Manic Street Preachers

Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits

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Though the bonus remixes here are possibly more ridiculous here than they are as the bonus disc with the CD release of Manic Street Preachers' Forever Delayed -- after all, there are no videos for them, just the audio, so the 5.1 Surround mix is the only thing to recommend it, which really isn't much, since the remixes are pointless. Still, that's about the only thing to criticize about the DVD release of the Manics' videos, since it has no less than 30 videos, all of the promo clips the group did during their '90s prime, including songs that did not make the CD release of Forever Delayed. Better still, it's sequenced chronologically, giving context not just to the band's music, but their story, which, after all, is key to understanding the band, since their oeuvre breaks down easily to pre- and post-Richey James, when the rhythm guitarist/lyricist/spokesman disappeared in 1995. His disappearance gave the Manics a murmuring undercurrent of tragedy, especially since the group's breakthrough Everything Must Go was an amber-tinted elegy that preserved Richey's memory, portraying him as a sad-eyed, romantic suicide. Viewing their video history proves both how accurate and how wrong that notion is. By watching the videos, it's easy to see Richey change, watching how he thrived on being in a band, until about halfway through Gold Against the Soul, when his eyes suddenly, startlingly go dead, as he checked himself out of life long before he actually disappeared. That is the main reason to watch these videos, especially to those who have never seen them before, because most of the clips are simply straight performance videos without much distinction apart from the occasional director-imposed sense of style, both with Richey (the Traci Lords duet "Little Baby Nothing" remains their best video) or after him (the portentous "A Design for Life" and "Everything Must Go"). Even if the videos, taken on their own terms, are rather generic, this evolution keeps the DVD interesting as a whole. Plus, this has to be praised for its thoroughness, which is enough to make it essential for fans.