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    Yep Mekon Headman is a great song. Hope it stays in the set for King Tut's on Monday
    There's quite a lot I personally agree with said by others. It's hard to come up with a strict order but in response to whoever asked this is my personal option about what are the better & less good Wire albums.

    I'm using a dreadful football analogy, not that I'm at all interested in football:)

    PREMIER LEAGUE (in order of release)
    Chairs Missing, 154, Send, R&B 03, RBT, CBU, WIRE

    FIRST DIVISION (in order of release)
    Pink Flag, Ideal Copy, A Bell Is a Cup, Obj 47

    IBTABA, The Drill, Manscape (in order of release)

    Hard to place - The First Letter, in some ways it's not really a Wire album - I know that might seem weird to some coming from someone who is happy promote albums made without Bruce way above some that were made with him but it's just how it strikes me. I see Rob as the most essential Wire member in many ways. Having said that "Ticking Mouth" is brilliant.

    I certainly think there has been merit in every Wire release (even Manscape!) I certainly don't think my opinion is more valid than anyone else's and like everyone else's it changes over time. Yeah I know R&B 03 isn't an album but one thing we agree on as a band is that it didn't get the attention it deserves.
    • CommentAuthorjw says...
    • (CommentTimeApr 25th 2015)
    I've always thought Manscape and The First Letter were Wire albums - of course they have the ghost of the missing 'E', and Robert, but they are also notable like Drill and IBTABA for having 5th person production/input.

    Might be an idea, sometime, to dig out the demos of Manscape. There are some great songs on there.

    The First Letter is notable not only for 'Ticking Mouth' but 'Footsie Footsie' and 'A Bargain...'. Also - "Killer Bees' never got released, I believe it was a proposed 12" version of 'A Big Glue Canal'.

    When Wir played support to Blur at the Kilburn National - this is quite something that should be an archive release! (It was filmed by a German TV company, whatever happened to that?).

    Otherwise, putting Wire albums into order is not much different from putting Pink Floyd albums into order, or come to that, to say Macbeth is better than Hamlet, because I would have cut out that scene with the skull and done away with the sub-plots...
    Er, it may have been me who asked for an album list from the members of Wire, Colin.

    I didn't really expect one but I think your analysis seems to chime with a lot of the fans' viewpoints.

    Even though you are on the 'inside' (and wrote most of it!!) the passage of time probably means you can now look back on these records with a dispassionate eye.

    And it's great to see Read and Burn 03 highly regarded in Wire circles. It's a fine four-track album (yes, we can call it an album as it clocks in at only a few minutes shy of most early Beatles albums and it got a review in the Sunday Times Culture section).

    But I'd definitely elevate A Bell... to the Premier League (the equivalent of an under-rated team like Southampton).

    Oh and Ticking Mouth is one of the great moments on The First Letter.

    Bring on King Tut's on Monday...
    Was Killer Bees the same mix of Big Glue Canal that ended up on the Italian Mute Sampler CD? R & B 03 - "Desert Diving" for me is one of the greatest tracks in the entire catalogue.

    Colin - I see you've put RBT in your Premier League - but I was very surprised to see that there were no tracks played from it during the Lexington shows - the only other albums missed were "Manscape" and "The First Letter" (both to be expected).
    I thought it was a decent list and to call the writer a fuckwit because he has a different opinion seems harsh in the extreme.

    I'm not sure IBTABA should be classed a 'proper' Wire album, but I've always been a fan of it myself.
    I think combining the 3 phases of Wire (1970s, 1980s and 2000s and beyond) into one entity to be ranked in order from best to worst is impractical. How can one compare an album from 1977 to one from 2015, especially considering some of the personnel changes, and even more importantly, the feel of those albums based on the time-frames in which they were released? Therefore, I broke down my ranking into 3 separate categories. I didn't include their latest, Wire, because I haven't lived with it long enough to know where to place it. Actually, I wonder why I'm even doing this because I change my mind all the time about which Wire albums are best. My favorite one tends to be whichever one I'm currently listening to. Finally, I would like to point out I pretty much like all the 2000s and beyond equally, so the listing of those is kind of arbitrary.

    2. DOCUMENT & EYEWITNESS (I know, I know, not everyone's cup of tea, but that album to me is utterly unique and a point-blank miracle.)
    3. 154
    4. PINK FLAG (Yes, it's supposedly seminal to many folks, but of the 4 from the 70s, better things were yet to come.)

    1. THE FIRST LETTER (I know Rob's not there and that's to the album's detriment, but he really wasn't playing much of anything other than fiddling with drum machines in the 80s. To my ears, it was the closest to the Wire sound from that entire time period.)
    2. THE IDEAL COPY (Not everyone's favorite I know, but being a big Dome fan, this one had a lot of that experimental nature about it that I really find appealing.)
    3. MANSCAPE (Probably despised by most, but it could have been significantly better if it weren't so screwed with on the mixing board. I base that on the fact that when hearing some of those songs live, they were among the best of the 80s.)
    5. DRILL
    6. IBTABA

    2000s and beyond (Just a reminder, I really like them all pretty much equally so this listing is really arbitrary. Also, I think of this latest phase of Wire to be by far their best, while the 1980s was their nadir overall.)
    1. SEND
    3. OBJECT 47 (in tandem with R&B 3)
    Well Keith try & see it from the band's point of view. We work hard to produce new albums of value which are then classified as being less good than an album Mute initially thought too uncommercial for release (IBTABA - until the "singles" were added). In that circumstance why would we bother? If we have no hope of bettering a lacklustre 80's album let alone one of our 70's album we might as well just retire and leave you all in peace! I'm serious. Are we, in his and your opinion just deluded old gits who don't know how rubbish our new material is??
    "Are we, in his and your opinion just deluded old gits who don't know how rubbish our new material is??"

    No, not at all. But I guess one of the downsides of producing such excellent work early on in a career is that you're forever going to be judged by it. Chairs Missing, for example, is one of my all time favourite LP's and has been for many, many years and there's not going to be too many albums that are going to be released in the future by anyone (and not just yourselves) that I am ever going to love more than that. And I guess it's a human tendency to get precious about things we've loved a long time. Sorry! ;)

    But none of this means that I don't rate the newer material. Send, the R&B ep's, and Red Barked Tree in particular are big favourites of mine and although it's obviously early days I'm loving the new album. But then I love the 'lacklustre' IBTABA so what do I know! ;)
    worst to best, ill have to group them together on some.

    1. the drill - even though i love this album it never gave me that amazing "wire" feel. (except maybe a few times)

    2.change becomes us. a lot will disagree w/ me here but i dont like the mixing. but most of all, the order. i honestly hate the order. i had to make my own order to actually like it. and now that i have i do love it, but it still sits a little low.

    3. manscape, itaba, a bell is a cup. i love manscape, but not enough to rank it higher. it was my fav. wire album for a while at one point, but even though is great, other wire albums are better. itaba - i just dont like any of the reworked tracks any better. worse in fact. however some tracks on it are really wonderful. a bell is a cup has some of the best wire tunes on it, but it all sounds to toyish at points for me.

    4. object 47 has some amazing tunes on it yet its just not an album i return to regularly.

    5. red barked trees one of the greats, but it drags a bit when listened to in order. i dont think lease take should have been the first song. it sets the wrong tone for the rest of the album. and is still a little unsure at some points but it has some of the best wire tunes on it such as - now was, please take, adapt,moreover, a flat tent, smash

    6. send.

    7. r&b 1, r&b 2

    8. the ideal copy, chairs missing, pink flag, 154, document & eyewitness. Fuckin amazing albums. can return to over and over. have also memorized every single lyric in these albums. great for belting out on my long 2 hour walk home from school! i get a lot of weird looks, but its all good!

    9. WIRE. at the moment its my favorite. its just wonderful and modern and chill and ferocious. its also the first wire album i can play straight through with other people around and they dont seem to mind too much! yay!

    final thought- i have never met a true die hard wire fan in my life. i am going off to art college next year and one of my hopes is to meet one! i would melt!
    Re IBTABA - IMHO Colin took that idea and improved on it with "Recycling Sherwood Forest" - I much prefer that to IBTABA any day.
    I also have a huge fondness for the Wir/Hafler Trio collaboration on the 12" - "The First Last Number"/"The Last Last Number". As this is still incredibly without a digital release (someone out there please make it so) in August 2011 I digitised the record to have it on the old laptop, which turned out to be a quite frightening experience - at the time I had this record on headphones - live and muted on the TV was coverage of the riots in Clapham and Croydon - the combined effect was startling.

    Talking of downloads - there used to be selected free downloads available on here - like 3rd Millenium Girl - where are they?
    I was listening to that Wir3O in repeat just this morning. I kike in particular the second side. I also like Vien, which for some reason rarely gets mentioned or included in lists.

    Anyway while we're at it, my list "by league" (all in order of release, but 154 is No. 1 for me):

    Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, 154, Send / PF456, R&B 03, RBT, CBU, WIRE

    The Ideal Copy, A Bell Is a Cup, The First Letter, Vien, Object 47

    IBTABA, The Drill, Manscape
    "Talking of downloads - there used to be selected free downloads available on here - like 3rd Millenium Girl - where are they?"

    We're redoing bits of the site, slowly but surely. Audio's being offloaded to other services where it can be dealt with more effectively (Soundcloud, in the first instance) and the galleries may also move to Flickr or somewhere similar, if we can figure out how to do a proper Wire group with relevant permissions, etc. There are also plans to make the site somewhat mobile-savvy, finally. The ultimate aim is to make things simpler to update. (We also added a Live tab, for quicker access to gig listings.)

    Note that if anyone desperately wants the MP3s, I didn't get round to removing the files yet. I'll temporarily put back the Listen page so you can more easily access them, but grab them fast.
    hahah I sincerely cannot say one album that I like less.... for some time, I thought Manscape was the less appealing Wire album and spents many years without listening to it... then, not long ago, I gave it a new opportunity and realized it's much better than what I thought.
    154 is a real masterpiece and one of my favorite albums ever, and the First letter is also amazing. I can say they are the best for me, but honestly I cannot say which one I like less of the rest.
    I've still got the new album on repeat. I was a bit baffled by In Manchester when i heard it live a while back but I'm really into it now, I played it on Community Radio the other day and it sounded great on the radio. I think overall it's edging ahead of RBT as my favourite post-2000 album.

    I wonder what will become of the rest of the songs recorded during the sessions for "Wire"? R&B4 maybe?
    My opinion for what it is worth.

    “Wire” is a very strong album and I’m happy to listen it start to finish – I think the slightly weaker tracks are those previewed – “Joust & Jostle” and “Split Your Ends”. It is very pop and certain tracks give the nod to “154” and “Ideal Copy” and perhaps even “A-Z” but it does sound contemporary rather than a nostalgic throwback. It’s quite trick to pull of that is sounds fresh yet integrated with the back catalogue.

    Ranking the albums 16 to 1 really depends where you are coming from age wise in my view. I do have “Pink Flag”, “Chairs Missing”, “154” and they are very good but as I was not old enough at the time I don’t have the emotional connection with them. Top tier albums though.

    Eighties/nineties Wire. Top tier – Ideal Copy with Snakedrill second tier without. Second tier – A Bell Is A Cup, IBTABA. For all the talk of production discontent on the board I’m ok with these albums – I don’t find it excessively 1980s or dated – I played Ideal Copy yesterday and really enjoyed it. Third tier - Manscape – first Wire album I bought, even this has strong tracks in part, but it is the only Wire album in my view that sounds of its time. The Drill – love Drill itself and the live versions and perhaps Did you Dugga but is for the dedicated only.

    21st century Wire has been very exciting as I’ve experienced it live as the albums have been released. Playing the old stuff at the start certainly got me more into the back catalogue. But then the marked difference of the “Send” era was astonishing in its speed, attitude and execution – first tier album and the pinnacle.

    While I enjoyed the concerts around “Object 47” that album hasn’t been a consistent repeat player but a couple of great tracks - nice to hear “Mekon Headman” last week on tour – bring back “All Fours” next please. A second tier album when considered with R&B 03, otherwise third tier album.

    The back 7 tracks of “Red Barked Tree” and the first 7 of “Change Becomes Us” are in my opinion worthy of comparison with any Wire album but I find the other tracks a little average. So both of those are in my second tier – they get a regular play.

    In conclusion “Wire” can probably be said to be strongest album since “Send” given that start to finish it has strength, pace and consistency and overall a top 6 album for me.

    I’ll also confess that for my wedding in 2011 the table names at the reception were named after Wire albums – 99% of the guests had no inkling of Wire were quite bemused. I sat at “Pink Flag” for conventionality but on reflection I should have sat at “Send”.
    I expect "Chairs Missing" caused the most consternation on the Big Day
    “Wire” is a very strong album and I’m happy to listen it start to finish – I think the slightly weaker tracks are those previewed – “Joust & Jostle” and “Split Your Ends”.

    Interesting that you say this: Some guy in Greece added drums, from the Cure, to Split Your Ends.

    If you google youtube Split Your Ends "rude boy edit" you can check it out. It doesn't sound half bad. Not sure I like the idea of altering someone's work.
    I played through a chunk of my mammoth Wire playlists in iTunes the other day, and it was quite interesting going through the 80s stuff again. IBTABA was better than I recalled; Bell was always a favourite, but THOSE SNARE DRUMS. Argh. I'd happily pay good money for a version of that stripped of that track and with Rob doing the drums properly. (Happily, thanks to the bootleg series, I now have live takes on those first three Mute albums though.)

    "I expect 'Chairs Missing' caused the most consternation on the Big Day"

    Heh. :D