Everything Must Go (Manic Street Preachers album)

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Everything Must Go
Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 20 May 1996
Recorded 1995–1996
Length 45:24
Label Epic
Producer Mike Hedges
Manic Street Preachers chronology
The Holy Bible
Everything Must Go
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Singles from Everything Must Go
  1. "A Design for Life"
    Released: 15 April 1996
  2. "Everything Must Go"
    Released: 22 July 1996
  3. "Kevin Carter"
    Released: 30 September 1996
  4. "Further Away"
    Released: 16 October 1996 (Japan only)
  5. "Australia"
    Released: 2 December 1996

Everything Must Go is the fourth studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 20 May 1996, through Epic Records, and was the first record released by the band following the disappearance of lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards.

Released at the height of Britpop in the mid-1990s, the album was a commercial and critical success, eventually selling over two million copies and being voted frequently in lists for one of the best albums ever by many music publications such as NME and Q.[1][2] The album reached its peak in the UK on separate occasions, debuting and peaking at number 2 in the UK Albums Chart and earned the band accolades in the 1997 Brit Awards.[3]


The working title of the album was Sounds in the Grass, named after a series of paintings by Jackson Pollock. Everything Must Go takes its name from a play by Patrick Jones, Nicky Wire's brother.[4]

Everything Must Go represents a change of style for the band. Their previous album, The Holy Bible, had been a stark, disturbing album with a minimal amount of instrumentation, whilst this album embraces synths and strings with an anthemic rock style, has a more commercial feel and fits with the Britpop movement that was prevalent at the time.[5][6]

The lyrical focus of the album is also shifted, due in part to Edwards' departure. Instead of introspective and autobiographical tracks such as "4st 7lb", Wire's predilection for historical and political themes dominates; however, five songs feature Edwards' lyrics – the last time his lyrics would feature in a Manics album until 2009's Journal for Plague Lovers. The album's lyrical themes would continue through their next record, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.[4]

Subjects tackled on the album include the tragic life of the photographer Kevin Carter, in the track of the same name; Willem de Kooning in "Interiors"; and the maltreatment of animals in captivity in "Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky" (which is a quote from the film The Best Years of Our Lives). The latter track, with lyrics by Edwards, can also be interpreted as an exploration of his mental state before his disappearance; the line "Here chewing your tail is joy" for instance may be as much about Richey's self-harm as it is the tormented self-injury of zoo animals.[4]

Part of the rhythm guitar on "No Surface All Feeling" was recorded by Edwards before his disappearance, making it only the second time that Edwards' guitar-work was present on a Manic Street Preachers recorded track (the other instance being "La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)" on Gold Against the Soul.) Bradfield typically performs all the guitar parts for their recordings.[5]


The album was released on 20 May 1996. It debuted on the UK Albums Chart at number 2. To date the album has achieved Triple Platinum status in the UK, making it their most successful chart album and spending 82 weeks in the Top 75, with the album still in the top five a year after its release.[7] The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry awarded the album with a Platinum certification, for sales above 1,000,000 copies. The album presented the band with a new generation of fans, charting in Europe, Asia and Australia. Since May 1996 Everything Must Go has shipped more than two million copies. Worldwide sales of their next album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, were to be even higher.[5]

Four singles were released from the album. "A Design for Life", described as a working class song, peaked at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart. "Everything Must Go", was said by Wire to be a message for all the fans, that the sound had changed but the band was still the same; it peaked at number 5. "Kevin Carter", the third single, was about the photographer Kevin Carter, who committed suicide; the single peaked at number 9. The last single, "Australia", according to Wire, talks about his desire to get as far away as possible;it reached number 7 in the charts. All the singles thus charted in the UK Top 10, between 1996 and 1997.[7] "Further Away" was released on October 1996, but only in Japan, replacing the UK single "Kevin Carter".

After the release of the album, in the following year the band performed a special gig at the Manchester Arena for more than 20,000 people. Bassist Nicky Wire said that was the moment he knew that the band had "made it".[5]

A 10th anniversary edition of the album was released on 6 November 2006. It included the original album, demos, B-sides, remixes, rehearsals and alternate takes of the album's songs, spread out over two CDs. An additional DVD, featuring music videos, live performances, TV appearances, a 45-minute documentary on the making of the album, and two films by Patrick Jones, completed the three-disc set. In the 10th anniversary edition the band itself claims that they are still fond of the record, and Wire goes further saying: "I think it's our best record, I am not afraid to say that."

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly A[14]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[11] (2006)
The Independent favourable[12]
NME 8/10[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone favourable[13]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars [15]
Vox 9/10[16]

Being the first album since the departure of Richey, the band at the time was under pressure, but after the release of A Design for Life, which was well received by critics and fans, Everything Must Go was the album that introduced the band to the mainstream public, all the singles were well received and radio friendly, the album was a critical success.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic gave a very positive review to the album, stating : " Above all, Everything Must Go is a cathartic experience -- it is genuinely moving to hear the Manics offering hope without sinking to mawkish sentimentality or collapsing under the weight of their situation." Rolling Stone magazine claimed the album as the "most underrated album of the year", and finished with: " Everything Must Go is a record of painstaking melodic craft and thundering execution, a proclamation of physical and emotional cleansing – up to a point."[6]

Reviewing the 10th anniversary edition, The Guardian said that the album "achieved the zenith of the Welshmen's original ambition: to conquer the mainstream with anger, art and soul.", giving it a positive review, alongside with a score of 4 out of 5 stars.[11]

Writing for Q magazine in June 1996, Tom Doyle thought that Everything Must Go had "little in common" with its predecessor, The Holy Bible, and saw the album as a return to, and improvement upon, the "epic pop-rock" sound of Gold Against the Soul.[10] He noted the band's choice of producer, Mike Hedges, as a possible contributing factor to the overall change in sound, and drew parallels to the lyrics of Kurt Cobain and the "reverb-laden" music of Phil Spector.[10]

Nicholas Barber of The Independent described Everything Must Go as "the most immediate, assured and anthemic British hard-rock album since Oasis's Definitely Maybe".[12] He also thought that the record was more accessible when comparing it to the "crushingly heavy-going" sound of The Holy Bible, especially, he noted, for a band "who once would have spat at the breadhead, corporate-sell-out idea of a hummable ditty. "[12]

Writing for Sputnikmusic Nick Butler gave the album a score of 4 out of 5 stars, concluding with: " Everything Must Go is a stellar album, stuffed with great, anthemic songs, and it's a rewarding listening experience. It loses ground to The Holy Bible simply because it's not as unique, but if Everything Must Go is inferior, it's only slightly so. " [17]

Vox magazine's Mark Sutherland saw Everything Must Go as the group's "most approachable" album, describing it as a "record so superb it might just make intelligence fashionable again", and surmising that the album "proves that, professionally, at least, the Manic Street Preachers don't miss Richey."[16]


The album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in 1996 but failed to win it; however, the album won the award for Best British Album and the Manic Street Preachers won Best British Group at the 1997 Brit Awards. In the NME Awards of 1996 Everything Must Go was named Album of the Year, and the Manic Street Preachers also won the award for Best Live Act and Best Single for "A Design for Life".

The single, certified Silver in the UK, is one of the band's best selling singles.

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The album remains a critical success, an important album in the Manic Street Preachers career, and a classic of the British music in the 90's[18] being frequently listed amongst the greatests albums ever by British music publications.[2]

In 1998, Q magazine readers voted it the 11th greatest album of all time,[1] while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 39 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever".[1] The album also placed at number 16 in its list of the best albums released in the magazine's lifetime.[1] The album is part of NME's collection of classic albums,[18] and the same magazine placed the album in number 182 on their definitive list "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[2]

Kerrang! placed the album in number 24 on their list of "100 Best British Rock Albums Ever".[19] The same magazine featured the album in number 22 on their list of "100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".[19] The album was placed in number 41 on Melody Maker's list of "All Time Top 100 Albums".[20]

In the end-of-year critics' lists Everything Must Go was placed at number 2 by NME and Kerrang![2][19] while Q chose the album as one of the best of 1996.[1] Melody Maker and Vox magazine placed the album at number 1 in their 1996's list.[20][21]

Website Clash, before the release of the band's twelfth studio album Futurology, said the following about Everything Must Go: "Sympathetically guided by Mike Hedges and with an empathetic but not overbearing application of strings, Everything Must Go managed to combine the more accessible sound of their early years with the vivid imagery of their previous album. Somehow lumped into the latter stages of Britpop at the time, this record remains one of the decade’s finest releases and is an essential listen."[22]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Nicky Wire, all music composed by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore, except as noted.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier"   Wire, Richey Edwards   3:29
2. "A Design for Life"       4:16
3. "Kevin Carter"   Edwards Bradfield, Moore, Wire 3:24
4. "Enola/Alone"       4:07
5. "Everything Must Go"       3:41
6. "Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky"   Edwards Bradfield, Moore, Wire 3:02
7. "The Girl Who Wanted to Be God"   Wire, Edwards   3:35
8. "Removables"   Edwards Bradfield, Moore, Wire 3:31
9. "Australia"       4:04
10. "Interiors (Song for Willem de Kooning)"       4:17
11. "Further Away"       3:38
12. "No Surface All Feeling"       4:14


Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Q Magazine 250 Best Albums Of Q’s Lifetime". 
  2. ^ a b c d "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time". 
  3. ^ "Manic Street Preachers - BRITs Profile". brits.co.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. 
  5. ^ a b c d Price 1999.
  6. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Everything Must Go - Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Review: Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go". Alternative Press (Alternative Press Magazine, Inc.) (October 1996): 93. 
  9. ^ "Review: Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go". NME (IPC Media) (18 May 1996): 50. 
  10. ^ a b c Doyle, Tom. "Review: Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go". Q (EMAP Metro Ltd) (Q117, June 1996): 116. 
  11. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (3 November 2006). "Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go (10th Anniversary Edition) (Sony)". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c Barber, Nicholas (26 May 1996). "RECORDS (Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go (Epic, CD/LP/tape))". The Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  13. ^ Fricke, David (11 December 1996). "Everything Must Go : Manic Street Preachers : Review". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  14. ^ Flaherty, Mike (23 August 1996). "Everything Must Go Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  15. ^ Butler, Nick (16 January 2005). "Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Sutherland, Mark. "Review: Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go (Epic)". Vox (IPC Media) (July 1996): 90–91. 
  17. ^ "Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go". "Sputnikmusic". 
  18. ^ a b Albums & Singles "NME classic albums and singles". 
  19. ^ a b c Rock Albums "100 best british rock albums ever". 
  20. ^ a b "All time top 100 albums". 
  21. ^ "Vox albums of 1996". 
  22. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: The Complete Guide". 
  23. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  25. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  26. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  27. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  28. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Manic Street Preachers – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2014.  Enter This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  32. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1998". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2014.