Release Date: Nov 8, 2011
Record label: Sony Music Distribution
Arriving roughly ten years after their first hits compilation, 2002’s Forever Delayed, 2011’s National Treasures: The Complete Singles has another decade to cover so it’s perfectly sensible that the collection spans two discs as it diligently marches through almost every single Manic Street Preachers released during their first 20 years. The absences are the province of trainspotters: anything released on Heavenly Records prior to “Motown Junk,” for instance, along with other stray exclusives and fan club bonuses. What is here is everything from 1991’s “Motown Junk” through 2011’s “Postcards from a Young Man,” with a new cover of The The’s “This Is the Day” added at the end as fan bait.
National Treasures is such a perfect title for a Manic Street Preachers record that it would be no great surprise if they came up with the name first, then devised an album around it. Released to coincide with the 21st anniversary of their first (major label) single, its 38 tracks follow their progress from the literate, alienated young punks of Motown Junk and Stay Beautiful to the veterans who still feel impelled to write songs such as The Love of Richard Nixon. They're all here, still enthralling and frustrating (no matter how many times you listen, it still niggles to hear James Dean Bradfield jam too many syllables into every line) – testament to the singularity of a career that was intended to last for one album only.
It barely needs saying that the Manic Street Preachers are a band who have always striven for importance. They were never a band for whom it was “...all about the music, man”. When you hear Nicky Wire bemoan the lack of bands with the “inspiration of The Smiths or The Sex Pistols” and bands “...who you want to look like and you want the haircut, you actually believe what they're saying” it's pretty clear that, as far as he's concerned, the Manics are, or at very least were, in that number.
Warts ‘n’ all singles collection from a contradictory and preposterously brilliant band. Camilla Pia 2011 And so the Manic Street Preachers bid farewell to music-making, "for at least two years" so they claim. But then, anyone who knows how soundbite-savvy bassist/pop provocateur Nicky Wire can be, knows not to believe a word that comes out of his mouth.