1998 saw Manic Street Preachers release their fifth studio album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours into the world (coming up against unlikely rivals Steps in the UK charts) and now twenty years on the iconic album has received a remastered makeover to celebrate it’s second decade.
The album’s title was originally intended to tie in with the reflective simplicity of the LP’s cover – for which leopard print had been swapped out in favour of all-white suits – by being eponymous, however staying true to their political ethos, the Welsh group settled upon a speech made by Ernest Bevan. The album itself is a introspective exploration of vulnerability which contains less of their usual punk-projectiles launched at the establishment but plenty of self-reflection. The Everlasting is a clear indication that the anger which fuelled previous releases was softened to melancholic musings but also emphasises the effort put into the attention to detail as previously unnoticed electro-waves ebb and flow through the track.
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next is arguably one of Wire’s most iconic works of penmanship due to the sharp poignancy of the historical context. The title itself is lifted from propaganda recruitment posters from the Spanish Civil War with verses which are a nod to Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. However, unintentionally at the time of the single’s release another war was being waged. The town of Omagh had been subjected to a deadly attack by the Real IRA and although the timing of the single’s release was in no way deliberate, the narrative from the perspective of a jaded pacifist means that the single is most likely fused to this event in the memories of Manics’ fans over a certain age.
The physical version of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours anniversary edition boxset gifts us an exclusive photography collection along with two bonus CDS containing demos, live rehearsals, remixes and B sides. Painstaking attention to detail has been put into every note on all the tracks in the remastering process which emphasises each intricate melody and the careful juxtaposition of drama and subtext (especially demonstrated in Born A Girl). You Stole The Sun From My Heart has been given a polish with it’s sun-kissed disco beats sparkling through – yet simultaneously stays true to the ‘despair’ part of their ‘culture, alienation, boredom and despair’ mantra. The remastering is so crystal clear that there is no need to strain your ears to catch Wire in the background. You’re Tender and You’re Tired is where the studio magic truly shines through. Taking it’s cue from the tone of The Holy Bible, there is a dark romanticism within the piano lines and dramatic despair in James Dean Bradfield’s Welsh lungs reaching their fullest capacity.
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours embraces it’s discussion of depression in all it’s wounded vulnerability which is woven through it’s tender melodies, pulsing bass and solemn strings – expressing a heavy and tired mind. A far cry from in it’s indirect predecessor The Holy Bible which tackled the issue with an angry velocity. Whether or not we are right to hunt for the subtext within their lyrics is questioned in S.Y.M.M which is a dizzying and disorientating album closer which suggests that at the time even Manic Street Preachers were unsure of what path they would walk down next…