Manic Street Preachers have scored their first No 1 album in 23 years with The Ultra Vivid Lament.
In a throwback to a similar race in the 1990s, they prevailed in a close battle over pop group Steps, who reached No 2 with their album What the Future Holds – Pt 2, a sequel to their 2020 album which reached the same chart position.
The Ultra Vivid Lament is the Manics’ 14th studio album in a career that stretches back to 1992’s Generation Terrorists. Their only previous No 1 album is This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, which beat Steps’ album Step One to top the chart in September 1998. This Is My Truth also featured a No 1 single, If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next – the only UK No 1 about the Spanish civil war – which also held off Steps’ One For Sorrow to claim No 1 spot.
Manic Street Preachers’ popularity has endured, with all but one of their nine albums since reaching the UK Top Five. The band said of their latest No 1: “It was a titanic chart battle and we are absolutely over the moon.”
Powered by vinyl and CD sales from their dedicated fanbases, other heritage acts score their highest chart placings in many years this week. The Stranglers are at No 4 with Dark Matters, their ninth Top 10 album and their first since a 1990 greatest hits compilation. Saint Etienne reach No 14 with I’ve Been Trying to Tell You, their highest since 1994’s Tiger Bay.
Last week’s No 1 album, Certified Lover Boy by Drake, drops to No 3, and the Vaccines make it five Top Five albums out of five with Back in Love City.
In the singles chart, Ed Sheeran replaces himself at the top of the chart, with Shivers replacing Bad Habits. The latter had spent 11 weeks at No 1 – only six songs in history have spent longer at the top.
Sheeran’s songs sandwich Drake at No 2 with Girls Want Girls; Dua Lipa and Elton John’s mashup of Elton hits, Cold Heart, rises to No 4; and Central Cee, the drill rapper who won two Rated awards this week, enters at No 5 with Obsessed With You.