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  #1  
Old 18-03-2016, 22:45
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15 years since Know Your Enemy



Just saw on ManicsStreetMania twitter that Know Your Enemy was released 15 years ago today on 18th March 2001.

I have written on the album before here and commented on this, as well as this more critical attack on the album.

Without repeating myself, KYE is very much my Manics album. My fandom probably reached its apex here.

The Cuba thing is another discussion for another day - I'm just thinking about the album itself here.

I love everything about the record itself - the artwork, the quality of the booklet, the images of Wire's handwritten lyrics.

Sonically everyone tends to think of the extremes of So Why So Sad or Wattsville Blues and wince, but JDB has some killer guitar work on here. From Found that Soul to riffs of Intravenous Agnostic to the fuzz on the 2nd half of the album it's bare and angular and a fucking great listen. There's also the more acoustic intricacies of Baby Elian or Royal Correspondent.

KYE also has some of my favourite Wire lyrics on here and is hugely under appreciated by the band. As I've commented on the other linked threads above, the 2nd half of the album is a lost sequence of incredible Wire words. I also have a soft spot for the complete pretension of Intravenous on side 1.

I'd love to hear other people's memories of the album or the impressions of newer fans that maybe came after the KYE era.
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Old 18-03-2016, 22:59
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I remember phoning an ex (who was in the car of the bloke she left me for, not even daring to breathe!) asking what she thought of it.
It wasn't as instant as their previous work.
But I still think "So Why So Sad" was one of their better singles. And the whole record is quite satisfying.
I think the limit they put on themselves to not do many takes might have limited the potential of a few songs.
But as a whole, it's really overlooked.
The handwritten lyrics might not have worked. But I love the cover for it.
Was it really all those years ago?
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Old 18-03-2016, 23:45
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I was probably not quite at peak fandom by KYE (for me that was probably 04-07,) but I had followed the band for a good few years at this point. I was a bit of a teeny bopper to be fair, pretty much all over anything they did at the time.

I remember the buzz leading up to the album with that Intravenous Agnostic clip on the website. The whole thing was very cool, and there was a sense that the band were heading back to a bare bones rock album. Obviously it was bare bones in many ways, but not in a 10 rock bangers kind of way.

Of course, it is what it is for a reason and it all forms part of the story of the Manics. Not everything can be perfect, and sometimes going down a different path keeps things interesting. Miss Europa fits on no MSP album ever frankly, but it is bloody brilliant on its own.

Overall, KYE is so bonkers that I can take or leave it depending on my mood. Because of the way it is kinda thrown together, it is a tough listen although moments shine through. I'd love to argue it showed the Manics what they should or shouldn't be, but they then went and made Lifeblood and hated that too.

I think most of us have had a go at a re-tracklist of it to turn it into a listenable album, and I still think Masking Tape, Just a Kid, and Locust Valley should all have been on there. With those, you start to get the semblance of a gritty, but still different rock album. The problem is that it loses its common thread very quickly and that is something that all the other Manics albums have. From that era, the likes of Close My Eyes, Masses, Found that Soul, and others actually knit really well together, so I tend to see it as an opportunity missed, albeit a very interesting one.
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Old 19-03-2016, 03:53
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It marked the first MSP gig I ever went to, at Manc Apollo, with me and my mum wearing matching boas. I had the big poster with all the lyrics on it in my wall for years, and P if .i listen to the album now I'm instantly back when I was 16. It was a great time when the band seemed so ballsy and outspoken and just plain mad. Loved it then, still love it now. A real mix of tunes that just sit so well together and form this strange, twisted stray cat of an album that could easily have been loved or loathed. By me it is loved.
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Old 19-03-2016, 07:23
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I actually think some of wires worst lyrics are in there.

On a lot of songs, especially "side 2" of the record, he very much goes into sub Richey style for me.

Nicks lyrics are more immediate and less cynical than richeys normally and they also have different phrasings whereas here he tried to be Richey for me such as:

"Klaus Kinski with love of Werner Herzog"
Or
"Srebrenica cousin of Treblinka"
And
"And Dante's Inferno slides into dismorphia"
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Old 19-03-2016, 07:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy View Post
I actually think some of wires worst lyrics are in there.

On a lot of songs, especially "side 2" of the record, he very much goes into sub Richey style for me.

Nicks lyrics are more immediate and less cynical than richeys normally and they also have different phrasings whereas here he tried to be Richey for me such as:

"Klaus Kinski with love of Werner Herzog"
Or
"Srebrenica cousin of Treblinka"
And
"And Dante's Inferno slides into dismorphia"
But that's the whole point of them. They are some postmodern Richey parody with Wire consciously trying and wallowing in the failure of it. This was a major manifestation of Wire's post-Richey success guilt.

But it's true - you either love it or hate it.
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Old 19-03-2016, 11:32
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I'll be very simple about my present feelings towards this album.

I simply love it for its experimental-ish artsy approach. I love the diversity of songs, of which for some the band has tried something they never did before. The album also doesn't feel like random songs put up on a randomised playlist, it's various, yet harmonious.
Also, it's one of their most "punk" albums, whether that's a positive or negative thing (positive thing for me, though).
And the songs are quite addictive too.

I do admit, though, back in the day, when I was in the beginning of my puberty (11-12 year old) and swallowing and loving and obsessing over Generation Terrorists, I found So Why So Sad to be rather boring. Later, however, as time went by and as I spontaneously got to have all their albums, for a good part of time in my high school years, Know Your Enemy was one of those I listened to the most.
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Old 19-03-2016, 12:50
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Commercial and critical suicide after the mega-highs of EMG and TIMTTMY but I love this album. I love its flaws and its daring. When it fails, it fails beautifully and they were at least trying to do something unexpected. They could have done a third EMG/TIMTTMY and it would have sold millions but I genuinely really like the big lumbering mess they created instead.

And yes, the cover is utterly wonderful. A new Manics for a new millennium.
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Old 19-03-2016, 13:18
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Has anyone still got the Intraveneous Agnostic .swf teaser file downloaded? Would bring back some great memories
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Old 19-03-2016, 13:25
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Apropos great memories, does anyone else remember the KYE-era Manics website? It had this great flash effect based on the cover where headlines would flicker through every letter in the alphabet before settling on the right one, then on to the next letter, same, until the whole word and sentence was spelt out. It crashed computers like crazy but was a thrilling aesthetic.
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Old 19-03-2016, 13:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Automatik View Post
Apropos great memories, does anyone else remember the KYE-era Manics website? It had this great flash effect based on the cover where headlines would flicker through every letter in the alphabet before settling on the right one, then on to the next letter, same, until the whole word and sentence was spelt out. It crashed computers like crazy but was a thrilling aesthetic.
And the chat room made a wonderful "Dah-rum-dum" sound effect when you entered it!
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Old 19-03-2016, 13:56
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And the chat room made a wonderful "Dah-rum-dum" sound effect when you entered it!
They don't make official sites like that any more.

(Whoever 'they' are.)
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Old 19-03-2016, 14:01
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http://www.officialcharts.com/charts...20010325/7502/

I located KYE on this website of album charts. Pipped to the post by Eva Cassidy, but luckily managed to beat a best of by Bill Joel.
In the middle of the ni-ii-ight I go walking in my dre-e-eams ARGHG!! I'VE SPENT YEARS FORGETTING THAT SONG!! WHY NOW, BRAIN? WHY NOW?!!!
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Old 19-03-2016, 14:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Son of Stopped View Post
http://www.officialcharts.com/charts...20010325/7502/

I located KYE on this website of album charts. Pipped to the post by Eva Cassidy, but luckily managed to beat a best of by Bill Joel.
In the middle of the ni-ii-ight I go walking in my dre-e-eams ARGHG!! I'VE SPENT YEARS FORGETTING THAT SONG!! WHY NOW, BRAIN? WHY NOW?!!!
KYE aside, that Spring was a terrible time for music.
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Old 19-03-2016, 17:09
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KYE was the first era I bought when it was released (depending on which era you count Masses as).

I can remember waiting in the prefects room at school for the first play of So Why So Sad on the radio. I seem to remember being slightly disappointed, yet still excited. This was after all, new Manics.

I can remember rushing to the nearest Woolworths after school to buy the first two singles and the albums on the Monday of release.

I can remember really wanting Miss Europa Disco Dancer to be released as a single so I could watch it performed on CD:UK. I feel like the band of a decade previous probably would have done.

It might not be as universally well regarded as it's predecessors, but Know Your Enemy has a special place near the top of any lists I may make.
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