“Months after the release of the harrowing The Holy Bible, Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey James disappeared, leaving no trace of his whereabouts or his well-being. Ultimately, the remaining trio decided to carry on, releasing their fourth album, Everything Must Go, in 1996.” AMG “The album takes its name from a play by Patrick Jones, Nicky Wire’s brother,” WK although “the working title of this album was Sounds in the Grass – after a series of paintings by Jackson Pollock.” WK
“Considering the tragic circumstances that surrounded it, Everything Must Go is the strongest, most focused, and certainly the most optimistic album the Manics ever released.” AMG “The Holy Bible had been a stark, disturbing album with a minimal amount of instrumentation whilst this album embraces synths and strings, has a more commercial feel and fits with the Britpop movement that was prevalent at the time.” WK “Their music still rages, but it’s channeled into concise, anthemic rock songs that soar on their own belief.” AMG
“Five of the songs feature lyrics Richey left behind before his disappearance, and while offering no motivation for his actions, they do hint at the depths of his despair. Nicky Wire wrote the remaining lyrics.” AMG “Instead of introspective and autobiographical tracks such as ‘4st 7lbs,’ Wire’s predilection for grandiose, historical and political themes dominates. These themes would continue through their next album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.” WK Such “songs give the record its weight and balance, confronting the issue of Richey’s disappearance in a roundabout way, never explicitly mentioning the topic but offering a gritty dose of realistic optimism offering the hope that things will get better; after the nihilism of The Holy Bible, the outlook is all the more inspiring.” AMG
“Subjects tackled on the album include the tragic life of the photographer Kevin Carter, on the track of the same name, Willem de Kooning, and the maltreatment of animals in captivity on Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky. The latter track, with lyrics by Richey James Edwards, can also be interpreted as an exploration of his mental state before his disappearance; the line ‘Here chewing your tail is joy’ for instance may be as much about Richey’s self harm as it is the tormented self injury of zoo animals.” WK
“Part of the rhythm guitar on No Surface All Feeling was played by Edwards before his disappearance, making it only the second time that Edwards' guitar-work was present on a Manic Street Preachers recorded track (the other instance being ‘La Tristesse Durera’ on Gold Against the Soul.) Bradfield typically performs all the guitar parts for their recordings.” WK
“Above all, Everything Must Go is a cathartic experience – it is genuinely moving to hear the Manics offering hope without sinking to mawkish sentimentality or collapsing under the weight of their situation.” AMG
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Last updated March 27, 2011.