40 Essential Manic Street Preachers Tracks

The Welsh heroes have had tonnes of hits – but which are the best?

40 ‘There By The Grace Of God’ (2002)

Nicky Wire: “Grey. Dour. And a mistake because we had a track called ‘Forever Delayed’ which would have been an amazing single.”

39 ‘Revol’ (1994)


Nicky Wire: “Bizarre, utter mess. Great lyric but bad song.”

38 ‘She Is Suffering’ (1994)

Nicky Wire: “Puppets, rag dolls, the worst video we ever did. But I did say to James ‘This could be our ‘Every Breath You Take’.”

37 ‘So Why So Sad’ (2001)

James Dean Bradfield: “The Christmas single we never had. The Avalanches remix should’ve been the single.”

36 ‘Empty Souls’ (2005)


Sean Moore: “It’s a nice shiny sparkly, lovely video. But that was it really.”

34 ‘Strip It Down’ (1990)

Nicky Wire: “Clash rip-off. Live it’s brilliant.”

33 ‘Autumnsong’ (2007)

James Dean Bradfield: “‘Autumnsong’ is the women’s workout song for the noughties.”

32 ‘Life Becoming A Landslide’ (1994)

James Dean Bradfield: “I was trying to mix Iron Maiden and The Clash’s version of ‘Armagideon Time’.”

31 ‘Slash ’N’ Burn’ (1992)

James Dean Bradfield: “Sean didn’t like it because I sang ‘decadence’ too Welsh.”

30 ‘The Everlasting’ (1998)

Nicky Wire: “The title just about sums that song up.”

29 ‘From Despair To Where’ (1993)

James Dean Bradfield: “Martin our manager said it would be our first international Number One, like ‘Maggie May’ for Rod Stewart.”

28 ‘This Is The Day’ (2011)

Nicky Wire: “We’re really happy with it, but time hasn’t quite settled in yet.”

27 ‘Theme From M.A.S.H. (Suicide Is Painless)’ (1992)

Nicky Wire: “I’ve got fond memories; great drums, great artwork and all for the NME. What more could you want?”

26 ‘Indian Summer’ (2007)

James Dean Bradfield: “It had a sense of redemption to it. It feels like it’s a signpost to the future.”

25 ‘Tsunami’ (1999)

Nicky Wire: “To have the line ‘disco dancing with the rapists’ playlisted on Radio 1, that is subversion.”

24 ‘Everything Must Go’ (1996)

Sean Moore: “In Drummer magazine it’s down as my best ever drum part.”

22 ‘Stay Beautiful’ (1991)

James Dean Bradfield: “The middle of the chorus where it goes ‘wa wa’ it should’ve gone ‘fuck off’. Cop out.”

21 ‘Australia’ (1996)

Nicky Wire: “‘Tsunami’ and ‘Australia’ were fourth singles, that’s fucking impressive.”

20 ‘You Stole The Sun from My Heart’ (1999)

Nicky Wire: “This was the first time we dipped into a bit of Buzzcocks.”

19 ‘Let Robeson Sing’ (2001)

Sean Moore: “It has potential, but it wasn’t fully realised.”

18 ‘Love’s Sweet Exile’ (1991)

Nicky Wire: “James used to be so fast!”

17 ‘Roses In The Hospital’ (1993)

James Dean Bradfield: “Love the lyric, love the choruses, verses are ‘Sound And Vision’.”


16 ‘Some Kind Of Nothingness’ (2010)

Nicky Wire: “Just the glory of having Ian McCulloch sing one of our songs…”

15 ‘Ocean Spray’ (2001)

James Dean Bradfield: “Inspired by my mum’s passing, you have doubts over whether you should convert those emotions.”

14 ‘Kevin Carter’ (1996)

Nicky Wire: “It was more like a Wire song at first. Great Richey lyric.”

13 ‘Found That Soul’ (2001)

Nicky Wire: “When we released this and ‘So Why So Sad’ we were a bit sad they weren’t One and Two!”

12 ‘La Tristesse Durera’ (Scream To A Sigh) (1993)

Nicky Wire: “The last great baggy record with The Chemical Brothers doing the remix.”

11 ‘You Love Us’ (1991)

Nicky Wire: “The lyric was a mission statement, of our genuine attitude towards life.”

10 ‘Suicide Alley’ (1989)

Nicky Wire: “It was the first time we got anywhere near to realising what we could be. Richey wasn’t in at that point, but he took the picture on the front cover. We printed up 300 copies, Sean was there with his Pritt Stick doing the covers, and we got an NME review. Without it I don’t think we’d have got started.”

9 ‘The Love Of Richard Nixon’ (2004)

Nicky Wire: “There’s that sample at the end where Nixon says ‘I am not a quitter.’ We thought that applied to us as a band. Nixon was the first American president really to open up dialogue with China. And it actually says ‘this war on cancer’ in the lyric. I find him interesting – kind of like myself.”

8 ‘(It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love’ (2010)

Nicky Wire: “It’s so effervescent for a band in their forties on their 10th record. Our one last shot at mass communication.”

7 ‘The Masses Against The Classes’ (2000)

Nicky Wire: “The first Number 1 of the millennium, and coming just after we’d sold out of Millennium Stadium. It was a reaction to the supposed bigness and blandness of ‘This Is My Truth…’ coming back with something that starts with a Chomsky sample.”

6 ‘Motown Junk’ (1991)

James Dean Bradfield: “You can hear we’re ready for it. They’re not the most sophisticated sounds, but it’s the closest we’ve ever got to The Clash. It’s the perfect manifestation of the four of us. Richey was already fully integrated, everything was on the march. Getting the NME Single Of The Week gave us a genuine sense of excitement.”

5 ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’ (1998)

Nicky Wire: “It was amazing to get a Number 1. We’d been neck and neck with Steps all week, and we ended up doing 152,000 physical singles in the first week.”

4 ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ (1992)

Nicky Wire: “Our first worldwide-recognised song. But we didn’t even play it for the first six months. Me and Richey just didn’t bother to learn it.”

3 ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’ (2007)

Nicky Wire: “Much as we’ve had a lot more success post-Richey, it’s always an awkward and depressing feeling not having this superstar looking person just there. Richey’s presence was just so beguiling for me.”

2 ‘A Design For Life’ (1996)

Nicky Wire: “It was important that we weren’t aping ‘The Holy Bible’. It would have been so fake if we’d come back with something like that because it was a state of mind. The fact that it was this glorious death waltz, having working class culture patronised by Britpop, to actually have a moment where we could say ‘This is what it really is, we’ve actually grown up in it’.”

1 ‘Faster’ (1994)

Sean Moore: “It’s us at our most visceral best.”
Nicky Wire: “It’s my title, there’s a bit of me lyrically. It’s a perfect synthesis of everything.”
James Dean Bradfield: “It’s one of Richey’s soothsaying lyrics. There’s a lot of prophesy, in terms of the acceleration of everything, joy, pain, death, consumerism.”
Nicky Wire: “I think ‘I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing’ is the great catchphrase of the ’90s.