Ahhh — real drowners: The best of Suede


In the bleak early nineties, to be American and yearn for British-ness meant yearning for a lover with the flash of a junk guitar solo and an expression like a frozen sneer — with pouty lips. Reading NME, Select, and Q was the answer; Suede was their response. In retrospect the drool written about them glimmered more fetchingly than most of their eponymous debut, but it was promising enough of a collection to keep me monkish in anticipation for 1994’s Stay Together EP and Dog Man Star, an album that crunched as hard as any Mott the Hoople and with better strings.

What I wrote ten months ago about the excellent Night Thoughts still stands:

On 1994’s Dog Man Star, Brett Anderson stabs his cerebellum with a curious quill, pouring out fantasies about Hollywood adventures gone awry, fucking under chemical skies, and quoting Byron while framed by precisely timed guitar blasts. He constructs a glass house in which he can project like Liza Minnelli in Radio City. Imagine if Roxy Music had recorded an album’s worth of “Mother of Pearl”‘s and “If There is Something”‘s. I could say this even in 1994 when I bought Dog Man Star and immediately considered it the most dangerous record in my possession. Less overt about (pan)homosexuality, it evokes the kind of dissolution confused by sex-starved teenagers with romance and realism; it’s the best Gregg Araki film ever made.

Inspecting my list you’ll find songs from Night Thoughts and Bloodsports; they’re that good, despite sonic problems. Also included are more than a half dozen B-sides, for Suede as integral a part of their story as they were for Pet Shop Boys and the Smiths.

1. The Drowners
2. The Wild Ones
3. We Are the Pigs
4. Still Life
5. Stay Together
6. My Insatiable One
7. For The Birds
8. Metal Mickey
9. He’s Dead
10. Lazy
11. Whipsnade
12. Like Kids
13. My Dark Star
14. Europe is Our Playground
15. High Rising
16. Modern Boys
17. Trash
18. She
19. It Starts and Ends with You
20. Moving
21. I Don’t Know How to Reach You

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