I rarely accuse smart people of following trends, being over a decade removed from high school, but right around the turn of the millenium (or the Willenium to a certain superstar DJ) every rock band their pops started to get electronic. First Radiohead put out Kid A and Amnesiac, then The Postal Service became successful, then some other bands did things. Somewhere right around the end of that period the Manics released this single, declaring that they, too, liked drum machines and felt increasingly alienated by technology. And who I am to say they don’t? I’m just a man who likes guitars and honesty more than distance and bloops.
But the Manics have the decency to still be a rock band, at least for now, and I appreciate it. The single is a winner, even if the message is either muddled or maddening. It’s not a killer and I won’t be playing it at parties. It’s a pop song trying too hard to be serious, but that’s the Manics for you. There’s a couple fresh B-sides too. and they’re almost as good. “Automatik Teknicolour” must have caused a tough decision for which became the single, taking the keyboard sound from “Trans-Europe Express” and using it to build a nice little rock song, annoying title and all. “It’s All Gone” sounds like Can getting some influence in, leading to another solid antler. Yes, antler. In fact, I’d say both besides are better than the single. So where’s my cookie? Pretty good for songs you can’t find anywhere else.
Also, there’s the video for the title track. Band plays in subway station. Your typical old timey music video consisting of alternating shots of some storyline and each of the band members playing, with slightly more time for the lead singer. Maybe this is still how they still make music videos. I wouldn’t know since I stopped watching MuchMusic six thousand years ago.
There. There’s your interesting review. I don’t like being unemployed anymore. Can I have a job now?