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, grunge, hard rock[1]
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, through Columbia Records.

Background[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.

"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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Martin C. Strong (9/10)[2]
Melody Maker (favourable)[3]
NME (6/10)[4]
Q 2/5 stars[5]
Spin (unfavourable)[6]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 stars[7]

Gold Against the Soul received mixed reviews from critics.[8] Allmusic, awarding the record three and a half stars out of five, described it as a "flawed but intriguing second album",[1] while Kerrang! and Melody Maker listed the record at #8[9] and #25[10] in Albums Of The Year 1993 respectively. Stuart Bailie, writing for the NME, was uncertain however, calling the album "confusing" and "too much Slash and not enough burn"[4] but did compliment its musicality, saying "the drums and guitars rumble higher in the mix, and massive, harmonising riffs are everywhere".[5] Q Magazine's Peter Kane was more critical, describing Gold Against the Soul "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".[11]

The band themselves have described the record as their least favourite album and the most unfocused period 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."[12]

Legacy[edit]

Gold Against the Soul remains a controversial record among critics. Both the NME and Q have revised their opinions 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."[4] 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.[13]

In a negative commentary, meanwhile, 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]

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
Note: Some copies of the CD had a promotional sticker on the cover which advertised "Life Becoming a Landslide" as "Life Becoming a Landscape"

Personnel[edit]

Manic Street Preachers
  • James Dean Bradfield – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Sean Moore – drums, percussion, drum programming (tracks 8, 10), backing vocals
  • Richey Edwards – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Nicky Wire – bass guitar, backing vocals
Additional personnel
  • Dave Eringa – piano, organ
  • Ian Kewley – piano, organ
  • Nick Ingham – string arrangements
  • Shovel – percussion

Charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
position
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[15] 32
German Albums (Official Top 100)[16] 95
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Gold Against the Soul – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  2. ^ The Essential Rock Discography - Volume 1: 668. 2006. 
  3. ^ Melody Maker (June 1993): 28. 
  4. ^ a b c Bailie, Stuart (1993). "Album A&E - Manic Street Preachers, 'Gold Against The Soul', by Paul Stokes)". nme.com. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Manic Street Preachers - Gold Against The Soul CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Spin: 104. October 1993. 
  7. ^ Donnelly, Dave (20 August 2005). "Manic Street Preachers - Gold Against the Soul". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Manic Street Preachers - Biography". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Kerrang! End Of year Lists". www.rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Melody Maker (January 1994): 77. 
  11. ^ Kane, Peter. "Gold Against The Soul (Q Magazine)". home.germany.net. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers on a Year of Hospital Horror...". Select. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  13. ^ 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 21 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Tangari, Joe (17 January 2005). "Manic Street Preachers: The Holy Bible". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums" (In Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Postcards from a Young Man". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  17. ^ "1993-07-03 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 November 2013.