scary and saddening yet still compulsive. Not released as a single."I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint."
- Mausoleum - Barking the chorus out, this song is an attack on 'revisionists' who attempt to deny the Holocaust. The raw emotion on this record really show through here, Richey's lyrics pulling no punches and pointing an accusing finger. Not released as a single. "Prejudice burns brighter when it's all we have to burn."
- Faster - "I am an architect, they call me a butcher!" James shouts, as this (rather obviously) high-tempo track shows the Manics' punk roots. One of the most accessible tracks on the album (it appeared on Forever Delayed, their greatest hits collection), this is simply Richey's boastful yell of confidence. Released as a double A-side with P.C.P., reaching number 16 when it was released on the 16th June '94. "I am stronger than Mensa."
- This Is Yesterday - Nostalgic for things that were, the music seems upbeat even while the lyrics claim "Everything is falling apart". Not released as a single."Do not listen to a word I say / Just listen to what I can keep silent."
- Die in the Summertime - A wake-up call for anyone who was beginning to think that perhaps Richey wasn't doing too badly, this song is of a person desperately suicidal, having absolutely nothing left anymore. Not released as a single. "If you really care wash the feet of a begger."
- The Intense Humming of Evil - Another song about the Holocaust, industrial-sounding music amidst a list of the evils that occured - all summed up in the words, 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. Not released as a single. "6 million screaming souls."
- P.C.P. - A furious, snarling attack on political correctness, Fundamentalist Christians using Leviticus against homosexuals, pro-life lobbyists, and conformism. The title is a four-way reference to the drug PCP, political correctness, the police, and the Portugese Communist Party, or PCP. Released as a double A-side with Faster. "When I was young P.C. meant Police Constable / Nowadays I can't seem to tell the difference."
This is widely considered to be the Manic Street Preachers' magnum opus. The last album to feature Richey, it doesn't try to mask the points it has to make behind cute analogies - it simply buries the listener with its arguments. This is an album to sit down and listen in one setting, then afterwards do something positive - it would be too easy to slip into a bad mood after hearing it the whole way through. While some tracks can be dipped into, listening through the whole album from Yes to P.C.P. should be made mandatory at least once. There were few more important albums in the 90's.
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