Top 100 singles of all time: 95 – Manic Street Preachers – Love’s Sweet Exile

I want to say that the Manic Street Preachers were sexy in a Twilight sort of way, but then I realise how much of an insult that is to such sweet young men. What I mean is that they represented a sort of wholesome, non-threatening rebellion that went down a treat with sensitive, misunderstood teenage girls. James was the only one I fancied, and that was only after meeting him, but Love’s Sweet Exile had such a deliciously sexy video that for those three minutes or so, my heart was pounding as much as anyone else’s. It was the same sort of pseudo-homoerotica that pretty girls use to tease admirers: I kissed a boy and I liked it. Don’t believe a word of it – they’re just being saucy little minxes. And it worked!

The song – it goes without saying – is totally f***ing awesome. The best guitar riff early Guns ‘n’ Roses never came up with set to ferocious drums and a screamalong chorus. They might have dressed like punks, but this was pure rock in all its sweaty, urgent vibrancy.

Two decades later, it still sounds incredible.

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