The beautiful ones,
The beautiful ones,
La la la la...
Suede (also known as The London Suede) are a British Alternative Rock band (Started 1989; went on breakup/hiatus between 2003-2010) known for being one of the bands to start Britpop, with a distinct glam rock style influenced by The Smiths and David Bowie. They gained press hype even before releasing their debut album, described by Melody Maker as "The Best New Band in Britain" as early as 1992. The following year, their debut album Suede, went to the top of the charts, becoming the fastest-selling debut album in almost a decade. Their next album, however, Dog Man Star, suffered in popularity due to a troubled production and Creative Differences between the band's lead singer, Brett Anderson, and guitarist Bernard Butler. This resulted in the departure of Butler and his replacement by Richard Oakes, a young fan of the band who got in thanks to a tape he recorded sent them of him playing some Suede songs (Drummer Simon Gilbert mistakenly believed it to be an early demo tape with Butler when he heard Anderson playing it back, going through audition tapes sent to them).
Their next album Coming Up became their largest success mainstream success, mainly in the UK, as in the US it was released a nearly year later and had only a short American tour. It was backed by the hit singles "Trash", "Saturday Night" and "Beautiful Ones". However, their following albums - Head Music and (especially) A New Morning - were met much less warmly, which led to the band's breakup in 2003.
In 2004, Anderson and Butler started a new group under the name The Tears, but broke up again after a single album, Here Come the Tears.
Suede reunited in 2010 for a series of concerts, and after three years of gigs went on to release a new (well-received) album, Bloodsports. After another three years, they released their seventh album, Night Thoughts, also well-received. In September 2018 they released their 8th album, The Blue Hour.
- Suede (1993)
- Dog Man Star (1994)
- Coming Up (1996)
- Head Music (1999)
- A New Morning (2002)
- Bloodsports (2013)
- Night Thoughts (2016)
- The Blue Hour (2018)
- Brett Anderson - vocals (19892003; 2010present)
- Mat Osman - bass (19892003; 2010present)
- Simon Gilbert - drums (19912003; 2010present)
- Richard Oakes - lead guitar, piano (19942003; 2010present)
- Neil Codling - keyboards, rhythm guitar (19962001; 2010present)
- Justine Frischmann - rhythm guitar (19891991)
- Bernard Butler - lead guitar, piano (19891994)
- Alex Lee - rhythm guitar, keyboards (20012003)
Maybe, maybe it's the tropes we wear...:
- AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: "Come on and hit me / With your ma-JES-ty..."
- Adorkable: Richard Oakes in the music video for "We Are The Pigs". He was asked to look hard and tough, but due to his youthful looks (being on the cusp of his eighteenth birthday at the time) he just ends up looking a bit silly. Also has shades of this in early interviews.
- Alliterative Name: "Metal Mickey".
- Bernard Butler.
- Animal Motifs: "Animal Lover", "Animal Nitrate", "We are the Pigs", "Where the Pigs Don't Fly", "Dog Man Star", "Pantomime Horse", "For the Birds"...
- "We'll be the wild ones / Running with the dogs today".
- "She lives in a house / She's as quiet as a mouse".
- Author Appeal: A number of songs, in particular "She" and "She's in Fashion", appear to imply that Anderson has a fetish for very thin women.
- Author Catchphrase: the words "aniseed", "sin", "psycho", "nuclear" and "gasoline" feature heavily in Suede lyrics.
- Band of Relatives: Simon Gilbert (drums) and Neil Codling (keyboard, rhythm guitar, backing vocals) are cousins.
- Bare Your Midriff / Fanservice: Brett Anderson was famous for this style of dress in the 1990s.
- Black Gal on White Guy Drama: "Black or Blue", which is apparently an autobiographical song.
- Break-Up Song: "Barriers" and (for a possibly platonic version) "The 2 of Us". The latter also comes along with Reality Subtext since during the song's recording tensions in the band were high (and led to Bernard Butler leaving the band). Apparently Brett Anderson still finds it difficult to listen to the song without being reminded of the bleak times that spawned it.
- B-Side: Sci-Fi Lullabies (a compilation album consisting of the band's B-sides from the singles released with their first three albums) is reckoned by critics to be equal in quality to their better studio albums.
- Camp Straight: despite his rather effeminate appearance and style in the 90s, Anderson's now a married man with two children. (He did, however, infamously proclaim himself "a bisexual man who's never had a homosexual experience").
- Drummer Simon Gilbert, the only band member who actually is gay, later echoed this statement, joking that he was "a bisexual man who's never had a heterosexual experience".
- Concept Album: Dog Man Star and Night Thoughts.
- Creepy Children Singing: the kids chanting at the end of "We are the Pigs".
- Darker and Edgier: Suede already had a lot of dark slow songs, but Dog Man Star focused on even darker sounds, influenced by art-rock and with elements of the lyrics influenced by drug use. Proving relatively commercially unsuccessful, it was followed by the Lighter and Softer Coming Up.
- Distinct Double Album: Sci-fi Lullabies. Disc one contains b-sides of the singles from the self titled debut and Dog Man Star, while disc two contains the b-sides of the singles from Coming Up.
- Domestic Abuse: "Animal Nitrate", a song about a dysfunctional gay relationship in the suburbia.Brett Anderson: People think about gay sex and never really think about it romantically. They see sadness, romance and loss as purely a heterosexual thing. There's a definite domestic violence feel to 'Animal Nitrate.' But behind that there's a real sadness.
- Driven to Suicide: the two lovers in "She's Not Dead". To double up the sadness, it's Based on a True Story.Brett Anderson: [My aunt] had this lover and he was black and Hayward's Heath is a small town and in the early '80s I guess it was very taboo. And basically they committed joint suicide together. They drove a car into a garage and just turned the exhaust on and killed themselves.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Anderson, especially in his drug-fueled years.
- Epic Rocking: "The Ashphalt World", "Stay Together" and "The Chemistry Between Us" are all over 7 minutes in length.
- Fading into the Next Song: Most songs on Night Thoughts do this.
- Filling the Silence: The sampled film dialogue in "The Power" is there to fill the place intended for a guitar solo that Butler left the band without recording.
- Foil: A rare example of 2 songs from the same album. "Animal Nitrate" is a dark, stark song about a sexually abusive same-sex relationship that left the main character with extreme emotional trauma and a fetish for the abuse they endured, while "The Drowners" is a song about mutually consensual and loving homosexual intercourse.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Brett Anderson and Mat Osman, who have been friends since their schooldays.
- Intercourse with You: a lot of Suede songs quite blatantly fall into this category, with "Asphalt World" and "Animal Nitrate" being just two examples.
- Last Note Nightmare: Could "The Next Life" count in a very odd way? The album closer to 1993's Suede, "The Next Life" is a beautiful piano ballad that ends at about 2:57. But the song's silence continues until 3:39. You sit there and continue waiting for something to happen, and while nothing scary ever happens, it can really freak someone who is either Genre Savvy or has just sat through The Cure's "Subway Song" out.
- Lonely at the Top: "The 2 of Us", whose narrator is "alone but loaded".
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: as the page image can attest, in Suede's early days drummer Simon Gilbert was the only short-haired band member.
- Love Triangle:
- A real-life one between Anderson, Justine Frischmann (lead singer of Elastica) and Damon Albarn (Blur frontman). See No Celebrities Were Harmed, below.
- "The Asphalt World": "When you're there in her arms / And there in her legs / Well I'll be in her head". According to the band's biography, the song is based off of Anick (Brett's girlfriend at the time) seeing another girl.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness - The band averages at a 5-7.
- Suede is a 5-7 (Though "Animal Nitrate" is closer to a 9.)
- Dog Man Star is a 6-8
- Coming Up is a 4-6
- Head Music is a 4-6
- A New Morning is a 3-4
- Bloodsports is a 4-5
- Night Thoughts is a 5-7
- The Blue Hour is a 5-7
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The band averages at a 3-5
- Suede is a 3-5
- Dog Man Star is a 3-6
- Coming Up is a 3-4
- Head Music is a 3-4
- A New Morning is a 2-3
- Bloodsports is a 3-4
- Night Thoughts is a 3-5
- The Blue Hour is a 3-5
- New Sound Album: The upbeat and poppy "Coming Up" after the dark and dreary "Dog Man Star". Justified, since tensions in the band were far higher during the recording of the latter album.
- The '90s: duh.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- "Animal Lover" is widely considered to be a Take That! against Damon Albarn, who at that point was dating Anderson's ex-girlfriend Justine Frischmann. (According to Word of God, "Never Here" by Frischmann's band Elastica is unambiguously a Take That against Anderson.)
- "Star Crazy" is widely believed to be a somewhat derogatory portrait of Paula Yates, the music journalist and presenter, and wife of successively Bob Geldof and Michael Hutchence.
- Pun-Based Title: "Animal Nitrate" is an allusion to amyl nitrite, a chemical compound with psychoactive effects that is heavily associated with gay male club culture. And to animals, of course.
- Precision F-Strike: "She's Not Dead". Also frequent in some live versions of songs, especially "Animal Nitrate".
- Queer Romance: "Animal Nitrate", for a very violent, drug-addled version. "The Drowners" also hints at this with lyrics like "we kissed in his room to a popular tune".
- Refrain from Assuming: a minor example, but "By the Sea" is commonly believed to be titled "Into the Sea" because these are the words repeated in the chorus.
- Self-Titled Album: the debut.
- Sequel Song: according to Word of God, "Still Life" is this to "Sleeping Pills".
- Shout-Out: the chorus of "The Wild Ones" was inspired by Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas".
- "Daddy's Speeding" is about the death of James Dean.
- The themes and imagery of Dog Man Star were inspired by George Orwell.
- The two-note guitar figure at the end of the choruses of "We Are The Pigs" is a sarcastic shout out to the theme tune of Peter Gunn.
- The opening line of "Heroine", "She walks in beauty like the night", quotes a poem by Lord Byron.
- Silly Love Songs: straight examples are far and few in between, but "It Starts and Ends with You" and "Hit Me" certainly qualify. "Saturday Night" and the B-Side "Sam" were both written about Brett's then-girlfriend Sam.
- The Something Song: "Campfire Song".
- Stop and Go: "Metal Mickey" features a brief pause between the guitar solo and the last chorus.
- Straight Gay: the band's drummer Simon Gilbert, who Anderson once described as "the straighest-appearing member of the band". (See Camp Straight, above).
- Wretched Hive: the setting of "We are the Pigs".