Top positive review
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Amourous - glamourous
on 22 February 2005
It is the early 90s. Even your idiot brother likes Nirvana. Your check shirt feels like a hairshirt and you deserve it. You and your generation seem to have thrown your lot in with unseemly American slacker angst; a desperate abrogation of youth and desire. Then this...
It is impossible to overstate the beauty and inspiration that this record brought us. An extraordinary misfit singer, yelping and swooning over sordid tales of drugs, sex and ennui wrapped in a suburban concrete overcoat. A phenomenal guitarist, trilling and hammering a clutch of instantly world-class riffs. A band to match.
You will have heard all about Britpop oasis blah blah blur. This is the one that mattered. The elements that would later teeter to cliche - the 'beautiful loser' lyrics, the glamorama, the seediness - are embodied most memorably in three crunching singles - Animal Nitrate, The Drowners, Metal Mickey. Then there are the 'keepers' - Sleeping Pills, Pantomime Horse and the aching melody of the Next Life. Like a call to arms to the emotionally dispossessed this album not only put a stiletto heel into the notion that there were no great bands anymore, but also exuded the kind of self-conscious Britishness that pre-figured the vibrant Britpop era.
Of course there were choppier (and poppier) waters ahead, with the departure of guitarist Bernard Butler, the re-birth of Coming Up, the lapses into semi-parody. But set against the context of today's drab indie-rock, Suede seems like a glorious vindiction of brutal, confused youth and the redemptive power of brilliant music: despite all the stardust and glitterballs there can be nothing more humane and honest than that.