The Manics have always made great covers out of unlikely songs - the live acoustic "Last Christmas" and the post-Richey comeback "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" come to mind - but this year's cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" is an utter classic, stripping back the dance production to reveal a storming pop song underneath.
The key here is the total commitment on Bradfield's part - there's no self-aware "we're covering a pop tune aren't we clever and ironic" shit here - he just fucking goes for it like it's the most profound lyric ever written. "If You Tolerate This" style Moog, massive power chords and a great guitar solo at the end round it out. Should have been a gigantic international hit around the world rather than a one-off mp3 for a charity comp. The mood change between this and the forthcoming Albini-produced Richey-lyrics funfest ought to be fairly dramatic, but this is throwaway pop Manics at its best.