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|1. Introducing The Band|
|2. We Are The Pigs|
|4. Wild Ones, The|
|5. Daddy's Speeding|
|6. Power, The|
See all 17 tracks on this disc
|1. My Dark Star|
|2. Living Dead, The|
|3. Stay Together|
|4. Killing Of A Flash Boy|
|6. This World Needs A Father|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|1. Stay Together|
|3. We Are The Pigs|
|4. 2 Of Us, The|
|5. Killing Of A Flash Boy|
|6. Pantomine Horse|
See all 25 tracks on this disc
By this point the chemistry (in all senses) was becoming a little strained. Retreating into a drug-assisted solitude, Brett Anderson's lyrics were less concerned with the politics of modern love and more with the effects of the morning after. Solitude, paranoia and self-loathing were the themes here. When he sings 'If you stay we'll be the wild ones!' it's with a quiet desperation that's clinging to a lifestyle that's gone horribly wrong.
The downbeat mood pervades everything here. Even on peppier rockers like 'The Hollywood Life' or 'New Generation' the guitars of Bernard Butler here sound more spiteful, suffused with a vicious metallic edge. It was here that they formerly parted from the Britpop pack as well ('I don't care for the UK tonight' sings Brett on 'Black And Blue').
At the heart of this album is the real-life drama of Anderson's and Butler's increasing alienation. Before the album had even been mixed the pair, once touted as a Lennon and McCartney for the post-E generation, had split. Butler subsequently told of how he turned up to the studio one day to find all his equipment outside the locked door.
Yet, while Dog Man Star stands as a testament to the destructive power of thrill-seeking love and ego-bloating drugs it remains a far deeper and sonically adventurous ride than its predecessor. There's still a huge dollop of Scott Walker-meets-Bowie-in-the-streets-of-Soho-at-5-in-the-morning archness that can grate. And Anderson's melodrama can be slightly over-egged on tracks like 'The 2 Of Us', yet with its reverb-drenched lushness and fabulously melancholy audio verite ambience (virtually every track is prefaced by or marbled with some low-key moodiness that recalls Talk Talk's golden period) it's an album that continues to fascinate and reward: It's possibly their least dated work.
While the band struggled heroically (and succeeded) to consolidate their success after Butler's departure the legend of the band's lost potential really stems from Dog Man Star. Never had misery sounded so alluring, reaching out to all the lonely urbanites that ever woke up alone. For this alone it remains timeless. --Chris Jones
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Dog Man Star is truly sensational. When one compares this effort to what immediately preceded and proceeded it (in Britain at least), nothing else compares with the over-produced, orchestral bombast (notably on Still Life), the claustraphobic intensity (The Two of Us), and brooding menace(Asphalt World) which it exudes. A tip: listen to the latter track whilst driving around a hole of a town, perhaps Weston Super Mare, very late at night. You might have to lock the doors and windows of your car and/or not stop at traffic lights, but it is worth it in order to soak up the seedy atmosphere of low-rent, burnt-out, drug-frazzled 'glam'. It works best if your car is a shitty old Ford (either an Escort or a Probe for apt comedy value).
The Asphalt World aside, the rest of the album, as another reviewer mentioned, is best heard through headphones on a Discman turned up to a level not entirely healthy for one's ears. Even if you do go deaf as a result, chances are there's nothing much worth listening to after having sat through Suede's sophomore set.
While it would be thoroughly misleading to say that the album is one of light and shade (it is unrelentingly bleak), it is characterised by a variety of different styles. Unlike, say, Coldplay, who have two modes (1.bland, and 2.paint-dryingingly, fist-eatingingly, nondescript vapidity), Suede run the gamut from up-tempo glam-rocking in New Generation, through fuzz-guitar-enhanced Smithsian janglepop (Heroine), ending up with the overblown chamber music of Still Life. They even throw in some Eno-ish nuggets of experimentalism (Introducing the Band, and Daddy's Speeding) which, surprisingly, work a treat.Read more ›