Ah, Suede. How you were loved, then forgotten at the time. On the heels of their immensely successful reunion show in March, Suede reclaim the ground from alleged contemporaries - Blur, Oasis - who recently have also set stall with Best Of's recently. Seven years makes people forget how amazing this band were at their peak. A passionate, powerful, and thrilling pop group : who can forget the opening chords of "Animal Nitrate", "Metal Mickey", "Trash", and not feel... that sense of joy? All of them are here, remastered, sparkling and burning with previously buried backing vocals and guitar overdubs presented in a pristine, immaculate condition for your listening pleasure.
Having long been regarded, unjustly, as the ugly pups of their era, Suede were, and are, the only of their contemporaries not to be rehabilitated into the view of being cool. Until recently, the band were almost verboten, their body of work overlooked, and the sad, slow slide into obselence on record that peppered their final years becoming their final epitah. They grab you by the scruff of the neck, and remind you why they were so loved. Not everyone liked them, but then again, who wants to be liked by everyone?
Despite an absence of material from the latter years which undersells their final incarnation, Suede take themselves back from the sneering public image and belittling snide comments. Remembering that for some people, these songs aren't embarrassing memories, but lifelines and long lost friends that took the edge off the bad days, the bad years, the decades of dirt.
But this - when the music starts and the adrenaline rushes - it's Suede as good as, no, better, than ever. Time and years may have corrupted us, but this music reaches to our souls that are as pure as they were then. Songs like "This Hollywood Life" and "Killing of A Flashboy" are songs that stand head and shoulders above their alleged contemporaries, who were busy peddling sludge about binmen and Beatles pastiches. These songs, all of them are taut, tight set of firey, passionate dispatches from the frontline of adolescence, sound better than ever.
Lyrically some of these songs have dated, and it's impossible for them not to : the riproaring rush of "Animal Nitrate" makes reference to being `over 21', instantly placing the song to the dark years before the age of consent was equalised.Others, with refences to Factory Lines and other cultural signifiers seem from another age where the world was made very differently, where Britain still has a manufacturing industry and a society structure that has been, to all intents and purposes, dismantled by technology and finance. Even "Film Star", a formulaic stomp that, like all good Suede songs melds a sophisticated interpretation of indie-glam and intelligent, heartfelt wordplay roars like a beast ; one that predates Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" by over a decade.
Like all great artists, and all great bands, whilst there might be nothing but old material, this stuff still sounds relevant, still sounds now, for it connects with what it meants to be human, what it means to be alive, and sometimes, the core parts of that do not change, with love, hope, and the sense of bristling injustice that the world we live in often sells short our potential, and our beauty. A lyric like "I'm 18, and I need my heroine" seems desperately trite on the page, but when combined with the fierce music, it becomes the sound of a world we all remember, the raw, primal need of youth for acceptance and love. That, or a boatload of naughty druqs.
Suede were a great band out of step with the rest of the world, and that when the hype and bluster, fog, smoke and gasoline clears, what is left is silly, great songs about this silly, great thing called life we're all part of wether we like it or not. Fall in love all over again, for falling in love is easy, it's the staying there that counts.