Their new album 'Resistance Is Futile' owes a lot to 'Generation Terrorists', David Bowie, The War On Drugs and Bruce Springsteen.
Manic Street Preachers have unveiled their new single ‘International Blue’ - which bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire described as ‘a sister song to Motorcycle Emptiness’.
The lead single is taken from their upcoming 13th album ‘Resistance Is Futile‘, which Wire told NME was written as an ‘optimistic’ record in defiance against the troubling nature of the social and political landscape of recent years.
Speaking about ‘International Blue’, Wire told NME: “I think there’s a certain naive energy and widescreen melancholia on the song that is reflected through the whole album. It’s a good representation of the almost ‘Generation Terrorists’ energy that we’ve got. It’s a bit like a new ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’, but set in Nice rather than Japan.
“There’s still a lot of 1970’s Bowie, ‘Station To Station’ kinda stuff, which has been a big influence. But’s it’s still obsessed with melody.”
As for the lyrics to the track, Wire said: “On the single and the whole album, there are a lot of mini tributes to things that make your life feel a little bit better. Rather than my internalised misery, I tried to put a sense of optimism into the lyrics by writing about things that we find really inspiring.”
He continued: “I wouldn’t go as far as to call it ‘escapist’, but it does feel like we’re building our own world. It goes back to the idea of when we started the band with us four insulating ourselves and germinating ideas. It’s not about purposefully switching yourself off from the world around you, but just trying to find inspiration. Otherwise you just get swamped in a sea of total negativity - which is fine. It’s not like we haven’t done that before.”
So did you want to lean towards a more positive nature, or were you just not creatively inspired by the political landscape of the last few years?
“Everything overlaps into our worldview, naturally. But there’s a song about the photographer Vivian Maier on the album, ‘International Blue’ is about Yves Klein, there’s a song about Dylan and Caitlin Thomas . I tried to write lyrics outside of myself, rather than internalised opinion and endless judgement. You know, I’m just not that sure of myself any more. It’s easy to say what you stand against, but it’s difficult to say what you stand for. I just wanted to go through the seeds of inspiration that enrich our lives.”
James [Dean Bradfield, frontman] told us earlier this year that he wanted the album to “kick against the oblique, delineated, opaque groove that everybody is into” and “rock again“. Do you feel that you achieved that?
“James is obsessed with Ryan Adams and there’s definitely a War On Drugs on Bruce Springsteen ‘Dancing In The Dark’ feel to some of the tracks.”
Just in October, you teased that you might not make another album. Did you feel like this might have been the end?
“I did. There’s a dystopian feel to a lot of things. I’ve barricaded myself in a bit to find a lot of inspiration. I don’t know if you get the time to let it happen naturally any more. I don’t want to be bombarded in a vacuum that I can’t explain.”
“I was ravaged with doubt. I spend a lot of my time being ravaged my doubt. I don’t know if it’s an age thing. You just always think that you’re one step away from going wrong or questioning your relevance. I wish I could be as supremely confident as I was when i was 19 - or as deluded, whichever it was. I just don’t feel that way any more. Apart from us three being in the studio trying to create something that will give people as much stimulation as it gives us. That’s what holds us together and drives us.”