Sunday, 23 August 2009

Nicky Wire - I Killed the Zeitgeist (2006) + Bonus/Demos

Nicky Wire's solo album I Killed the Zeitgeist isn't an easy one to get into, whether you're a Manic Street Preachers fan or not. It's been variously described as "rough and unfinished, but... utterly alive", "a delicate mix of ragged art punk and romantic poetry", having a "certain eerie charm", and "bloody annoying". Adding to the befuddlement is his list of musical inspirations for the release, which includes Neu, Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and Einsturzende Neubauten (which you'd be hard-pressed to detect anywhere in the tracks), though the mentioned influences of John Cale, Modern Lovers, and Adam Green make more sense, given the spirited, ramshackle vibe throughout.

The haphazard flow of the album and the general consensus that the man's singing voice is "a characterless drone" seem to have caused many to leave this one in the dust, though I think they might be missing the point. It's no surprise that most of the positive sentiments I've heard about this one come from people who are interested in Nicky Wire as a personality and think that he's gorgeous or at least get the decidedly poetic angle of the material here. I Killed the Zeitgeist is a very much celebration of the music that he loves, as nearly all of the track descriptions reference one or more bands, which is occasionally over-the-top ("So Much For the Future = "Tom Waits singing with the Jesus and Mary Chain along to Beethoven's Piano Sonata number 23 in F minor", apparently) and other times weirdly fitting ("Kimono Rock" = "Bay City Rollers meets Libertines"), presented with an almost non-stop wryness of tone and themes. The most heartfelt tracks, "Goodbye Suicide", "You Will Always Be My Home", and definite highlight "Everything Fades" provide a nice contrast with the rest of the album, and are, strangely, where he excels in getting his message across vocally. You'd think that his continued status as a boisterous antagonist ("It's not that I'm trying too 'ard, it's just I'm naturally ****ing intelligent!") would lend itself better to half-ironic vocal stylings! And, well, maybe it his cute way. Ahem...

Overall, it's a strange album, though certainly with more enjoyable, fun moments, and unexpected sentimentality than most listeners have given it credit for.

I Killed the Zeitgeist+ Non-Album Bonus/Demos

Now for a peculiar live rendition of "Sehnsucht":

And a brief plug of my own Manicsy endeavors:
VISIONBLURRED: Manic Street Preachers + The Horrors Link Directory
AFIN Tear-Worthy Tribute Video to Richey / Nicky, the product of marathon-listening to all the band's albums in a weekend

1 comment:

This Charmless Man said...

The link doesn't work anymore.. could you please please please re-upload it? Stay beautiful x