Jun 8, 2009
commented on 4 Real-To-Real
It is a good album. A bit of a seance, really: you inevitably go into it full of skeptical scorn, but then the Ouija board starts going crazy, unleashing terrifying predictions of social doom, and you fill with superstitious awe despite yourself.
Richey Edwards has long been one of my favorite musicians, despite the fact that he was so bad at actual music that they had to unplug his guitar rather than let him foul the live act up too badly. Many bands have the moves, but few of them have the soul. Richey had a huge, tormented, complicated soul, spilling out all over the page. James Dean Bradfield would then take this stream-of-consciousness and attempt to set it to music, a process which I always imagine must have been similar to hammering a wooden peg into a wrong-shaped hole. It was a crazy arrangement and that's why it worked. When other bands have a good lyricist, it's usually a case of one of the instrumentalists having a fortuitous word-talent on the side. The Manics cared enough to let someone be in their band in the sole capacity of their personal private poet laureate, and I love them for it.
If I have a problem with Journal For Plague Lovers, it's that, really, it's not The Holy Bible and could never hope to be. If you want the real deal, go back and revisit that black, despairing masterpiece. What it *is* is the best 15th anniversary reissue package a fan could hope for: new water drawn from the old bittersweet well. RIP, Richey: gone but clearly never forgotten.
Jun 4, 2009
commented on The Tiananmen Massacre, Twenty Years Later
China has not "blocked Twitter, Facebook, etc" - a friend of mine in China just posted opinions about Tiananmen on all these sites in exasperation at (what he alleges is) misinformation about the state of play out there.
Honestly, I'm not pro-Chinese-government, but it'd be nice to weigh up the pros and cons of the actual facts rather than just getting constant hysterical, anti-Commie hype. Tiananmen was a pretty black stain on China's copybook. On the other hand, I think as Americans we'd have a right to be pissed off if a foreigner refused to listen to anything we had to say, merely shouting "MY LAI! MY LAI!" in our faces by way of justification.