Manic Street Preachers: “The upper echelons of society have tipped the cultural scales too heavily in their favour”

Manic Street Preachers have claimed that “the upper echelons of society have tipped the cultural scales too heavily in their favour”, while vowing that things will soon sway back towards working-class music and art.

The Manics were talking to NME about their upcoming 14th album ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ when they were quizzed about a line from their new song ‘Don’t Let The Night Divide Us’, which sees frontman James Dean Bradfield sing: “Don’t let those boys from Eton suggest that we are beaten.”

The singer explained that the Nicky Wire-penned lyric was written with “a bit more humorous abandon” than it might have been in their past, but was still loaded with intent and a promise of things to come from the working-class.


“It’s not just us saying, ‘Hey, you guys over there – don’t forget we’re backstreet kids and still stood here, so watch your fucking step, mate’,” Bradfield told NME. “It’s more a nod and a wink. It’s us saying, ‘Don’t think you’re going to have your own way, because we still have something up our sleeves’. The working-classes will still give you an amazing band; they’ll still give you an amazing writer.”

He continued: “It does seem like the upper echelons of society have tipped the cultural scales too heavily in their favour. That line is not talking about class war, it’s just saying that once the balance has been tipped towards an egregious amount of privilege being displayed then inevitably it must swing back the other way at some point. When it does, you’ll see something good.”

Read our full interview with the Manics here, where Bradfield and Wire also discuss how Abba and The Clash came to shape the “snowglobe” feel of their new album, life in lockdown, railing against culture wars, working with Sunflower Bean‘s Julia Cumming and Mark Lanegan, and much more.

‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ is out on September 10 via Columbia/Sony. The band’s upcoming tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and information.


August 29 – Alcester, Camper Calling Music Festival
September 10 – Halifax, Live at Piece Hall
September 18 – Jersey, Electric Park Festival
September 19 – Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena (Free gig for NHS workers)
September 20 – Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena (Charity gig to benefit NHS charities)
September 26 – Newcastle, City Hall
September 28 – Edinburgh, Usher Hall
September 29 – Dundee, Caird Hall
October 1 – Stoke On-Trent, Victoria Hall
October 2 – Manchester, Apollo
October 4 – York, Barbican
October 5 – Glasgow, Barrowlands
October 7 – Leeds, Academy
October 8 – Portsmouth, Guildhall
October 10 – Bournemouth, Academy
October 11 – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
October 13 – Bath, Forum
October 14 – Bristol, Dome
December 3 – London, Wembley Arena