Futurology (album)

Manic Street Preacers Futurology.jpg
Studio album by
Released 7 July 2014
Length 47:05
Label Columbia
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Alex Silva
  • Loz Williams
Manic Street Preachers chronology
Rewind the Film
Resistance Is Futile
Singles from Futurology
  1. "Walk Me to the Bridge"
    Released: 28 April 2014
  2. "Futurology"
    Released: 22 September 2014

Futurology is the twelfth studio album by Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 7 July 2014, through record label Columbia. The album features collaborations with Green Gartside, Nina Hoss, Georgia Ruth, Cian Ciaran and Cate Le Bon.

Supported by two singles, "Walk Me to the Bridge" and the title track "Futurology", Futurology received acclaim from music critics, and was their highest charting album since Send Away the Tigers, peaking and debuting at No. 2 on the UK Album Chart.

Writing and recording

Futurology was the Manics' second new album to be released in the space of a year, having been recorded alongside 2013's Rewind the Film, an album described by the group as being "gentle and delicate" in contrast to the icy, multi-layered and angular Futurology.[1] The album was recorded in Germany with Alex Silva, with whom the band worked on The Holy Bible in 1994, and at Faster Studios, Wales. The album was described to be inspired by modern art and the sense of motion that the band experienced touring the heart of Europe in 2011 in support of National Treasures – The Complete Singles.[2]

About the European inspiration that took over the band in the new record, singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield stated that: "We started touring mainland Europe in late '91 so obviously we've seen Belfast change in front of our eyes, we've seen Berlin change unbelievably and parts of Belgium… every city in Britain we've seen change. I'd never been abroad before I was in a band, actually, I'd been abroad once, I'd been to Bristol."[3]

Bradfield also tackled the subject of the many guest that have appeared on the last two Manic Street Preachers records, Rewind the Film and Futurology: "I'm 12 albums in - I know my voice can only do certain things, and if I can't take other people singing on the track then I really have got a Napoleon complex. I'm short enough to have one…".[3]

Two songs from Futurology - "Europa Geht Durch Mich" and title track "Futurology" - were debuted on the first night of the 2014 UK Tour, at the First Direct Arena on 28 March 2014.[4] A third one, "Let's Go to War", was first heard at the Brixton Academy, and described by bassist Nicky Wire as a "nice marching song".[5] The track "Walk Me to the Bridge", and its accompanying music video, was released on 28 April 2014.[6] In May 2014, the band released the video for "Europa Geht Durch Mich". The second single from the album, "Futurology", was released 22 September 2014.

The band themselves have stated that this album was very important for celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal album The Holy Bible because the band said that after releasing two critically acclaimed albums they now think it was the right time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album.[7]

In an interview with Gigwise when asked what influence The Holy Bible had on Futurology, frontman and singer James Dean Bradfield replied: "That we could still trade in a language that is still exclusively ours, that we could still want to write songs that other people are just never going to go near. I just don't think that anyone else would go near that subject matter. We never laid claim to being the most 'original' band, but I think we're unique in that sense."[7]

The Manic Street Preachers have also said that this album is the opposite of last year's Rewind the Film; Futurology, according to the band, is an album full of ideas and one of their most optimistic yet, as Wire said to the NME magazine in an interview: "There's an overriding concept behind Futurology which is to express all the inspiration we get from travel, music and art – all those ideas, do that in a positive way. Rewind the Film was a harrowing 45-year-old looking in the mirror, lyrically. Futurology was very much an album of ideas. It's one of our most optimistic records, the idea that any kind of art can transport you to a different universe."[8]

The tunes "Black Square" and "Mayakovsky" refers to Black Square (painting) and Vladimir Mayakovsky respectively, and were inspired by the pre-revolution avantgarde / futuristic art community in Imperial Russia. The tune "Between The Clock And The Bed" was inspired by the self-portrait Between the Clock and the Bed by Edvard Munch.[9]


Futurology was released on 7 July 2014.[10] It was released in standard and deluxe versions and also on vinyl.

The standard edition contains all the thirteen tracks of the album, while the deluxe version contains all the demos from thirteen songs from the record, plus three new tracks: "Blistered Mirrors", "Empty Motorcade" and "The Last Time I Saw Paris", which most of the lyrics are in French. In Japan the band released bonus tracks, which includes "Antisocialmanifesto" and "Kodawari", live versions from the O2 Arena performance were also available, "Ocean Spray" and "You Love Us" were the two songs featured on the Japanese version.[10]

Futurology entered the Official Record Store Chart at number 1, outselling Ed Sheeran's x,[11] and the official UK Album Chart at number 2, the highest new entry on the chart, selling approximately 20,000 copies in its first week.[12]

The album remained in the Top 40 in the UK for 3 weeks, something that Rewind the Film didn't manage to do. The album reached number 8 in Ireland and also charted within the Top 40 in Finland, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Denmark and Japan. The album peaked and debuted at number 18 on the European Charts, for sales all over Europe, the album sold above 30.000 copies in the European mainland in the first week. Since it has been release the album has sold more than 50.000 copies in the UK.[13]

The band promoted the album with a tour around the UK and Europe from March to May 2014, they also made appearances in festivals like T in the Park in Scotland and Glastonbury Festival in the summer.


Two singles were released from the album: "Walk Me to the Bridge" was the first released on 28 April, it leaked prior to its release. The subject of the lyrics were questioned whether they were about the former band member Richey or not, but Wire said that he wrote the song at a critical time, when he was tired of being in the band, and he wrote the lyrics thinking of that subject.[14]

The title track, "Futurology", was the second and final single released from the album on 22 September. The video debuted on YouTube on 10 August. The video was directed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts winner Kieran Evans, who worked with the band on videos from their previous effort Rewind the Film.

Musical style

Futurology has been described under genres such as alternative rock,[15] post-punk, dance-rock,[16] new wave[17] and krautrock.[18] Nicky Wire described the sound of the album as "post-punk disco-rock".[16] Canadian music publication Exclaim! proclaimed Futurology's style a "radical vision",[19] which encompassed a great collection of styles including the "Krautrock banger" "The Next Jet to Leave Moscow" and the "prog odyssey" "Mayakovsky".[19]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 83/100[20]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [1]
Clash 8/10[21]
Gigwise 9/10[22]
The Guardian [23]
The Independent [24]
Mojo [25]
NME 8/10[2]
PopMatters 8/10[26]
The Telegraph [27]
Q [28]

Upon its release, Futurology received critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 83 out of 100, based on 19 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". By fans, the album was also well received, with 17 user ratings, the album achieved a user score of 7.7/10.[20]

AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote: "They're more infatuated with Neu! and Kraftwerk or Public Image Ltd, but these jagged, difficult sounds are filtered through the trio's now instinctual arena-filling gestures and that tension is what gives Futurology a resonant richness."[1] Gareth James of Clash magazine described the album as "Manics doing what they do best, with added krautrock, Georgia Ruth and Green Gartside."[21]

Andrew Trendell of Gigwise wrote: "As a record that embraces the constant sense of movement and progress throughout Europe, it establishes the band themselves as artists in constant revolution."[7] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian stated: "Futurology never feels like a pastiche, and sounds unmistakably like the Manic Street Preachers while sounding unlike any other album they've made."[23]

The Independent critic Kevin Harley commented that "Elsewhere, the Manics' band identity proves robust enough to withstand the tweaking."[24] Ben Hewitt of NME stated that "the Manics prove they are still the enemies of greed, conformity and corruption."[2] The Telegraph declared: "...the dark pulse of that krautrock influence gives the songs a steely sleekness of purpose (and real cohesion), while the band layer a vigorous variety of sounds and tempos on top to keep things interesting."[27] PopMatters associate music editor John Garratt wrote that the album "can just about stand toe-to-toe with any of their past albums."[26]

Writing for The Quietus, Simon Price described the album as "bona fide, solid-as-granite masterpiece", stating: "Futurology is more than just that version of the Manics, and one of those albums."[29]

Sputnikmusic staff reviewer Joseph Viney stated that the album "wraps up the ideals of what has come before it, mixed it with their present experience and forged ahead with songs that demonstrate a group with a lot more life in them yet."[30]

MusicOMH awarded the album four out of five stars, saying that "[...] Futurology is full of glam-pop hits that demonstrate the Preachers' ability to write good songs with a distinct sense of Britishness", finishing with: "Futurology is a welcome return by Manic Street Preachers to the forefront of pop, featuring no lack of technical prowess or instrumental capabilities. Every track is quite full of life and holds no lack of energy that characterizes good, classic British rock 'n' roll. Despite past hardship, the future continues to be bright for these modern legends."[31]


Futurology was a critical and commercial success, the album was presented with very positive reviews from music critics around the world and was well received by the fans. In the end of the year lists, the album achieved the following accolades:

  • NME magazine stated that Futurology was the 41st best album of 2014.[32]
  • NME magazine also choose the title track "Futurology" as one of the best tracks of 2014.[33]
  • The Telegraph placed the album in number 38 in their list of 50 best albums of 2014.[34]
  • Mojo placed Futurology in number 20 in their 50 best albums of 2014.[35]
  • XFM placed the album in number 11 in their end of the year list.[36]
  • The Quietus placed Futurology in number 8 on their end of the year list for 2014.[37]
  • Q placed the album in number 4 on their list of 50 best albums of 2014.[38]

Reflecting on the album XFM stated that Futurology was very different from their last year's effort: "After the acoustic experimentation of Rewind the Film, here's classic rabble rousing Manics, with massive choruses",[36] while Q said that the album was "Exhilaratingly dense with new sounds" and it had " deas and conflicting emotions..."[38] On the other hand, talking about the title track, NME stated that: "The title track serves as a manifesto for all that follows: a declaration of positivity to tee-up the rest of the LP and a reminder that right can trump wrong in the end. There's a bubbling urgency and vibrancy and vitality here that was lacking from Rewind the Film, and a chorus that's a mantra for belief in a greater good."[33]

Track listing



Charts (2014) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[39] 2
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[40] 57
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[41] 22
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[42] 35
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[43] 42
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[44] 17
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[45] 33
Greek Albums (IFPI)[46] 30
Irish Albums (IRMA)[47] 8
Italian Albums (FIMI)[48] 96
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[49] 36
Scottish Albums (OCC)[50] 5
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[51] 50
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[52] 51

European Charts

Year Chart Position
2014 European Albums Chart 18


  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Futurology - Manic Street Preachers". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Hewitt, Ben (2 July 2014). "Manic Street Preachers - 'Futurology'". NME. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b "James Dean Bradfield on the Manic Street Preachers' new album". Archived from the original on 18 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Manic Street Preachers debut two new songs as UK tour begins - watch". NME. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Manic Street Preachers debut new song "Let's Go to War" at Brixton gig – watch". Uncut. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Manic Street Preachers announce new album 'Futurology'". NME. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire: Futurology' is one of our most optimistic records'". NME.
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  10. ^ a b "Futurology (Deluxe Version)". itunes.apple.com. Apple. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Manic Street Preachers at number one on UK Record Store Chart".
  12. ^ "Manic Street Preachers - Official Single Charts". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  13. ^ "We feel really great about the new record': Nicky Wire talks all things Manic Street Preachers".
  14. ^ Trendell, Andrew (28 April 2014). "Manic Street Preachers unveil new video, announce Futurology details". Gigwise. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Futurology Review". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Renowned for Sound - Album Review: Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". Renowned for Sound. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  17. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej. "Album Review: Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". DrownedInSound. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  19. ^ a b Lindsay, Cam (24 May 2016). "An Essential Guide to Manic Street Preachers". Exclaim Canada. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Futurology - Manic Street Preachers". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  21. ^ a b James, Gareth (26 June 2014). "Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". Clash. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  22. ^ Trendell, Andrew (25 May 2014). "Track by track:Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". Gigwise. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Manic Street Preachers: Futurology review – startlingly fresh and different". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  24. ^ a b Harley, Harley (7 July 2014). "Manic Street Preachers, Futurology, album review". The Independent. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  25. ^ Gilbert, Pat, MOJO. July 2014 issue. New Albums. Germanic Makeover. The Manics confront a radical retro future. P.87
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  27. ^ a b Brown, Ellen (8 July 2014). "Manic Street Preachers, Futurology, review: 'energetic'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  28. ^ Lynskey, Dorian, Q. July 2014 issue. New Album Reviews. Germanic Makeover. A new career in a new town. P.113
  29. ^ "A Masterpiece: Simon Price On Manic Street Preachers' Futurology". the quietus.
  30. ^ Viney, Joseph (19 July 2014). "Review: Manic Street Preachers - Futurology". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  31. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". MusicOMH.
  32. ^ "NME's Top 50 Albums Of 2014". NME.
  33. ^ a b "NME's Top 50 Tracks Of 2014". NME.
  34. ^ "The Telegraph's Best 50 Albums of 2014". The Telegraph.
  35. ^ "MOJO's Top 50 Albums of 2014". Mojo.
  36. ^ a b "XFM'S 50 BEST ALBUMS OF 2014". XFM. Archived from the original on 30 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  37. ^ "Quietus Albums Of The Year 2014 (In Association With Norman Records)". The Quietus.
  38. ^ a b "Q's Top 50 Albums Of 2014". Q. Archived from the original on 28 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  39. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  40. ^ "Ultratop.be – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  41. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select {{{date}}} on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data.
  42. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". Hung Medien.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  44. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: Futurology" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  45. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  46. ^ "Greekcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". Hung Medien.
  47. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week {{{week}}}, {{{year}}}". Chart-Track. IRMA.
  48. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". Hung Medien.
  49. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon.
  50. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  51. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". Hung Medien.
  52. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology". Hung Medien.

External links