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Best Biffy Clyro Songs: 20 Classics From The Scottish Alt-Metal Heroes
List & Guides

Best Biffy Clyro Songs: 20 Classics From The Scottish Alt-Metal Heroes

From discordant alt-metal to expansive experimental rock, the best Biffy Clyro songs chart the Scots’ rise as an unlikely UK success story.

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Rare is a band who consistently achieve Top 5 albums (with three No.1s) for a solid 15 years without mainstream radio airplay or widespread media coverage. But Biffy Clyro have confidently bucked the system without compromising their sometimes chaotic sound. They started life in Ayr and Kilmarnock, in Scotland, forming in 1995 around teenage friends, guitarist Simon Neil, drummer Ben Johnston and his twin brother, bassist James Johnston. Through nothing but solid gigging and honing their craft of writing gloriously anthemic singles – when they’re not being jarring and off-key – the group forged a 20-plus-year path to becoming the UK’s least likely Reading Festival headliners. The best Biffy Clyro songs helped take them there.

Listen to the best of Biffy Clyro here, and check out our best Biffy Clyro songs, below.

20: Space (from ‘A Celebration Of Endings’, 2020)

Space stands as a measure of just how far Biffy Clyro have come in their time together. You don’t get much further away from their abrasive and discordant early releases than this, a tender and affecting ballad from 2020’s A Celebration Of Endings. It even got a full orchestral treatment at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios.

19: Wolves Of Winter (from ‘Ellipsis’, 2016)

Sci-fi experimentalism erupts into a frenetic riff on this, the first single released from the group’s seventh album, Ellipsis. The cacophony of guitars actually plays a brilliant disguise to a classy pop hook – a flair for which helped propel Biffy Clyro to a second headlining slot at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, in 2016.

18: Glitter And Trauma (from ‘Infinity Land’, 2004)

An early indication of Biffy Clyro’s smart pop sensibilities, from 2004’s Infinity Land. Sure, it’s all wrapped up in a bludgeoning riff and a crescendo of screams, but it offered a glimpse of the band’s ear for clever songwriting. Something of a landmark among the best Biffy Clyro songs, it proved he Scots were rapidly evolving into a major force in music.

17: 27 (from, ‘Blackened Sky’, 2002)

Biffy Clyro always had a knack for making more noise than is reasonable for such an unassuming trio. 27 starts off sounding for all the world like Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins, until Simon Neil’s impassioned cries are carried on a wave of fuzzy guitars. This group were never afraid of emotion being the driving force behind their songs

16: Folding Stars (from ‘Puzzle’, 2007)

If Nirvana were one of Biffy Clyro’s major early influences, then Folding Stars is one of the Scottish rockers’ Foo Fighters moments – a surprisingly catchy fists-in-the-air anthem, considering it was inspired by the death of Simon Neil’s mother, Eleanor. For all intents and purposes, it’s a power ballad wrapped up in the trio’s by now trademark wall of guitars.

15: Booooom, Blast & Ruin (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

This track plays out to more of an energetic rhythmic guitar style than the typical battering found on many of the best Biffy Clyro songs. It’s an approach that saw the Scots bust out of their cult status and land firmly in the mainstream. By the end of the Only Revolutions album cycle, this unstoppable force were selling out arenas across the UK.

14: God & Satan (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

With its orchestral backdrop, swooshing bridge and epic climax, this acoustic lament possibly wasn’t for the Biffy Clyro purists. That’s fine, because it helped cement the band as bona fide Big Players on the music scene. Only Revolutions was, after all, nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, confirming the group as a band to be reckoned with.

13: 57 (from ‘Blackened Sky’, 2002)

It’s fair to say that Biffy Clyro wore their grunge influences on their collective sleeves in their early days. But if that’s the case, then 57 is tightly wrapped up with an emo bow. Their name might not be the catchiest on the planet, but the best Biffy Clyro songs have the hooks to make up for it.

12: That Golden Rule (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

Biffy Clyro have never been a band to repeat themselves, which is why they run so comfortably from delicate balladry to frenetic riffing. That Golden Rule is a fine demonstration of the latter, barely pausing to catch its breath among a tornado of guitars and jagged rhythms – oh, and a spunky orchestral bridge just for a bit of texture.

11: Opposite (from ‘Opposites’, 2013)

When Biffy Clyro venture into their more tender moments, they always do so without sounding cheesy and awkward. Opposite is another demonstration of the class that oozes throughout the group’s lighter moments; it’s layered with strings and elevated by a huge lighters-aloft chorus. The album Opposites was their first to top the UK albums chart.

10: Machines (from ‘Puzzle’, 2007)

Biffy Clyro built a rabid cult following early in their career, establishing themselves among the best 2000s musicians in the process. But it was when they began to shed the cloak of discordant riffs that they started to gain traction in the mainstream. Machines is an early example of how stripping back the cacophony would see the best Biffy Clyro songs transcend the group’s roots and broaden their appeal.

9: The Captain (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

By 2010, Biffy Clyro were playing with more experimental sounds and ideas. By Simon Neil’s own admission, The Captain started life as a full-blown prog affair. But by cutting away the fat, they ended up with this rock anthem, complete with horn section and anthemic chorus. A massive tune with a circus-like feel.

8: Stingin’ Belle (from ‘Opposites’, 2013)

“I know what this song needs: bagpipes!” said no band, ever. That’s unless you’re Biffy Clyro. Simon Neil was never one to shy away from his native accent, but here the group take their Scottishness to the next level with the rather sympathetic addition of their national instrument to this otherwise caustic entry among the best Biffy Clyro songs.

7: Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies (from ‘Puzzle’, 2007)

By the time 2007’s Puzzle was released, Biffy Clyro were in a head-on collision with the mainstream. But rather than losing their heart and soul to perfectly polished pop rock tunes, they were heading there on their own terms. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies might have a huge, Foo Fighters-style chorus, but it rests on some seriously jabbing guitars.

6: Mountains (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

Mountains has a suitably sizeable chorus, but the inspiration for the song came from nowhere further than Simon Neil’s own growing confidence as a songwriter. He told The Independent, “It just felt like this was what we were doing at that point in my life. There was this liberation, that we were that deep into being a band you’re no longer worried.

5: Re-arrange (from ‘Ellipsis’, 2016)

Re-arrange is Biffy Clyro at their most tender and vulnerable. The entire Ellipsis album was a vehicle for Simon Neil’s introspection, and this track in particular is a love letter to his wife, who guided the songwriter through the dark times he explores on the record. His mental health is laid bare in the lyric “You should know by now that I’m broken/And I need your help.”

4: Biblical (from ‘Opposites’, 2013)

Simon Neil is living proof that selling thousands of albums isn’t the be all and end all. Biblical’s seismic chorus is actually about a time when everything went to shit when he should have been enjoying the fruits of Biffy Clyro’s success. The song came about when his wife suffered a series of miscarriages and he was dealing with a broken relationship with drummer Ben.

3: Bubbles (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

An uplifting guitar-pop track bolstered by the addition of Queens Of The Stone Age main man Josh Homme. Simon Neil told Kerrang!, “He came to the studio and listened to the song and two minutes later, he was playing the best guitar solo you’ve ever heard.” Though not their highest-charting single (it reached No.34), Bubbles stayed the longest in the UK Top 100.

2: Black Chandelier (from ‘Opposites’, 2013)

As Simon Neil explained to The Sun, Black Chandelier is “almost an anti-love song. It’s about being with someone you need to survive. But sometimes you feel as though you don’t necessarily want to survive. It’s kind of a downbeat look at love and what it demands of you as a person.” Nevertheless. it soars on a massive and emotive chorus that reaches for the sun

1: Many Of Horror (from ‘Only Revolutions’, 2010)

Though Biffy Clyro forged their own path to success, it certainly didn’t hurt that they lent this track, repackaged as When We Collide, to 2010’s X Factor winner, Matt Cardle. While the cover version headed straight to the top of the charts, the Scots snapped closely at its heels, with their own recording following at No.8. Topping our list of the best Biffy Clyro songs, Many Of Horror is a shining example of an unabashed rock power ballad.

Find out where Biffy Clyro rank among our best 2000s musicians.

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