Song Stories: Manic Street Preachers on the ‘instant classic’, ‘International Blue’

"A classic Manics first single"

A highlight and launchpad for their acclaimed acclaimed 13th album ‘Resistance Is Futile‘, ‘International Blue’ feels like a ready-made greatest hit for a band with too many to mention. Watch the video above as Manic Street Preachers tell us the story behind the huge single.

As triumphant as it sounds today, it was a song that bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire thought would never come to be – but frontman James Dean Bradfield was convinced it contained the potential ‘magic flying around that hadn’t been caught yet’

“I did one version straight away that sounded like ‘Boys Of Summer’ by Don Henley,” Bradfield tells NME. “That bit the dust, but I was convinced that it was just going to happen.”

Then inspiration struck, and he came up with the stadium anthem that you hear today – a slab of guitar hero mastery with a touch of Kraftwerk and Bowie.


Bradfield continued: “I became obsessed with it being a Mid-West driving song where you could see the heat haze in the distance, because the lyric conveyed a sense of freedom to me. But obviously the reference point to Yves Klein is so European that I just wanted to add that slightly European vibe to it too.”

Manic Street Preachers have unveiled their new video 'International Blue'
Manic Street Preachers have unveiled their new video ‘International Blue’

Then of course, there’s the bold and opulent music video – a tribute to the track’s lyrical inspiration, French artist Yves Klein.

“Because the song was originally conceived in Nice and it’s such an amazing place to film, I really wanted to get the blue of Mediterranean and the bluest of Mediterranean skies,” Wire continued. “You’ve got Yves Klein place there too. I just said ‘can we updated Motorcycle Emptiness’, and then with Kieran’s [Evans, director and collaborator] amazing visual skills and the way he weaved the narrative into it, I think it’s one of our best videos.

“Then all of a sudden you’re all over the radio and the video is everywhere, it just felt like a classic Manics first single.”