The two most recent Manic Street Preachers albums, ending one era and beginning another.

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A new Manic Street Preachers album has been released. It’s called Resistance is Futile, and I love it. There’ll be more to say about the album at another time; for the moment, here’s a glorious song (above) and an excerpt from the review at NME:

A Franz von Stillfried-Ratenicz photograph called ‘Samurai Warrior 1881’ adorns the sleeve of the Manics’ 13th album, ‘Resistance Is Futile’. It’s a snapshot of one of the very last warriors of his kind. Much like the record’s title itself, is this a call to arms in the face of the changing tide, or an acceptance of defeat?

“People get tired, people get old – people get forgotten, people get sold,” pines James Dean Bradfield on opener ‘People Give In’, but rather than collapsing under the weight of the sorrow at how “there is no theory of everything”, the band gloriously rise from the ashes – driven by their hardened will just to exist and grow stronger.

This morning over coffee, my thoughts turned to the band’s previous 2014 release, Futurology, and I started thinking about the way certain aspects of your life make perfect sense in an instant, while others take a while. It’s especially relevant to me now, with Pints&union just around the corner (cross your fingers for early July).

In 2014, I turned 54, perhaps a bit late for grand epiphanies, but those were exactly what I received, one after the other, all year long.

We closed the original kitchen at Bank Street Brewhouse. My mother sold the house where I was raised, and she moved to Silvercrest. After four years of continental absence, Diana and I returned to Bamberg and Poperinge, two of my favorite European cities, and we also visited Berlin together for the first time.

The album Futurology by Manic Street Preachers was released in July, 2014. It quickly became my preferred soundtrack for the latter portion of the year, and now, when I listen to a track like “Between the Clock and the Bed,” it reminds me of how hopeful I felt at the time. All the changes coming down weren’t easy, but even then, there was a dawning awareness that they were necessary.

In retrospect, it’s clear to me that the year 2014 was about addressing exhaustion, plotting escape and seeking redemption. Numerous challenges were ahead, and I was gathering the strength needed to take a big leap into the unknown, which is exactly what happened in 2015 and the years since.

If Futurology was the soundtrack to the end of an era, Resistance is Futile is poised to serve the same purpose for the start of a new one. This is the effect music has on my brain, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As an aside, thanks to everyone with whom I chatted last week at the Fest of Ale. It’s humbling and flattering that you’re interested in the forthcoming pub, and I hope to have a more coherent update about all of it very soon. Stay tuned, and thanks again.

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