...and Johnny Marr pops around for a spot of tea.By the sounds of things they weren't just drinking tea...
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.
I first heard this album around eleven years ago, and I loved it. Having endured the last eleven years, which have been one disappointment after another where music is concerned, it has increased in my estimations. Dog Man Star is better than anything else Suede ever did (yes, including their fine debut). I would go so far to say that it was the best album of the ‘90s. Buy this album and listen to it repeatedly by yourself when you have the time to give to it the attention, not only that it deserves, but that it commands.