Lifeblood (album)

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Lifeblood
Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 1 November 2004
Recorded 2003 at Stir Studios in Cardiff, Wales; Grouse Lodge in Westmeath, Ireland; Looking Glass Studios in New York, United States
Genre Pop rock, alternative rock
Length 45:26
Label Sony
Producer Tony Visconti, Tom Elmhirst, Greg Haver
Manic Street Preachers chronology
Lipstick Traces
(2003)
Lifeblood
(2004)
Send Away the Tigers
(2007)
Singles from Lifeblood
  1. "The Love of Richard Nixon"
    Released: 18 October 2004
  2. "Empty Souls"
    Released: 10 January 2005

Lifeblood is the seventh studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. Recorded in 2003, tt was released on 1 November 2004 by record label Sony Music UK.

The album was met with generally positive reviews from critics, yielding two singles, "The Love of Richard Nixon" and "Empty Souls". The album peaked at number 13 in the UK Album Chart.

Writing and recording[edit]

The working title of Lifeblood was Litany,[1] hinting that the song "Litany" recorded during the Lifeblood sessions was originally intended for inclusion. The track, however, only featured as a B-side to the "Empty Souls" CD single. The album includes a song about Emily Pankhurst ("Emily"), a leader in the British woman's suffrage movement, but, otherwise, the band's earlier political lyrics have been replaced by personal reflection,[2] such as on the band's past ("1985") and former member Richey Edwards ("Cardiff Afterlife").

Lifeblood was recorded at studios in New York, Wales and Ireland by Tony Visconti, Tom Elmhirst and frequent collaborator Greg Haver.[3] Two tracks recorded – "Antarctic" and "The Soulmates" – remain only on the Japanese version of the album.

The album is a departure musically, replacing the band's traditional guitar walls with more subtle and melodic playing, emphasis instead being given to keyboards and synthesizers. This results in a softer sound, something Nicky Wire described the album as "elegiac pop" throughout the recording process.[4]

Wire talked about the ghosts that haunted this record and stated that the record was a retrospective: "The main themes are death and solitude and ghosts. Being haunted by history and being haunted by your own past. Sleep is beautiful for me. I hate dreaming because it ruins ten hours of bliss. I had a lot of bad dreams when Richey [Edwards] first disappeared. Not ugly dreams, but nagging things. Until we wrote 'Design for Life', it was six months of misery. Lifeblood doesn't seek to exorcise Edwards' ghost, though, just admits that there are no answers".[5]

Release[edit]

Lifeblood was preceded by the single "The Love of Richard Nixon", released on 18 October 2004. During the mid-week chart the single was at the No. 1 position, but dropped and ended up peaking at No. 2 on the UK singles chart.[6]

Lifeblood was released on 1 November 2004. It entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 13, selling 23,990 in the first week and spending only two weeks in the Top 75. The album has gone Silver, but it is the least commercially successful album by the band. It has currently sold around 90,000 copies in the UK.[6]

"Empty Souls", the second and final single from the album, was released on 10 January 2005. Like the previous single, it debuted and peaked at No. 2.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 66/100[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[8]
BBC Music favourable[9]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[10]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[11]
Mojo 4/5 stars[12]
NME 6/10[13]
PopMatters 7/10[2]
Q 1.5/5 stars[14]
Uncut 3.5/5 stars[15]
Yahoo! Music UK 6/10[7]

The album was met with generally positive reviews from critics, something that didn't happen for their previous effort Know Your Enemy. The album currently holds an approval rating of 66/100 on review aggregator website Metacritic.[7]

AllMusic awarded the album with an average rating of three stars out of five and stated: "Lifeblood is a pleasant listen, but once you peel away the keyboards, sensitively strummed guitars and tasteful harmonies and concentrate on Bradfield's nakedly open voice and Wire's terminally collegiate lyrics, it's hard to escape the unintentional pathos that winds up defining the album and, conceivably, the band's latter-day career."[16]

Barry Nicolson of NME wrote: "Where Know Your Enemy strived vainly for relevance, Lifeblood is seemingly content to exist as a highbrow rock record. Out go song titles that were half-baked political manifestos in themselves ('Freedom of Speech Won't Feed My Children' anyone?), in come elegiac pop anthems ('1985') and the welcome presence of Bowie producer Tony Visconti to add a glacial sheen to the whole affair. Indeed, this is arguably the best Manics album since Everything Must Go."[13]

Colin Weston of Drowned in Sound praised the album, writing: "This is not rock, it is arguably not indie and would fit very comfortably next to the soft nu-wave eighties pop albums that your auntie has on the shelf... and it is quite simply brilliant! [...] 'Generation Terrorists' may well live forever in the hearts of their fans but 'Lifeblood' may well live forever as one of the best commercial albums of the bands career."[10] John Garrett from PopMatters wrote "Richey may be long dead, but there's still warm blood coursing through the Manics' veins. They are for real—although maybe not in the way history had intended."[2]

A negative review came from Q, calling the album "Miserable and insipid".[14]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Nicky Wire, all music composed by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore, with additional lyrics by Patrick Jones on "Fragments".

No. Title Length
1. "1985"   4:08
2. "The Love of Richard Nixon"   3:38
3. "Empty Souls"   4:05
4. "A Song for Departure"   4:20
5. "I Live to Fall Asleep"   3:57
6. "To Repel Ghosts"   3:58
7. "Emily"   3:34
8. "Glasnost"   3:14
9. "Always/Never"   3:42
10. "Solitude Sometimes Is"   3:21
11. "Fragments"   4:02
12. "Cardiff Afterlife"   3:27

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
position
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 13
Irish Albums (IRMA)[18] 15
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[19] 15
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[20] 47
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 56
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[22] 65
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[23] 62
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 81

References[edit]

  1. ^ Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. 
  2. ^ a b c Garrett, John (12 November 2004). "The Manic Street Preachers: Lifeblood | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Lifeblood". discogs.org. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Britton, Amy (17 November 2011). Revolution Rock: The Albums Which Defined Two Ages. AuthorHouse. p. 347. 
  5. ^ Watson, Ian (October 2004). "Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers)". The Scotsman. 
  6. ^ a b c "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Lifeblood – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lifeblood – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  9. ^ O'Doherty, Lucy. "BBC – Music – Review of Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood". BBC Music. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Weston, Colin (25 October 2004). "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (5 November 2004). "CD: Manic Street Preachers, Lifeblood | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Mojo: 94. November 2004. 
  13. ^ a b Nicolson, Barry (7 December 2004). "NME Album Reviews – Manic Street Preachers : Lifeblood – nme.com". NME. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Q: 130. December 2004. 
  15. ^ Uncut: 148. December 2004. 
  16. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lifeblood – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  18. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week {{{week}}}, {{{year}}}". Chart-Track.co.uk. IRMA. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: Lifeblood" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  21. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  22. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

External links[edit]