Manic Street Preachers – Kevin Carter (CD Two)

Hey! A remix single! Fun! Yes, in the 90s, for a brief, golden period of bleeding, popular bands in England would often release two copies of their singles, each with different songs, to increase chart position. See, if someone bought two copies of the single then it counts twice for getting as high on the charts as possible, and higher charting singles = prestige!

Naturally, nobody has 864949 extra songs, though the Manics had a lot per album, so for the second, more stultifyingly useless second singles they filled them up with remixes. Remixes in the 90s were far worse than they are now due to shitty technology. Nowadays maybe you’d even get Hot Chip or something to record their own version – but here it’s just samples looped and new drum beats added. Wanna hear 20 minutes of that horn solo? Well you can now over a variety of boring backgrounds!

Here’s what we have here: the single. A very good song. Available elsewwhere. I never much liked the pronunciation of “Kevin Carter” at the end of the second chorus or the depiction of depressing as “the elephant” but there I go. Then there’s eight minutes of KC redone as lounge-jazz, called “Kevin Carter Busts Loose”. First of all, “Kevin Carter” is about a suicidal photojournalist. It doesn’t need to “bust loose,” okay? Second, you only need mediocre lounge-jazz if you’re trying to fill the playlist for your hookah bar, and I’m guessing most of us don’t operate such establishments. Lastly, if one was in such an establishment, I doubt their intention would be to inform their friends of Manic Street Preachers, especially because this song would be a crappy way to do it.

Then there’s two “Stealth Sonic Orchestra” remixes. The Manics loved these fucking guys. These are recordings by an orchestra based on the songs, but they’re not exactly classical music. If you wanted to hear “Kevin Carter” as if it were behind the credits for a detective movie – well here’s your chance! It’s quite silly. The first version has the third verse wholesale, for no reason. But no fear! The next version is exactly the same, but without the third verse. And it only takes thirteen minutes of your life for these two genius compositions. I feel like this orchestra is actually quite talented, but “Kevin Carter” is not the best direction for their moody, jazzy, noir style.

Know what’s neat about Manics singles? They have little quotes in the digipaks that pertain to the lead song. Like this one has “when I was a kid I used to get fun out of my horrors” by Eugene O’Neil. Poor Kevin Carter! Other than that, one extra point for the last song, in case I need a soundtrack for those hard-boiled Choose Your Own Adventure stories I’ve always wanted to write.

3/10

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