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18 February, 2008

Manic Street Preachers. Everything Must Go (1996)

Everything Must Go is the fourth album by Manic Street Preachers, released in 1996. It contains five songs with lyrics by Richey James Edwards, who disappeared on February 1, 1995 and is the last album to feature his contributions.

The album takes its name from a play by Patrick Jones, Nicky Wire's brother.

Everything Must Go represents a change of style for the Manics. Their previous album, The Holy Bible, had been a stark, disturbing album with a minimal amount of instrumentation whilst this album embraces synths and strings, has a more commercial feel and fits with the Britpop movement that was prevalent at the time. The lyrical focus of the album is also shifted, due in part to Edwards' departure. Instead of introspective and autobiographical tracks such as 4st 7lbs, Wire's predilection for grandiose, historical and political themes dominates. These themes would continue through their next album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

Subjects tackled on the album include the tragic life of the photographer Kevin Carter, on the track of the same name, Willem de Kooning, and the maltreatment of animals in captivity on "Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky". The latter track, with lyrics by Richey James Edwards, can also be interpreted as an exploration of his mental state before his disappearance; the line "Here chewing your tail is joy" for instance may be as much about Richey's self harm as it is the tormented self injury of zoo animals.

Part of the rhythm guitar on "No Surface All Feeling" was played by Edwards before his disappearance, making it the only other instance of Edwards' own guitarwork being present on a Manic Street Preachers studio album, besides on the single La Tristesse Durera from their 1993 album Gold Against The Soul, in the band's history (Bradfield would typically perform all the guitar parts for their recordings).

So far the album has gone double platinum in the UK. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted it the 11th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 39 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

As with the lead single "A Design for Life", the album peaked at number 2 in the UK charts. "Everything Must Go", "Kevin Carter" and "Australia" were also released as singles.

The working title of this album was Sounds In The Grass after a series of paintings by Jackson Pollock; of which one is to be found in the MoMA-collection: "Shimmering Substance (Sounds in the Grass Series)", Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 24 1/4" (76.3 x 61.6 cm), 1946.

Track listing

  1. "Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire/James) – 3:28
  2. "A Design for Life" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 4:16
  3. "Kevin Carter" (Music Bradfield/Moore/Wire, lyrics James) – 3:24
  4. "Enola/Alone" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 4:07
  5. "Everything Must Go" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 3:41
  6. "Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky" (Music Bradfield/Moore/Wire, lyrics James) – 3:02
  7. "The Girl Who Wanted to Be God" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire/James) – 3:35
  8. "Removables" (Music Bradfield/Moore/Wire, lyrics James) - 3:31
  9. "Australia" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire)– 4:04
  10. "Interiors (Song for Willem de Kooning)" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 4:17
  11. "Further Away" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 3:38
  12. "No Surface All Feeling" (Music Bradfield/Moore, lyrics Wire) – 4:13
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