New Books Network

Stephen Lee Naish

Riffs & Meaning

Manic Street Preachers and Know Your Enemy

Headpress 2018

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network September 11, 2018 Kimberly Mack

In Riffs & Meaning: Manic Street Preachers and Know Your Enemy (Headpress, 2018), Stephen Lee Naish tells the story of Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers’ 2001...

In Riffs & Meaning: Manic Street Preachers and Know Your Enemy (Headpress, 2018), Stephen Lee Naish tells the story of Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers’ 2001 album Know Your Enemy. The record’s engagement with diverse and unexpected musical influences, as well as its mixed reception by critics and fans alike, inspired Naish to uncover the ways in which the album’s subversion of expectations ultimately benefitted the work, allowing for a reconsideration if its impact. Riffs & Meaning contains musical histories of the band, including their launch of Know Your Enemy at a concert in Havana, Cuba; track-by-track analyses of the studio version of Know Your Enemy, along with the B-sides; interviews with fans about their feelings towards the record; and a discussion of the ways in which this release informed the band’s future musical directions.


Kimberly Mack holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, and she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Her book, Fade to Black: Blues Music and the Art of Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White, is under contract with the University of Massachusetts Press. She is also a music journalist who has written articles and reviews for national and international publications, including Music Connection, Village Voice, Relix, PopMatters, and Hot Press.