This is the lead single and opening track from Postcards From a Young Man, the tenth studio album by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. The band's Nicky Wire told the NME "I believe in the tactile nature of rock 'n' roll. There's a generation missing out on what music meant to us. You can only elaborate on the stuff that compels you to. But 'It's Not War...' is kind of saying, 'Alright, we're not 18, but even at 40 the rage is still there'."
The music video is set in a 1970s chess tournament and stars actor Michael Sheen, who portrays Russian chess master Garry Kasparov opposite Anna Friel. Wire explained to the NME "We've tried to recreate the classic '70s chess match between Kasparov and [Bobby] Fischer. That's the kind of vibe behind it. It's real '70s Russia – just that idea of 'it's not war, just the end of love', I think a chess game really fits that."He added: "It's a really serious intellectual game but, you know, it's not World War Three. Although the cold war chess games were kind of like wars played out on a chessboard. Me and James [Dean Bradfield] have come up with the idea for it."
"Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve samples an obscure orchestral arrangement of the 1965 Rolling Stones song "The Last Time." The Verve had to sign away most of the royalties before they could release the song.