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Single Guys - Q Magazine, September 2011

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Title: Single Guys
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: September 2011
Writer: Dan Stubbs
Photos: Alex Lake


45s, either on one CD or a fancy box

Having released their eighth, ninth and 10th albums in the space of three years, Manic Street Preachers are preparing for a year off with a singles compilation, National Treasures, limited quantities of which will be available as a stocking-friendly box of individual CDs. Bassist Nicky Wire explains...

Why release a singles compilation now?
"It's nearly 10 years since [Best Of compilation] Forever Delayed and we've had some of our biggest hits in that time, so it felt right. It's in chronological order and has that unbroken run of 33 Top 40 hits from Stay Beautiful to (It's Not War) Just The End Of Love. It's pretty staggering."

Were you gutted when Some Kind Of Nothingness stalled at Number 44 last year?
"It was a hit to the solar plexus. I was particularly angry with myself, because I wrote it."

Do you still follow the charts?
"Yeah, I'm a real chart statistician. The sense of drama around a single, it meant a lot in the past and the feeling never really leaves you. Singles are something we've absolutely gloried in."

Are there any singles you wish you could leave off the album?
"We did have a bizarre run in the early 2000s. The Love Of Richard Nixon was just weird - imagine trying to eulogise America's most hated president in the style of the Pet Shop Boys."

You've called it National Treasures. Tongue in cheek?
"It's half true, half piss-take. We've probably got to the stage where we are national treasures."

Will there be any new material on there?
"A cover version: probably something by The Prisoners, The Wedding Present or The The. We've written something like 60 songs over the past three years so we're taking the pressure off a bit."

You've got a book coming out too. What's that about?
"It's called, Death Of The Polaroid: A Manics Family Album. It's the cream of my collection of around 6000 to 10,000 Polaroid photos."

Any particularly illuminating shots in there?
"Some of The Holy Bible-era Polaroids are odd because they're from when Richey [Edwards, former guitarist] was hospitalised. There's a shot of me and James [Dean Bradfield, vocals] that's bleak."

How many copies do you need to sell to recoup the money you've spent on Polaroid film over the years?
"When Polaroid went bust I was spending £80 for a pack of 20. I've run out completely now."

Are you working on a new album too?
"We are, but it won't be out until 2013. We'll keep making albums as long as we're still bitter and angry and hate filled."

So this one won't be as saccharine as Postcards From A Young Man?
"Definitely not. This one will be our chance to make an album that shows how much we love music in all its different forms, from James's love of Motown to my love of Krautrock and Sean [Moore, drums]'s love of, you"