Know Your Enemy (Manic Street Preachers album)

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Know Your Enemy
KnowYourEnemyAlbumCover.jpg
Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 19 March 2001
Recorded 2000
Studio Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales
Genre Alternative rock
Length 75:34
Label Epic
Producer
Manic Street Preachers chronology
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
(1998)
Know Your Enemy
(2001)
Forever Delayed
(2002)
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 by record label Virgin. It was supported by four singles; two of them, "Found That Soul" and "So Why So Sad", were released on 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 its reception has been mostly positive.

Background[edit]

The album features Nicky Wire's debut as a lead vocalist, on the track "Wattsville Blues", and James Dean Bradfield's debut as a lyricist, on "Ocean Spray". Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine plays guitar on the album's final track.[1]

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 United States and Cuba as seen in the Elián González affair, a hot topic around the album's release. The band also pays tribute to singer and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson in the song "Let Robeson Sing".[1]

About the political side of the record Wire spoke in an interview about the subject: "Unfortunately it was four years before everyone else got interested in politics. It took everyone else a war. Where have these people been the last four years? Forty years? American foreign policy's never changed. There's a track called 'Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children' about forcing freedom on societies that says everything we ever needed to say." Wire also described the album as "a deeply flawed, highly enjoyable folly".[2]

Musically, the album departs from the arena rock sound of their previous two albums for a bigger and more abrasive rock sound.[3] The album also features influences from various genres. On the album's diverse sound Pitchfork Media stated that "Know Your Enemy finds the Manics attempting to write a protest song in just about every genre."[4] The punk rock-influenced "riotous" sound of the tracks "Found That Soul", "Intravenous Agnostic" and "Dead Martyrs" attribute influences to Sonic Youth and Joy Division. Tracks such as "The Year of Purification" and "Epicentre" foray to a R.E.M.-indebted jangle-pop style.[4] The tracks "So Why So Sad" and "Miss Europa Disco Dancer" were described as "a Beach Boys homage" and "a disco parody," respectively.[3][4][5][6] The tracks My Guernica", "His Last Painting" and "The Convalescent" were also described as "dark, marching and charging post-punk anthems."[5]

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

Release[edit]

Know Your Enemy was released on 19 March 2001. The album debuted and peaked on number 2 in the UK Album Chart, it spent a total of 16 weeks in the charts.[7] In Ireland the album reached number 5, and around the world it was pretty successful,[1] it peaked in number 3 on Finland, remaining 5 weeks in the Finnish charts,[8] number 6 in Denmark[9] number 7 in Sweden,[10] and number 8 in Norway and in Greece.[11] Also in Germany,[12] Belgium[13] and in Australia[14] it charted within the top 20.

Four singles were released, Found That Soul and So Why So Sad were released on the same day, the other two Ocean Spray and Let Robeson Sing were released later. All the four singles charted within the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart.[7]

The album has reached the Top 10 in seven countries, it peaked at number 5 in the European charts and since its release on March 2001 Know Your Enemy has sold more than one million copies worldwide.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 57/100[15]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[6]
Alternative Press 6/10[15]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[16]
Dotmusic 3.5/5 stars[17]
Mojo 3.5/5 stars[15]
NME 7/10[18]
Pitchfork 7.5/10[4]
PopMatters unfavourable[19]
Q 3/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone unfavourable[20]

Critical response to Know Your Enemy has been generally mixed: even if the album received positive comments, it also received some negative ones. At Metacritic which gives a normalised rating out of 100, the album holds a score of 57, that indicates "average reviews".[15]

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.[16]

Victoria Segal from the NME gave a positive review to the album and wrote: (...) "'Know Your Enemy' sees them scrabbling for some of that early freedom, catapulting themselves back to a time when their minds could only just keep pace with their lipsticked mouths and they had all the establishment credentials of a red light district. It's a dangerous mission, returning to the scene of your earliest triumphs is a textbook example of the fool's errand."[18]

Pitchfork Media described the album as "provocative, well-done, but not quite focused enough to take the listener anywhere in particular."[4]

Mojo called the album "such a sprawling, unwieldy beast that the instrumental hooks take time to emerge."[15]

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".[20]

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

Personnel[edit]

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)
Technical personnel
  • 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)

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Power, Martin (17 October 2010). Manic Street Preachers. Omnibus Press. 
  2. ^ "Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers)". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Bolton, Rob (1 May 2001). "Manic Street Preachers - Know Your Enemy". Exclaim!. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Reid, Brandon (19 March 2001). "Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Mulholland, Gary (16 March 2001). "Condemned to rock'n'roll". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Know Your Enemy – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : Allmusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Manic Street Preachers - Official Single Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  9. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  10. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  11. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  12. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  13. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  14. ^ "Know Your Enemy". 
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Critic Reviews for Know Your Enemy – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Manic Street Preachers". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Ward, Simon P. (19 March 2001). "Dotmusic – Album Review". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 27 June 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Segal, Victoria (19 March 2001). "NME Album Reviews – Manic Street Preachers : Know Your Enemy – nme.com". nme.com. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  19. ^ Neate, Wilson (24 April 2001). "Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy". PopMatters. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  22. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Ultratop.be – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  26. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  27. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Greekcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  31. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week {{{week}}}, {{{year}}}". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  32. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  35. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  36. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  37. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  38. ^ "British album certifications – Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2014.  Enter Know Your Enemy in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]