Tuesday, November 15, 2011

throwing money at the Manic Street Preachers

hey everyone

yes! just what you have all been waiting for - another post on the Manic Street Preachers' National Treasures singles collection!

you may be pleased to know, however, that beyond this sentence i shall be making no mention of the shambles of an expensive box set they have released. instead, this will focus on the versions of it that more or less make sense to purchase.

although, it has to be said, when my copies landed it did dawn on me that i have everything (bar the 2 so-so cover versions) on the set at least twice over. oh well, compilations and collections are nice to have, makes for easy / lazy playing!

i thought i'd share a few pics of the vinyl variant, for it has been somewhat tricky for some people to get. rather bewilderingly, the sole company shipping out the vinyl editions, the misleadingly named great magazines, appeared to shut down their website to revamp their "payment system" at the time they had this release. this meant that, according to them, they "lost the details" of most orders placed. i have heard tales, ladies and gents, of people getting 2 copies from them without being charged, and people who have been charged only to be informed that they shall not be getting the edition right now, instead getting the option of a refund (in 28 days time) or waiting for more stock, expected in December.

mine was shipped eventually - several emails to them, including me having to send them the email they sent me confirming my order (!) and a copy of my account statement showing they had debited me (!!!!) didn't work quite as well as forwarding the whole thing on to Q magazine (for they were the ones issuing this vinyl edition). i oddly got confirmation of shipping within 12 hours of that particular mail.

as for the sets themselves, nothing particularly special - expect the great, great songs of course. some people whose opinion i trust say that some of the songs, in particular the Generation Terrorists singles, have been cleaned up if not remastered somewhat, but then again a few audiophiles have compiled lists of the "glitches" included. at the correct volume, though, it all sounds fine in the car!

a nice touch, certainly, is the use of red and blue on the different versions of the album. i am not sure if this was an accident or a deliberate reference to the famous "Red" and "Blue" best of sets issued by The Beatles, but my world is a happier place if i assume it is the latter.

a not so nice touch is the actual vinyl, really. it's a lightweight pressing, and quite frankly sounds like it has been made on one of those record recorders directly off a standard issue CD. it's a bit of a pity they didn't do a proper mastering for the vinyl release, but it sounds good enough i guess.

on the inside of the record, there are a couple of notable clangers. i have done my best to get images of them for you. if you're at all interested. first up is the legendary single Motown Junk. have a look at the description.

Album version? Album version? except for Japanese versions of Generation Terrorists, this song famously did not appear on a Manics album, unless you count the Forever Delayed greatest hits set from about 10 years ago. beyond that, i am only aware of it cropping up on the Twin Town soundtrack. and in both cases, the "album" version is very much the single version.

worse is yet to come in the form of the description details for Ocean Spray.

"explicit version"? really? the closest one gets to an obscene word in the song is "spray", to be honest with you. i am assuming that they simply lifted the details off one of those user maintained databases for CDs, really, and they are referring to the fact that the song features on the explicit lyrics version of Know Your Enemy. for a while, back in the late 90s and early 2000s, the record industry for some reason issued "clean" and "explicit" versions of the same album, presumably in the hope that fans would buy both.

the worst thing about the details for Ocean Spray, however, is that it states the lyrics are by Nick Jones, aka Nicky Wire. erm, this song was rather famously the first that James Dean Bradfield wrote the lyrics for the band, and it's about his mother. quite a big mistake, i think you will agree.

since i'm moaning - the DVD that comes with the "deluxe" CD version of the album. it is, quite frankly, a pile of s***. it's a Region 0 generic NTSC thing, featuring horrid edits of some videos (the one for Motorcycle Emptiness in particular), a blurry video image and things that you don't need - like for instance two versions of the video for Autumnsong, neither of which are any good but then again the song isn't that great either. i think the much better Forever Delayed DVD is still available; rather consider getting that one.

yet, no matter how hard Sony have tried to deliver a defective product, i tell you these two, or at least the CD version, are still very much worth getting. excellent songs remain excellent songs, and this set features a great many excellent songs. go on, it's nearly Christmas, treat yourself!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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