100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #13 Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Released : 1998

Unless you were Oasis, Britpop’s cultural tsunami ended up provoking equal and opposite reactions – Ok Computer, Blur, This is Hardcore – that marked a very conscious uncoupling from it by the key protagonists.

One of the most unlikely beneficiaries of it’s rise to populism had been the Manic Street Preachers, whose part requiem to their lost band mate Richie Edwards Everything Must Go had unexpectedly opened them up to massive new congregations. Whilst it was always going to be impossible to politicise shouting lager, lager, lager, new lyricist-in-residence Nicky Wire was astute enough to understand that Trojan horses didn’t just come made out of wood.

The apex of this new fundamentalism was a song which took a Spanish Civil War rallying call of the International Brigade and included the line “So if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”. Far from being musclebound though If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next was an inculcating ballad, a pacifist weapon that had arm linking arena crowds screaming joyfully about loneliness and resignation. Inevitably, not everyone understood – the extremist BNP had to be legally restrained from using it on their odious propaganda – but if the era that preceded it was to have a definitive end point, then this was surely it.

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