Album Review: Manic Street Preachers – Resistance is Futile

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Manic Street Preachers have had a mighty music career thus far. This Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 1986, has released 13 studio albums to date. Their latest album, Resistance is Futile, was released on the 13th of April 2018.

I have always loved the Manics (they are often colloquially referred to by that name). They’ve released enough albums over the years for me to have my cake and eat it too, however albums such as  “This is my truth, tell me yours”, “Gold against the soul” and “Everything must go” are the ones who stood out for me. They went on to release a span of singles, of which “If you tolerate this your children will be next” was the most commercial and most thought-provoking of them all.

Resistance is Futile may be their 13th studio album and as a big fan of them, I was devastatingly disappointed. However, my good friend Johan Steynvaart and I pulled the album apart as much as we could and came up with the following:

The reference to Samurai on the album art, suggests – as expected – an old and outdated form of military approach, which connects to the album title Resistance is Futile. In the modernization of Japan, the rulers opted to convert the military towards a more modern Western military style. The outdated privileges and military concepts followed by the Samurai became obsolete. Resistance in this context was indeed futile.

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The band uses the militaristic theme beautifully as an analogy for love. Love can become this constant battle, where the past really makes no difference in matters of the heart. A sort of modernization, where resistance as to how we feel, becomes futile.

This theme however was used before in the band’s inclinations towards liberal politics, and song titles like “Sequels to forgotten wars” perfectly joins the theme of demilitarization, along with its connotations to modern romance.

Philosophically and lyrically, the album brings a strong story; however, it goes in line with what Manic Street Preachers have produced in the past. It is merely a continuation of their previous styles without steering into new discovery, which I would have expected from a big name such as the Manics.

Technically, the band has not evolved either. The strong alternative rock undertones are perfectly executed, with punk and pop sounds occasionally rearing its head. The combination of sounds is perfect for the continued style, with sheer experience being illustrated through the combination of variable instruments through the entire album.

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If you long for good 80’s alternative rock, this album will definitely appeal to you. If you were looking for something more modern, and characteristic of the band’s willingness to experiment, push boundaries and create fresh music as they did before, you will not necessarily be disappointed, but you will not be putting this album on repeat either – or purchasing it for that matter.

Having been a Manic Street Preachers fan for well over 2 decades, I have to confess that Resistance if Futile has left me disappointed. With 26 tracks, only one really stood out (“Distant Colours”).

I may have to listen to it several times to find proper gems – but for now I’m afraid this album will have to take a back seat. It did not grab me like any of the earlier albums did. If you’re a Manic Street Preachers fan, I would love to hear your thoughts on this album. I feel like I’ve entered into a love / hate relationship with them; much like the time U2 continued to produce albums when they should’ve stopped after Zooropa.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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