The title Resistance Is Futile can be read two ways: it can be seen as a statement of defiance, a claim that no listener can withstand the bombast of Manic Street Preachers, or it can be seen as an admission that there is no reason to put up a fight in these politically charged times. The title and lyrics of "People Give In" -- a song where James Dean Bradfield sings "People get tired, people get old" -- may suggest that the Manics are on the verge of giving up the ghost as they approach middle age, but that's a feint. Resistance Is Futile is clearly the work of a band whose members cherish vitality above all other attributes, but the reason why the Manics remain an ongoing concern after a quarter century is that they never attempt to act like any other age than what they are. Which doesn't mean that the album doesn't deliberately call up ghosts. It's produced by Dave Eringa, who produced their 1993 breakthrough, Gold Against the Soul, and it leans into the anthemic stadium rock of that record, while also conjuring elements of the widescreen AAA rock of 1996's Everything Must Go -- a fusion that suits the Manics well, and is bolstered by a steely synth gilding that recalls alt-rock records of the late '80s. If the music unabashedly co-opts the past, the songs all deal with the present, mixing up the personal and political in equal measure. This seamless blend of aesthetics is also why Resistance Is Futile works musically. First, it comes on strong -- all sharp edges and gleam -- but once the blare fades, the melodies and their accompanying sweetness linger, leaving a lasting impression behind.
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