Blimey. Running through all the possibilities for ‘Best Manics Track’ is a bit like having a life time’s worth of Christmas dinners at once. Across a catalogue both grandiose and ebullient, pretty much every track is like ‘Anthem O’Clock’.
Nicky Wire told us that the creative tension between his “rampant commercialism” and his bandmates’ “artistic desires” were the coals in the engine of the singles, and that mix of the soaring and searching has tied together their best 7″‘s.
Here we present our pick of their 10 best tracks.
10) ‘Kevin Carter’
This was the place where Wire-riffing met a Burt Bacharach-styled trumpet solo. A wonderful, symphonic etching of sound around the tale of the photographer.
9) ‘La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)’
The band may have gotten into their stadium rock strut with ‘Gold Against The Soul’ but this single was very much true to their lyrical, high-art roots.
8) ‘A Design For Life’
Goosebump inducing, and not just for the obvious reasons but in the way it sweeps you up on its magic carpet of generation-long class buffering, majestic strings and descending counter-melody in the chorus.
7) ‘From Despair To Where’
The lyrics tells of a terminal aloneness, a perfect encapsulation of teenage angst. But what made it brilliant was the way this was juxtaposed (and propelled by) an ascending, climbing-to-the-sun riff.
6) ‘You Love Us’
A high watermark of ‘fuck you, it’s rock and roll’, ‘You Love Us’ captures a world of innocence, endless possibilities, a black leather jacket of rebellious intent. It’s glorious.
5) ‘Theme From MASH (Suicide Is Painless)’
Yes it’s a cover, but it’s also an example of a band making a song by someone else entirely their own. And the lyrics stung with a brutal honesty rarely seen.
4) ‘Little Baby Nothing’
Whether it was Kylie or Traci Lords who was playing ‘Baby’ it didn’t really matter, ‘Little Baby Nothing’ was a perfect snapshot of innocence bodysnatched and twisted. And the fact the music sounded like it was written by Phil Spector didn’t hurt either.
3) ‘Motown Junk’
Few tracks after this would be as thrilling and visceral. Also contains possibly one of most satisfying ‘Woo-hoo”s in rock.
A riff that gut punches across every line that James spits out. As statements of intent it doesn’t get more inspiring and focused than this.
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Although Nicky Wire calls it “bizarre,” there’s nothing we can fault this single from ‘The Holy Bible’. The dizzying, discombobulated riff, the insane, stream of consciousness history lesson lyrics and James’ attitude filled delivery. What’s not to love?
OK, so we’ve clearly left quite a lot out. What do you think should be in their Top 10?