on 25 May 2000
It is important at the start of the review to do the unpleasant task of criticising. It is said by some that the album is too long, 18 tracks on a debut is ambitious to say the least and it is argued by many that some of the songs on the album are more b-side worthy than album worthy. Also, it has been said that the sound of the album is attempted to be too comercial; James Dean Bradfield trying almost too hard for his debut to sound like Guns n Roses classic Appetite for Destruction.
But this is only what SOME people say. This is an excellent album, coming out of the epoch of Maddchester, this really does stick out as a fine example of the drive of good and honest rock music. The length of the album only re-enforces their own personal love for the rock genre, and doing this well.
There are the basic confrontational songs (Stay Beautiful, So Dead and Slash n Burn), the out spoken political rants (Repeat UK, Another Invented Disease) and even an attack on organised religion (Crucifix Kiss).
The album also contains the epic (believe me, I never underuse the word epic) track Motorcycle Emptiness, a beautiful and heart rendering song, which at the time was considered to be "too advanced" for inclusion, but as JDB himself said -"it was probably the savior of the album". It is the best track by some distance, but the rest of the album is still consistantly good.
A brilliant debut, needed in any rock fans collection. Richie and Nicky look great too! First class.
on 25 August 2002
Looking back at the greatest albums of the punk revolution its easy to see where the inspiration for this album came. Just glance back to The Ramones or The Clash and there are obvious similarities to this debut for the Welsh (then) four-piece.
Generation Terrorists is in essence a punk album for the younger generation, it retains the snarling teenage angst of the genre's early offerings of the 1970s with that same boredom and political message of albums such as "Never Mind the Bollocks" or "London Calling". In its own right it is equally as important as any of the early punk albums. This kick-started the Manics career and propelled them onto a big label, giving one of the best bands of the 1990s their voice.
Having said that, there are only a limited number of excellent songs. Most of the 18-strong album is pretty standard rock n' roll stuff, though the lyrics are intelligent and typically Manics. Standout tracks include 'Slash n' Burn', 'Stay Beautiful' and 'Little Baby Nothing' - yet what makes the album so brilliant is just two songs, without which this record wouldn't get that fifth star. They are 'Motorcycle Emptiness'; a remarkably beautiful song which is virtually perfect as music goes; and 'You Love Us' - an acid-spitting, gun-waving, petrol bomb-throwing slice of vitriolic punk rock.
In all the album suffers from some major flaws, its too long by about four or five tracks and contains some pretty average material, as well as being 10 years too late for the punk wave. But its strange that these are the qualities that make it so awesome an album. Its snarling yet smart, brash, cocky and loud (effectively a definition of the genre). Its flaws actually galvanise the album and make it what it is.
All in all it is an incredible punk album that has a certain magic that puts it into the 5-star category, despite its flaws.
on 11 March 2002
This is one of the best debut rock albums in the world. The Manic Street Preachers are perhaps lryically one of the most controversial bands of the decade, however their unique ability with these use of politics slamming lryics shines through and is not lost beneath the excellent guitar solos of James Dean Bradfield along with his powerful yet tuneful voice which no other singer can touch. Songs like Motorcycle Emptiness, You Love Us, Stay Beautiful, Little Baby Nothing and Love's Sweet Excile will stay with the Manics to the grave and fans still get excited about them when they are played live ten years on. This album is the start of something beautiful, a rock and roll band with strong beliefs which they can reach people with in an entertaining manner, you've not heard The Manics untill you've heard this rocker of an album, 18 songs and everyone is a very strong effort!
on 17 September 2003
This album is by no means perfect. However, the overall feeling you take away after listening to an album like this overcomes the odd song that isnt great.
For me, the great song of this record is "You Love Us". It condenses everything the Manics were saying in '92 into one song. Aimed at the music press, and there isnt a more deserving target for purest vitriol than the NME, this is more explosive than anything else Ive ever heard. It just takes the inflamatry, iconoclastic nature of "Motown Junk" ("I laughed when Lennon got shot") one step further.
Not to say that the rest of the album is filler. "Slash N Burn" does exactly that. "Motorcycle Emptiness" is one of the Manics truly great songs and "Little Baby Nothing" tackles the subject of prostitution (a subject that would be tackled 2 years later on the "Holy Bible" album in the shape of "Yes"). And as for Repeat, "God Save The Queen" for the 90s.
The album is very long, 18 tracks taking up around 70 minutes. You dont often get albums that long any more. The Manics have always wrote about things lesser bands will not touch. When Shed Seven were singing about love, the Manics were writing about anorexia. This is what sets them apart from all other bands, and long may they continue.
on 24 August 2005
As debuts go, this one really has stood the test of time. Originally, the Manics stated that they wanted to shift 16 million copies of this, and everyone laughed. Obviously, they fell far short of that, but did actually shift a quarter of a million copies, which, for a debut band, is extremely impressive.
Anyhow, this album is all Clash-style politic and G'n'R guitar riffery, though not shamelessly so. James Dean Bradfield is one of the best British guitarists of all time, Sean Moore is a technically brilliant drummer and the Edwards/Wire lyric combination is an explosive one.
This album emanates sheer youthful urgency. It is full of brash, loud and deliberately provocative lyrics, in the likes of 'Repeat' and 'Slash n' Burn', the latter being a fierce condemnation of Americanisation, the former being a vicious, foul-mouthed attack on certain British institutions. Give them a listen. They haven't dated (much), and they are an interesting snapshot of the Manics as young men.
'Condemned To Rock And Roll' is probably the best song that Guns 'n' Roses never wrote, a seven minute landslide of aggressive guitars, furious drums and Bradder's rather excellent vocal, culminating in the angsty lyrics: "There's nothing I wanna see, there's no-where I wanna go", hinting at the nihilism which the Manics would hone to perfection on 'The Holy Bible, a mere three years later.
This album is also laden with singles, from the radio-friendly 'Little Baby Nothing' and 'Stay Beautiful' to the anthemic 'You Love Us' and 'Motorcycle Emptiness' and the slightly underwhelming 'Love's Sweet Exile'. Generally though, this album is focused and knows exactly where it's going, despite it's length (18 songs).
Perhaps if a few of the weaker songs, such as 'Born To End' or 'Damn Dog' had been relegated to B-sides, this album would have been more complete, more whole. As it is, it's a perfectly decent, musically and lyrically excellent album, with plenty to say and plenty to offer. It hints gloriously at everything the Manics had to offer, whilst painstakingly setting out the full Manics manifesto.
on 5 April 2007
After the Manics' return to Guitar Hero territory with Send Away the Tigers, I felt the need to dig out this rough diamond. And damn, it's fine. If you go back four or five years, you'd be met with fans claiming that Generation Terrorists hadn't aged well, but for some reason it sounds rejuvenated again in 2007. Upon its release in the early 90s it was completely out of sync with the British indie rock scene of stargazers in their 'loose fit' clothing, and it's no different now, the antithesis of all the indie kids with their guitars held as high as possible and their Talking Heads book of songwriting accompanying them through their short-lived careers before the bandwagon collapses.
Looking back, Generation Terrorists was an extraordinarily ambitious debut. A 73 minute double album of glam/punk/metal/softrock, incorporating dance remixes by the Bomb Squad, poetry intros and Meatloaf-style duets with pornstars. I mean, c'mon, you're sold already, right? The many literary and political references in the lyrics and philosophical quotes on the sleeve might not impress NME readers in an age when most of the current NME bands are little more than gap year students, but it was a brave new world after the antipathetic music scene the Manics were born into.
The musical and lyrical ambitions might not always have been met, but Generation Terrorists has its fair share of Manics classics. Motorcycle Emptiness often vies with A Design For Life for the title of the ultimate Manics song, You Love Us is their evergreen calling card and Little Baby Nothing is a slab of twisted melodic pop that deservedly joined the other two on 2002's greatest hits compilation Forever Delayed. Stay Beautiful remains a live favourite with a chorus chant to end all chorus chants, while the grand finale of Condemned to Rock 'N' Roll has a gloriously unashamed RAWK guitar solo that lasts longer than many full songs these days. Even the cover of Damn Dog, which previously sounded like such a mistake and afterthought, has a playfulness to it that's easier to appreciate in an era where the Manics have once again pressed the fun button.
It's not all about pink rose-tinted spectacles. Natwest-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds is still a duff note so early on in the tracklisting, and some of the lyrics on the album do fall under the dreaded banner of 'Sixth Form', but the flaws add to the charm of this mental collection.
PS. If anyone from Sony is reading, it's time for a remastering.
on 28 December 1999
The Manics' debut album, and one they felt so strongly about that they claimed that they would split up after its release. Thankfully the band of contradictions never kept that promise. 'Generation Terrorists' is a huge and angry album - and could possibly do with being a couple of mediocre songs shorter. Nevertheless, if the album contained 17 songs of trash and 'Motorcycle Emptiness' it would still be great. This song is an epic. 'Generation Terrorists' manages to attack Britain and its institutions ('NatWest'), the exploitation of women ('Little baby nothing') and many other things, while still rocking and being amazingly musical. A sign of a great album is one where the listener can look forward to every track starting while still enjoying the one playing, and this is one of these. Their irony and sensitivity make a perfect mix. They said "I am nothing, I should be everything", and seven years later in 1999 they are very nearly eveything.
on 29 November 2003
The Manics are a puzzlingly love-em/hate-em kind of band. A bit of digging reveals that most of the hate-em brigade are unaware of the existence of anything that occurred before 'A Design for Life'. This is it (or at least the first of the trilogy of 'early manics').
Its a rock record that doesn't sound much like much else, at least I can't put my finger on anything similar. Maybe its a little on the long side (I can't actually recall all of the eighteen tracks as i sit and write this), but it still sounds fresh and exciting. And varied. Try 'You Love Us' if you want to shout, or 'Motorcycle Emptiness' if you're after something beautifully crafted and underrated to impress your friends with. Or simply try it all and find out what generated all the Manic Street Preacher fuss in the first place.
on 8 March 2009
People will always criticize this album because they didn't brake America or sellout with it. What people need to remember is that not all albums have to bring huge success to be brilliant. Look at the pistols or The Clash, many bands have brought out albums that weren't successful at the time but they are now classed as classic albums. The Holy Bible is probably the album the Manics get the most recognition for and is classed as a classic album by many people, yet it was unsuccessful in its time.
Generation Terrorist is a rock record in my opinion. It has it's moments when you can hear the punk influences the band aspired to but generally i'd call this a Rock record.
It's well known that Guns N' Roses was a big influence on the band in their early years and on this album you can really hear the similarities to Appetite For Destruction.
This album has some classic Manics tracks on it;
Little Baby Nothing
Slash N Burn
Born To End
They're fantastic songs.
Perhaps the best song on here though is Condemned To Rock N' Roll, the guitar on the album is fonominal anyway but on this track it's something special.
The hole album was recorded by James (although sean did programme a drum machine) so you can really appreciate his musical talent.
If I were to give advice I'd say out of all the Manics albums this is probably the one with the most attitude and the most 'go' in it. So if you like a good ol' rock record pick this, if you want something a little less energetic perhaps Everything Must Go or This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours would be more suitable.
on 18 September 2007
This is an album that shaped rock music as we know it. It's one of those that grabs you right from the off and pulls you in right until the very end. Yes, that's despite all 18 tracks of it.....
So it fuses James Dean Bradfield's wailing guitar, Nicky Wire's punching bass and sometimes controversial lyrics, Richey James's brilliant topical discussions, as well as Sean Moore's relentless drumming. Sounds all right doesn't it. But can it sustain the quality needed for 74 minutes?
You see, after purchasing their latest offering, 'Send Away The Tigers', I was keen to know what Nicky Wire meant when he said that the Manics were trying to 'recreate their old sound'. So I bought their debut, 'Generation Terrorists'.
The opener, 'Slash N' Burn' is a great opener. We're immediately thrust into the world of The Clash meets Guns N' Roses, and a youthful punk influence. This was 1992 you know, although it is now 15 years ago, would you believe. 'Natwest-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds' is one of those that Wire/James were going to write with its topical and political influences oozing through JDB's wailing vocals. 'Born To End' continues the trend of the previous openers, before the album's real gem is unearthed. 'Motorcycle Emptiness' is an anthem. Not just that, it screams confidence, and more importantly, shows the Manics as one of the influential bands of the 90s. 'You Love Us', which made their 'Forever Delayed: Greatest Hits' collection, as well as the previous track, is typical, punk-rock Manic Street Preachers. Another one of my favourites, and a definite crowd favourite in gigs.
The standard dips slightly for the next one. 'Love's Sweet Exile' is good, but doesn't have that edge that the first five tracks seemed to show in abundance. 'Little Baby Nothing' also made it onto their 'Greatest Hits', and it's not difficult to understand why. The lyrics are so thought-provoking, and the tune is brilliant. The next track is very unusual, as it seems the Manics are intent on going a bit Breakbeat/ Trip-Hop (probably to make it blindingly obvious that this is the US version of 'Repeat'). The song is ok, but nothing special. Credit must be given though, full marks for ambition. 'Tennessee' is again, classic Manics, plenty of meaty riffs a la G N' Roses, and it's very good. 'Another Invented Disease' is similar musically, but the more topical Manics songs are the better ones lyrically, as it portrays them as a very intelligent band, and very conscious of current affairs. 'Stay Beautiful' is again, very good, although by now we're realising that the second half of the album isn't as good as the first, although it doesn't mean to say it's a disappointment by any means. 'So Dead' is again, excellent. The trademark sound has been well and truly stamped throughout this record, and it's hard to complain of it. 'Repeat' (the UK version) is better than the US version, because it's more punk and no-frills rock n' roll. 'Spectators of Suicide' slow things down again, to soak up some of the great lyrics James and Wire have to offer. 'Damn Dog' is a cover song, although I'm uncertain of who recorded the original. 'Crucifix Kiss' is excellent, as is 'Methadone Pretty', but the real gem of this second half of the record is 'Condemned to Rock N' Roll', a six-minute something all-out rocker, which has everything Guns N' Roses might have had on some of their songs.
The Manic Street Preachers were determined to enter the scene with a bang. And indeed they did- 'Generation Terrorists' is the Manics at their very finest. Very highly recommended. 9.5/10.