Manic Street Preachers' Generation Terrorists: Jarrad Owens, Amped

Wednesday 8 February 2012, 10:00

James McLaren James McLaren

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As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Manic Street Preachers' début album Generation Terrorists, Manics-superfan Jarrad Owens of the website Amped gives his thoughts on the album.

Manics at The Marquee in London, 1991. Photo: Martyn Goodacre

Manics at The Marquee in London, 1991. Photo: Martyn Goodacre

"Generation Terrorists (working title Culture, Alienation, Boredom And Despair - the refrain from Little Baby Nothing) was, and still is, a truly incredible album: a double feature, 18 tracks in length and clocking at over 70 minutes. The incredibly ambitious début was released as the antidote to the drugged up and dumbed down 'Madchester' scene; the laddish, lairy early 90s indie movement that was a world away from what was happening in the Welsh valleys.

"1992 saw the Manics cross-pollinate their main influences at the time featuring Sex Pistols sloganeering, Guns N' Roses guitar licks and Public Enemy politics resulting in some sort of Never Mind The Bollocks/Appetite For Destruction hybrid. Aside from the music, perhaps the band's biggest grandiose statement was that they planned to split up upon its release and the album would sell 16 million copies worldwide.

"The subject matter of the album, like any truly great musical work, is still relevant today, questioning work, the economy, education, the media, religion and the human condition. Guitar and bass on the album was recorded in whole by lead singer James Dean Bradfield [something producer Steve Brown denies], with digital drums programmed by Sean Moore and piano accompaniment by Nicky Wire on Little Baby Nothing; this fact is testament to the sheer musicality of Bradfield, a guitar hero in the making.

"The only problems the album presented arose when it came to performing the songs live, probably due to James being the only member who performed on the album. The most extreme case being Motorcycle Emptiness, which was performed for the first time a whole four months after the album was released at the Town and Country Club in London.

"Stand-out tracks include the soaring epic Motorcycle Emptiness, the ironically titled You Love Us (a sarcastic love note to the tabloid newspapers that despised them), rip-roaring first single Slash N Burn, and hidden gem Condemned To Rock n Roll."

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