Know Your Enemy (Manic Street Preachers album)

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Know Your Enemy
Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 19 March 2001
Recorded 2000, Rockfield Studios, Monmouth
Genre Alternative rock, lo-fi
Length 75:34
Label Epic
Producer Dave Eringa, David Holmes, Greg Haver and Mike Hedges
Manic Street Preachers chronology
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Know Your Enemy
Forever Delayed
Singles from Know Your Enemy
  1. "Found That Soul"
    Released: 26 February 2001
  2. "So Why So Sad"
    Released: 26 February 2001
  3. "Ocean Spray"
    Released: 4 June 2001
  4. "Let Robeson Sing"
    Released: 10 September 2001

Know Your Enemy is the sixth studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 19 March 2001, through Virgin Records. It was supported by four singles; two of them, "Found That Soul" and "So Why So Sad", were released in the same day as a publicity stunt. Know Your Enemy was a commercial success, albeit not as successful as its predecessor This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. Critics were somewhat divided in their opinions, but mostly positive.


The album features Nicky Wire's debut as a lead vocalist ("Wattsville Blues") and James Dean Bradfield's debut as a lyricist ("Ocean Spray"). Kevin Shields, the lead singer, guitarist and producer of My Bloody Valentine plays guitar on the album's final track.

The album is different from their previous effort, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. The songs are less polished and radio friendly, and the band stopped using advanced studio effects and non-rock instrumentation, as most of the album consists of raw punk and hard rock. Know Your Enemy, however, also contains songs in many different genres including Beach Boys-inspired pop music ("So Why So Sad"), protest songs ("Let Robeson Sing") and even disco ("Miss Europa Disco Dancer").

The left-wing political convictions of the Manic Street Preachers are apparent in many of the album's songs, such as Baby Elián as they comment on the strained relations between the USA and Cuba, as seen in the Elián González affair, a hot topic at the album's release. The band band also pays tribute to singer and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson in the song Let Robeson Sing.

It is the longest album released by the Manic Street Preachers, as it is slightly longer than their debut Generation Terrorists.


Know Your Enemy reached chart position number 2 in the UK.[1] The album also reached the top 20 in Finland,[2] Sweden,[3] Australia[4] and Denmark.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 57/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[8]
Dotmusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
Mojo 3.5/5 stars[6]
NME 7/10[10]
Pitchfork 7.5/10[11]
PopMatters unfavourable[12]
Q 3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 0/5 stars[13]

Critical response to Know Your Enemy has been generally mixed.[6]

Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention, calling it "punk propaganda poppified" and citing "Ocean Spray" and "Let Robeson Sing" as highlights.[8] Pitchfork Media commented, "Know Your Enemy finds the Manics attempting to write a protest song in just about every genre", ultimately calling the album "provocative, well-done, but not quite focused enough to take the listener anywhere in particular."[11] Mojo called the album "such a sprawling, unwieldy beast that the instrumental hooks take time to emerge."[6]

A negative review came from Rolling Stone, which wrote "nowhere amidst all the confusion is there even a worthwhile tune to be salvaged", calling it "hideously dull".[13]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Nicky Wire, except "Ocean Spray", by James Dean Bradfield, all music composed by Bradfield and Sean Moore, except "We Are All Bourgeois Now", written by Tim Gane, Malcolm Eden, John Williamson and Gary Baker.

No. Title Length
1. "Found That Soul"   3:05
2. "Ocean Spray"   4:11
3. "Intravenous Agnostic"   4:02
4. "So Why So Sad"   4:02
5. "Let Robeson Sing"   3:46
6. "The Year of Purification"   3:39
7. "Wattsville Blues"   4:29
8. "Miss Europa Disco Dancer"   3:52
9. "Dead Martyrs"   3:23
10. "His Last Painting"   3:16
11. "My Guernica"   4:56
12. "The Convalescent"   5:54
13. "Royal Correspondent"   3:31
14. "Epicentre"   6:26
15. "Baby Elián"   3:37
16. "Freedom of Speech Won't Feed My Children" (contains a cover of the McCarthy song "We Are All Bourgeois Now" as a hidden track) 13:12


Manic Street Preachers
  • James Dean Bradfield – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards on "Freedom of Speech Won't Feed My Children"
  • Sean Moore – drums, drum programming, trumpet
  • Nicky Wire – bass, lead vocals on "Wattsville Blues", acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Additional personnel
  • Nick Nasmyth – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Kevin Shields – guitar on "Freedom of Speech Won't Feed My Children"
  • The Avalanchesremixing on "So Why So Sad (Sean Penn Mix – Avalanches)"
  • Dave Eringa – engineering on tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 11–14, mixing on tracks 1–4, 6–9 and 11–16, production
  • Lee Butler – engineering on tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 11–14
  • David Holmes – additional production on tracks 9, 12 and 16
  • Guy Massey – engineering on "The Year of Putrification" and "Baby Elián"
  • Gerr McDonnel – engineering and mixing on "Let Robeson Sing"
  • Mike Hedges – mixing and production on "Let Robeson Sing"
  • Tom Lord-Alge – mixing on "His Last Painting"
  • Greg Haver – production and engineering on "Royal Correspondent" and "Freedom of Speech Won't Feed My Children"
  • Bobby Dazzler – production on "So Why So Sad (Sean Penn Mix – Avalanches"


  1. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  2. ^ " – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  3. ^ " – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  4. ^ " – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  5. ^ " – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Critic Reviews for Know Your Enemy – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Know Your Enemy – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : Allmusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Manic Street Preachers". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Ward, Simon P. (19 March 2001). "Dotmusic – Album Review". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 27 June 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Segal, Victoria (19 March 2001). "NME Album Reviews – Manic Street Preachers : Know Your Enemy –". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Reid, Brandon (19 March 2001). "Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Neate, Wilson (24 April 2001). "Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Vaziri, Aidin (24 April 2001). "Manic Street Preachers Know Your Enemy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 6 September 2001. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 

External links[edit]