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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Manics prove they're still the best
As a long time Manics fan I'd have bought this album regardless of the reviews on here. And I certainly wasnt dissapointed.

It has been said 'Journal For Plague Lovers' is a return to the 'old manics' and is in a similar vein to their masterpiece 'The Holy Bible'. It is easy to see how you can make these claims. All the lyrics are by missing since 1995 lyricist...
Published on 20 July 2009 by Bex

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
After reading that this was basically the Holy Bible II I was a bit hesitant, but it's definately a grower - gets better with every listen.
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by James M. Fothergill


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Manics prove they're still the best, 20 July 2009
By 
Bex (West Lothian, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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As a long time Manics fan I'd have bought this album regardless of the reviews on here. And I certainly wasnt dissapointed.

It has been said 'Journal For Plague Lovers' is a return to the 'old manics' and is in a similar vein to their masterpiece 'The Holy Bible'. It is easy to see how you can make these claims. All the lyrics are by missing since 1995 lyricist Richey Edwards, just one look at the lyrics could affirm this. The album coverart is also by the same artist (Jenny Saville)whose work was used for The Holy Bible cover.

But despite all this its unfair to call this album The Holy Bible mk2. Its a far more personal album - while the bible was often political and has tracks about the Holocaust this album is more focussed on an individuals feelings. The lyrics are still pretty dark however, and not particularly radio friendly. The music is perhaps more akin to the music on that album than any of their other recent efforts, but is more polished, the sound of a band that know their stuff.

I dont pretend to understand all that Richey writes about, although final track Williams Last Words could perhaps have all too clear a meaning...personally I find it a track that brings a tear to my eye, but most of the songs still have a catchiness that will have you revisting this album time and time again. There are no weak links here.

This album shows the Manic Street Preachers are still a fantastic band (and their recent performance at T in the Park definately confirmed this) who aren't afraid to try something different, and are not out just to sell mindless millions of records. With their last album, Send Away the Tigers, they were also on form and this cements their position as one of the most though provoking bands to ever come out of Britain.

A fitting tribute to Richey Edwards, im sure he would have thought highly of the music put to his lyrics here.

Lets hope they continue making such brilliant records.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requires more than one listen to be properly appreciated, 9 Feb 2013
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This album deserves so much more than just a 'Holy Bible II' label. It does need more than one listen, but by doing so, the listener is rewarded dividends. Not only is the music sounding as fresh as ever, (despite the Manics' long career so far), it is the lyrics which are of particular importance for me, primarily because of their intelligence and great, probably long thought consideration, prime examples being 'Me and Stephen Hawking' and 'This Joke Sport Severed'.
I work in Mental Health and it is so refreshing to find an album written by a troubled, but incredible lyricist, of whom himself was a Mental Health patient -a group often over looked at, artistically in an often prejudiced industry.
In Richey Edwards' words, there is something powerful in the stark reminders that he delivers, which although often dark, are uterly compelling and absolutely required when both explaining and referencing his material. This, coupled with the majestic and highly polished music that the rest of the Manics' clan have written lovingly and with great disciplined care for the lyrics, makes for an album that although bridges links with 'The Holy Bible' in terms of themes, can actually stand out as a classic album on its own, free from the worry of ever having to perform well commercially, unlike what 'The Holy Bible' had, despite the band having very little interest in profit-driven efforts both back then and now.
Many of the subjects dealt with (and there are many), although written in the early Nineties, are actually eerily relevant to today, such as genetic engineering for example, seen in the line -'Today it's a cow, tommorow it's you'.
I would urge anyone working in or simply having an interest in Mental Health to purchase this album, if not only to have a glimpse of the type of wonderful creativity that can be born out of even a person's darkest and painful days. While I am not claiming that Richey was always depressed when writing lyrics, the mood of the lyrics of the album has an over riding theme of melancholy and reflection, which in my opinion has been unmatched in artistic expression and referencing by much music that has been released in recent years. How ironic then, that the very person to create it has not actually been alive in the time the album has been released to see how superior it is to many modern 'singers' and 'bands' currently in the celebrity limelight so avoided by this down to earth and hugely humble band.
I have great admiration for the remaining 3 band members, who have taken great time and care to make sure that Richey's words have been given the accompanying musical quality that they deserve. I can imagine the making of this album to have been highly theraputic for the Manics and probably, very emotional in parts, especially the assembling of 'William's Last Words'. It is a fitting tribute to a man so missed by his band mates and fans and while not wishing to put words in his mouth, i'm sure Richey would be so proud of them for what they have produced as an end product through combined effort.
This is probably the most under rated album I have ever reviewed and I hope it will go on to be appreciated by generations to come, in the same way that a lot of Richey's work and the Manics' work has so far and will teach present and future music fans to look deeper into the words they are either singing along or listening to, because the lyrics of this album are a shining example of the power of creativity to project ideas against an often brutal and unforgiving political spectrum within which we are "governed". I agree and wish that more talented writers and performers could create songs with more intelligent and political meaning than the songs about 'flowers' and 'going the shops' that seem to saturate the charts these days. Where is the anger? Where is the accompanying action? I'll leave that for the next generation to decide after listening to this very special album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miraculous, 2 July 2009
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I come to this without a lot of prejudice - familiar with the Manics through Forever Delayed and This Is My Truth but turned off a bit by Know Your Enemy - although listening to this album makes me want to listen to that again in case I missed something first time around.

This album sounds incredibly fresh - not at all what you would expect from a band that has been going for more than 15 years. It doesn't feel formulaic or contrived and genuinely seems to have been born out of loss and continued love for a friend.

I bought this at the same time as The Holy Bible as I read reviews comparing the two and I would rate this album higher - more accomplished musically and more grown up but obviously dealing with many of the same themes.

It's a miracle that a band can produce work like this after so long in the business - Radiohead maybe the only other one I can think of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Raw, Poetic, Consistent, 27 Jun 2009
By 
Luk Goossens - See all my reviews
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I have this album now for two months and I have listened to it almost 50 times now. It is quite simply a brilliant album. It is definitely in my top 4 of the Manics. Top 4 being Everything Must Go, The Holy Bible, Gold Against The Soul and Journal For Plague Lovers. Not in this specific order though, After all these years I am still trying to figure out which one is the best, I guess all of them have a different effect on me depending on the mood I'm in at that moment.

This album is highly addictive, it will make you listen over and over again and I'm sure I will do so in many years to come.

At times it even made me cry, from JOY that is !!!
If you don't have it yet, just go and get it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy top five of 2009, 22 Jun 2009
By 
Josh L. Patrick-Riley (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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First of all the music is brilliant. Listening to the album I have found many songs I like including Peeled Apples, Jackie Collins..., Pretention/Repulsion is a powerhouse, She Bathed Herself In A Bath of Bleach, and Bag Lady (The hidden, true, and leagues better closer to the album). Yes, while William's Last Words is supposed to close the album, I think it is awful and usually skip straight to "Bag Lady", you'll see why.

While some lyrics are forced into place, it is in the same way as The Holy Bible and the album makes it work once again. Except in the chorus of Facing Page: Top Left, which while beautiful music feels awkward lyricwise. But then there are songs like She Bathed..., which I believe the song is a success on every level.

She'd walk on broken glass for love
She thought burnt skin would please her lover
To keep love alive and lust beside
Kind people should never be treated like...
Empty arms and an aching heart

I find that lyric to be full of meaning! About the lengths people will go to to be loved, everyone wants a "table for two" but the pain that goes along with it can be awful. Plus the music is excellent.

As far as Peeled Apples I think it is expressionistic and is trying too hard to come up with metaphors, but so what? At least he was trying when so many musicians/lyricists don't even bother. What's interesting is you can make your own meanings, and sometimes that's what makes poetry interesting. For instance the line "Eternity is not a sunrise" in Bag Lady, I don't know what that means, but it challenges you to try and figure it out.

In "All Is Vanity" Richey is talking about how vanity can become an obsession, again a definite message here

Haven't shaved for days
Keeps the appearance of delay
The luxury of one more dye
Pretend humility, the ugly lie

Leaving yourself unshaved to look like you've been busy, and then saying

It's not "What's wrong?"
It's "What's right?"

Because there is so MUCH going wrong that in that mindset something going right is rare. That is incredibly interesting as vanity becomes the only escape, a point existing frequently in popular culture where perfect appearance is the primary path to happiness. Definite depth to these lyrics if you look close.

For some of the lyrics I think they are attempts at being clever through metaphor, but when the lyrics rise above and make a commentary on love or vanity is when the album shines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Bible Part Two, 15 Jun 2009
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Didn't bother with the last couple of Manics albums but thought I would give this a shot after going back to listening to the Holy Bible in the last few months. This is just like a follow up to that album. Same sounds and lyrics which is great.
Shocking, funny lyrics and very catchy hooks means that I have got this on constant play. Best album I have heard in a long while.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Manics Album Yet, 30 April 2009
I never thought I'd see the day when the Manics made a better opening track than 'Sleepflower'. Straight away 'Peeled Apples' sucks me in - I wanted to know what the next note and word was going to be. Now having heard the song several times the track still has the same effect on me.

When the first track manages to incapsulate you I suppose you have to wonder;- how the next will compare... 'Jackie Collins Existential Question Time' is in many ways a classic Manic Street Preachers song. It's as if 'Autumn Song' gave birth. The two songs sound so similar (particularly the intro's). It's also as beautiful as 'Autumn Song'. The (what I beleive will be) infamous line "Oh mommy what's a Sex Pistol" seems to cling to my memory (as others who have found me singing the line many times will confirm). Every Album from the Manics have had an element of pop and 'Journal For Plague Lovers' is no different in that respect.

'Me And Stephen Hawking' is a song with some very strange lyrics (there is no getting away from that), but musically it's rather different. Somehow the track is very epic but also pretty slow and calm (the chorus will prove this). 'This Joke Sport Severed'. A beautiful song played acoustic with beautiful strings. Although if you prefer songs with more volume I'm sure the second half will be more to your liking.

With most people expecting a dark album reminiscent of 'The Holy Bible', this record so far makes it difficult for me to see where people's expectations came from... Until I read and hear 'She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach'. Initially it seems as if you're in for a medium paced song but before you know it the chords speed up and they launch into the chorus, then James Dean Bradfield does what he's know best for... Magnificent singing.

There's probably no song on this record as beautiful as 'Facing Page: Top Left'. For the second time an acoustic guitar is the choice. I suppose that is quite strange for the Manics and you might expect the fast dynamic of the album to be altered... But its not, this is thanks to the next track; 'Marlon J.D'. You could probably argue that it's just like most other Manics songs, but with a catchy chorus and awesome guitar solo surely 'Marlon J.D' offers something for everyone, not just Manics fans.

Richey James Edwards shows just how great his ability to write astounding poetry can be in 'Doors Closing Slowly'. Some of the verse's ("That shadow is a cross okay. Judgement must willing today. Silence is not sacrifice. Crucifixion is the easy life") make me think how people with mental health problems can often think more cleary then others, maybe thats just my opinion I don't know. Like 'Facing Page: Top Lef' this song is slow but very moving and ends with some tension.

Things are not typical as far as 'All Is Vanity' is concerned. In the verse's of the song the guitar sounds almost identical to an Artic Monkey's song (not that that's bad). Then once again the chorus changes the song dramatically. This is probably one of the best chorus' the Manics have ever made. The song is so unbelievably catchy! For the first (and last) time this album has two tracks that are very similar patched closely together. 'Pretension/Repulsion' is just as vicious as 'Peeled Apples' and 'All Is Vanity'... if not more. Again, the chorus is amazing and very catchy (despite the lyrics being quite complex), and as usual the singing is top notch.

I never thought there would have been any tracks on this release that would sound similar to songs from their 2001 album 'Know Your Enemy'. 'Virginia State Epileptic Colony' quote clearly tells me I thought wrong. The whole song apart from perhaps the pre-chorus sounds like it could have easily been on 'Know Your Enemy'. Still the song is very good and once again the singing is brilliant.

It's been eight years since Nicky Wire has taken on main vocals for a Manics album. 'William's Last Words' shows how Nicky Wire's singing has improved since then. Even though he's still not the best vocalist in the world, his calming voice deffinitely adds something that James Dean Bradfield's voice couldn't. Musically it tends to have the effect of uplifting you although lyrically it's rather difficult. I suppose the lyrics could be interpreted as Richey's suicide note... However you interpret the words you'll probably (surprisingly) like this song. Even though I think 'William's Last Words' is a great song I feel it's badly placed on this album. I personally think that it should have been the bonus track, intead of 'Bag Lady'. I can't understand why they have put what's probably one of the best tracks on the album as a bonus track... Still, 'Bag Lady' is one of the heavier songs on the album. Parts sound very similar to 'Archieves Of Pain' from 'The Holy Bible'. The song will probably be welcomed by the old school fans.

This album portrays anger and aggression but still manages to stay beautiful and eloquent. This is why I couldn't call it a classic Manic Street Preachers record. It's not typical Manics, It's so much better than that... So if you like Everything Must Go or This Is My Truth than this album may not be suited for you.

I personally think The Manic Street Preachers have reaffirmed their youth and found their voice again with this record. It's brilliant and definitely worth the buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richey's lyrics still mean something this long after his disappearance, 17 Sep 2013
By 
R. Goulding (London, England) - See all my reviews
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When I found out that the Manics had released an album of the last of Richey's lyrics I was hopeful that it would be able to reach the heights of The Holy Bible, and while it isn't quite there in terms of emotion and darkness, it certainly is a fantastic album.

Great Manics album, recommend to any fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Shards, oh shards", 2 Jun 2011
After the Manics had gone through a rough patch with the bland rock of the "Send Away The Tigers" album, it was most welcome return to some well written and well crafted (complementing Richey's lyrics perfectly) songs all backed with a wonderful production that gives the tracks a bleak expanse, but at the same time seems to fill the room with sheer power.

On this album it doesn't seem like a day has past since the "Holy Bible". At times James Dean Bradfield gives the "Holy Bible" a run for it's money with his vocals and guitar playing..

My only criticism is the samples over some of the tracks "Marlon JD" and "Virginia State Epileptic Colony" are prime examples of unnecessary noise over great songs. They're hardly Big Audio Dynamite - leave it alone chaps or have it in between songs. "William's Last Words" would have sounded so much sweeter if James had have provided the vocals rather than Nicky's quaky performance.

Aside from some minor criticisms the album is fantastic and frequently gets played. Tracks like "Pretension/Repulsion" (I love how just before the guitar solo it sounds like JDB is loading up a shotgun), "All Is Vanity", "Marlon J.D." attack you with a sledgehammer of great riffs and lyrics.

The whole package is beautifully presented including the Jenny Saville cover. A masterpiece, job done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small scale delight, 21 Oct 2010
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An idea that could have beeen self indulgent or crass, putting music to Richey's hitherto personal notes.
It turns out to be a triumph. For a project like this to be appealing to all fans (of the holy bible/Gold against the soul angry rock AND the poppier mass appeal of A Design for Life and This is my Truth) and to contain the appeal to convert others with Tunes like err..virtually all of them...is a stunning achievement. Worth anyone's hard earned money.
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Journal for Plague Lovers
Journal for Plague Lovers by Manic Street Preachers (Audio CD - 2009)
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