Lifeblood (album)

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Studio album by Manic Street Preachers
Released 1 November 2004
Recorded 2003 at Stir Studios in Cardiff; Grouse Lodge in Westmeath, Ireland; Looking Glass Studios in New York
Genre Alternative rock, synthpop
Length 45:26
Label Sony
Producer Tony Visconti, Tom Elmhirst, Greg Haver
Manic Street Preachers chronology
Lipstick Traces
Send Away the Tigers
Singles from Lifeblood
  1. "The Love of Richard Nixon"
    Released: 18 October 2004
  2. "Empty Souls"
    Released: 10 January 2005

Lifeblood is the seventh studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 1 November 2004, through record label Sony Music UK.


The working title of this album was Litany, hinting that the song "Litany" recorded during the Lifeblood sessions was originally intended for inclusion. The track, however, only featured as a B-side to the "Empty Souls" CD single.

Lifeblood was recorded at studios in New York, Wales and Ireland by Tony Visconti, Tom Elmhirst and frequent collaborator Greg Haver. Two tracks recorded during the Lifeblood recording sessions ("Antarctic" and "The Soulmates") remain only on the Japanese version of the album.

The album includes a song about Emily Pankhurst ("Emily"), a leader in the British woman's suffrage movement, but otherwise, the band's earlier political lyrics have been replaced by personal reflection, such as on the band's past ("1985") and former member Richey Edwards ("Cardiff Afterlife"). The album is also a departure musically, replacing the band's traditional guitar walls with more subtle and melodic playing, emphasis instead being given to keyboards and synthesizers. This results in a softer sound, something Nicky Wire described as "elegiac pop" throughout the recording process.


Lifeblood was preceded by the single "The Love of Richard Nixon", which reached No. 2 on the UK singles chart.

Lifeblood entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 13, it sold 23,990 in the first week and spent only two weeks in the Top 75. The album has gone Silver, but it's the least successful album by the band, and it was a commercial failure, to the present day the album sold around 90.000 copies in the UK.

"Empty Souls", the second and final single from the album, was released on 10 January 2005. It, like the previous single, debuted and peaked at No. 2.

Critical Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 66/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
BBC (favourable)[3]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[4]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[5]
Mojo 4/5 stars[6]
NME 6/10[7]
PopMatters 7/10[8]
Q 1.5/5 stars[9]
Uncut 3.5/5 stars[10]
Yahoo! Music UK 6/10 stars [11]

The album was met with generally positive reviews, something that didn't happen with their previous effort Know Your Enemy. At Metacritic, the site which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received a score of 66.

NME magazine rated the album with a 6/10, the lowest score that they have given to a Manic Street Preachers album, stating that: "Where ‘Know Your Enemy’ strived vainly for relevance, ‘Lifeblood’ is seemingly content to exist as a highbrow rock record. Out go song titles that were half-baked political manifestos in themselves ( ‘Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children’ anyone?), in come elegiac pop anthems ( ‘1985’) and the welcome presence of Bowie producer Tony Visconti to add a glacial sheen to the whole affair. Indeed, this is arguably the best Manics album since ‘Everything Must Go’." Drowned in Sound gave a very positive review to the album, the score was 9/10 and Colin Weston said: "This is not rock, it is arguably not indie and would fit very comfortably next to the soft nu-wave eighties pop albums that your auntie has on the shelf... and it is quite simply brilliant!" (...) "'Generation Terrorists' may well live forever in the hearts of their fans but 'Lifeblood' may well live forever as one of the best commercial albums of the bands career."

A negative review came from Q, rating the album with a 1.5 out of 5, the magazine said that the album was: "Miserable and insipid." Jon Garrett from PopMatters gave his opinion of the album, alongside a rating of 7/10: "Richey may be long dead, but there’s still warm blood coursing through The Manics’ veins. They are for real—although maybe not in the way history had intended."

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Nicky Wire, all music composed by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore, with additional lyrics by Patrick Jones on "Fragments".

No. Title Length
1. "1985"   4:08
2. "The Love of Richard Nixon"   3:38
3. "Empty Souls"   4:05
4. "A Song for Departure"   4:20
5. "I Live to Fall Asleep"   3:57
6. "To Repel Ghosts"   3:58
7. "Emily"   3:34
8. "Glasnost"   3:14
9. "Always/Never"   3:42
10. "Solitude Sometimes Is"   3:21
11. "Fragments"   4:02
12. "Cardiff Afterlife"   3:27
Japanese bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "The Soulmates"   3:44
14. "Antarctic"   3:04



Chart (2004) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[12] 13
Irish Albums (IRMA)[13] 15
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[14] 15
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[15] 47
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[16] 56
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[17] 65
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[18] 62
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[19] 81


  1. ^ "Critic Reviews for Lifeblood – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lifeblood – Manic Street Preachers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  3. ^ O'Doherty, Lucy. "BBC – Music – Review of Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Weston, Colin (25 October 2004). "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (5 November 2004). "CD: Manic Street Preachers, Lifeblood | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Mojo: 94. November 2004. 
  7. ^ Nicolson, Barry (7 December 2004). "NME Album Reviews – Manic Street Preachers : Lifeblood –". Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Garrett, John (12 November 2004). "The Manic Street Preachers: Lifeblood < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Q: 130. December 2004. 
  10. ^ Uncut (December 2004): 148. 
  11. ^ "Yahoo! Music UK review". 
  12. ^ "Manic Street Preachers | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  13. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week {{{week}}}, {{{year}}}". IRMA. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Manic Street Preachers: Lifeblood" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Manic Street Preachers – Lifeblood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

External links[edit]