Gold Against the Soul

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Gold Against the Soul
Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 14 June 1993
Recorded January–March 1993 at Outside Studios, Checkendon, England
Genre Alternative rock, hard rock
Length 42:58
Label Columbia
Producer Dave Eringa
Manic Street Preachers chronology
Generation Terrorists
(1992)
Gold Against the Soul
(1993)
The Holy Bible
(1994)
Singles from Gold Against the Soul
  1. "From Despair to Where"
    Released: 7 June 1993
  2. "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)"
    Released: 26 July 1993
  3. "Roses in the Hospital"
    Released: 20 September 1993
  4. "Life Becoming a Landslide"
    Released: 7 February 1994

Gold Against the Soul is the second studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 14 June 1993 by record label Columbia.

Writing and recording[edit]

The lyrics on Gold Against the Soul are considerably less political than their previous album Generation Terrorists, and the album is more reflective of the despair and melancholy of their later work.[1]

"La Tristesse Durera" (literally "the sadness will go on") is the title of a biography of Vincent van Gogh, although the song is not about him but about a war veteran.[2]

The album presents a different sound from their debut album, not only in terms of lyrics but in sound, the band privileged long guitar riffs, and the drums themselves feel more present and loud in the final mix of the album. This sound would be abandoned in their next album.[3]

The band also stated that the choice to work with Dave Eringa again was important for this album: "We finished work in November and then just went straight into a demo studio and we came out about four weeks later with the album all finished. We were all happy with all the songs, we knew what they wanted to sound like, so we didn't want to use a mainstream producer because they've got their own sound and vision of what a record should be like. So we just phoned Dave up and said 'Look, come down, let's see how this works out', and everyone loved what we were doing, so we decided to stay with him."[4]

When asked to look back on the album, the band themselves have described Gold Against the Soul as their least favourite album and the period surrounding the album as being the most unfocused of their career. The band's vocalist and guitarist James Dean Bradfield has said "All we wanted to do was go under the corporate wing. We thought we could ignore it but you do get affected."[5]

Release[edit]

Gold Against the Soul was released on 14 June 1993. It reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart. The album has since gone Gold (100,000 copies) and spent more than 10 weeks in the Top 75.[6] Gold Against the Soul also charted within the Top 100 in Germany, and within the Top 50 in Japan.

Four singles were released from the album, Roses in the Hospital was the third and peaked on number 15 in the UK Singles Chart, the highest charting single by the band on their first three albums. La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) was the second single from the album and it has been described by many as its highlight. From Despair to Where was the lead single, and the last single, Life Becoming a Landslide, charted in number 36, which would be the lowest charting single by the band until 2011's Some Kind of Nothingness.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[7]
Martin C. Strong 9/10[8]
Melody Maker favourable[9]
NME 6/10[10]
Q 2/5 stars[11]
Spin unfavourable[12]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]

Gold Against the Soul has received generally mixed reviews from critics.

Stuart Bailie, writing for the NME, called the album "confusing" and "too much Slash and not enough burn", but did compliment its musicality, saying "the drums and guitars rumble higher in the mix, and massive, harmonising riffs are everywhere".[10] Q's Peter Kane was more critical, calling the album "superficially competent, of course, but scratch below the surface and you'll find few signs of life, just a vaguely expressed, bemused and bored dissatisfaction".[13]

In his retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described it as a "flawed but intriguing second album".[7] Sputnikmusic called the album "great" and finished with: "Gold Against the Soul is a fine, and certainly underappreciated, album which fell victim to the weight of expectation generated by its predecessor and fell well short of the standard set by its successor, The Holy Bible, released the following year. The album has many flaws – it's rushed; it's formulaic in parts; the music was sometimes compromised in the search for a hit, but behind these flaws lies a solid rock 'n' roll album with a deeper, more profound edge than most any other rock album you'll hear."[2] Joe Tangari of Pitchfork lambasted Gold Against the Soul as a "labored, sophomore-slumping hard rock turd that had them looking washed up early", concluding that "there was really no preparation for the intensity, perversion and genuine darkness of The Holy Bible" which would follow in 1994.[14]

Both the NME and Q have since revised their opinions of the album in some later articles, with the former's Paul Stokes opining that its short, "snappy, driven and focused" length contrasts with other albums' "indulgently lengthy tracklistings", and suggesting that "with its big, radio-friendly Dave Eringa production, it's easy to see why Gold Against the Soul caused such a stir compared to the wild, almost feral rock of Generation Terrorists that preceded it a year earlier. However, with the band's more beefed up, arena-friendly sound emerging in subsequent years, this album is no longer so at odds with the general Manics aesthetic."[10] The latter publication, in a retrospective review of The Holy Bible, looked back on Gold Against the Soul as "an underrated pop-metal effort that's armed with a handful of bona-fide big tunes", and cited "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)" as its highlight.[15]

Legacy[edit]

Kerrang! and Melody Maker listed the record at number 8[16] and number 25, respectively,[17] in their end-of-year lists of best albums of the year 1993.

La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) was chosen by Clash as one of their favourite Manic Street Preachers single, and described the track as "differente", stating that: "It’s a direct, meat-and-spuds affair, mostly – but ‘La Tristesse Durera’ feels different. Its title translating, loosely, as “the sadness will go on”, it finds Bradfield singing from the perspective of a war veteran out of sorts with the new world around him. It’s a gently affecting number, which crashes in its choruses but sits back from the rock coalface in tender verses: “I am a relic / I am just a petrified cry…" [18]

In 2008 Drowned in Sound reviewed the album saying that: "It’s fair to say that history judged Gold… slightly unjustly.", finishing with: " it’s definitely a strong album. It’s heavy, melodic and packed full of huge choruses: radio-friendly doesn’t have to be used in the pejorative sense and it’s certainly more considered and mature than their debut."[19]

NME later stated about the album that "'Gold Against The Soul' may not be Manic Street Preachers' finest hour - while I like this album I'll leave it to the real fans to decide what that is - but as an adrenalin-pumping rock album that also gives you plenty to think about, it is neither weak, confused nor a black sheep.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire, all music composed by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore.

No. Title Length
1. "Sleepflower"   4:51
2. "From Despair to Where"   3:34
3. "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)"   4:13
4. "Yourself"   4:11
5. "Life Becoming a Landslide"   4:14
6. "Drug Drug Druggy"   3:26
7. "Roses in the Hospital"   5:02
8. "Nostalgic Pushead"   4:14
9. "Symphony of Tourette"   3:31
10. "Gold Against the Soul"   5:34

Personnel[edit]

Manic Street Preachers
  • James Dean Bradfield – lead vocals, lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
  • Sean Moore – drums, sampled percussion, drum programming on "Nostalgic Pushead" and "Gold Against the Soul", additional programming, backing vocals
  • Richey Edwards (credited as Richey James) – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Nicky Wire – bass guitar, backing vocals
Additional personnel
  • Ian Kewley – piano, Hammond organ
  • Nick Ingham – string arrangements
Technical personnel
  • Dave Eringa – piano, hammond, production, engineering, mixing
  • Lee Phillips - engineering assistance
  • Andy Baker - engineering assistance
  • Giles Cowley - mixing assistance
  • Dave Bascombe - mixing on "Sleepflower", "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)" and "Yourself"
  • Andy Bradfield - mixing assistance on "Sleepflower", "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)" and "Yourself"
  • Shovel – percussion
  • Mitch Ikeda - photography

Charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
position
UK Albums (OCC)[21] 8
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[22] 32
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[23] 95

References[edit]

  1. ^ Price (1999).
  2. ^ a b c Donnelly, Dave (20 August 2005). "Review: Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against the Soul | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Price (1999).
  4. ^ Price (1999).
  5. ^ "James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers on a Year of Hospital Horror...". Select. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Gold Against the Soul – Manic Street Preachers | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  8. ^ The Essential Rock Discography 1. 2006. p. 668. 
  9. ^ Melody Maker (June 1993): 28.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ a b c Bailie, Stuart. "[Gold Against the Soul review]". NME. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Kane, Peter. "Gold Against The Soul (Q Magazine)". home.germany.net. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Spin: 104. October 1993.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Kane, Peter (1993). "[Gold Against the Soul review]". Q. 
  14. ^ Tangari, Joe (17 January 2005). "Manic Street Preachers: The Holy Bible | Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Grundy, Gareth (December 2004). "They Took a Trip to the Heart of Darkness. Not All Returned.". Q (Bauer Media). Archived from the original on 7 December 2004. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Rocklist.net...Kerrang! Lists Page 1...". Rocklist.net. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Melody Maker (January 1994): 77.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "7 Of The Best: Manic Street Preachers". 
  19. ^ Patashnik, Ben (25 February 2008). "Discography reassessed: the Manics in perspective". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Album A&B Manic Street Preachers - Gold Against The Soul". 
  21. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  22. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon.
  23. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.

External links[edit]