Best tunes of 2002: #20 Suede “Lonely girls”

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In 1992, Suede (known as The London Suede here in North America) was seen as the “best new band in Britain” by many in the music press and this was before they had even released a full-length album. Ten years later, the band would release their fifth album, “A new morning”, so titled to signify that they were looking at it as a new start. The previous four albums had all done very well commercially in Suede’s native country. In fact, they were seen as one of Britpop’s big four, along with Blur, Pulp, and Oasis. However, the band’s frontman, Brett Anderson, had not been clean for much of the decade and described the difficult recording process for this fifth album as the only work that hadn’t been informed by heavy drug use. Unfortunately, for the group, it would go on record as their least successful, commercially and critically, an album they would later regret releasing and perhaps precipitated their dissolution.

Personally, I didn’t think “A new morning” all bad, a bit uneven and forced, perhaps, but it definitely had some good tracks. Never released as a single, “Lonely girls” is still one of my favourite latter day tunes from the band, even counting the ones on the three albums Suede has issued since reuniting in 2010. The lyrics of the song read almost like a response to The Nails’ classic “88 lines about 44 women”, except maybe with not so many lines and not so many women (or girls).

“Stephanie stares at the posters on the wall
Tina sits and waits for a telephone call
Maxine mixes alcohol with polythene and paint”

Brett Anderson is also not listing these women to brag of his sexual exploits or to remember past loves. This is a call out to loneliness and broken dreams and realizing that life is not necessarily what the glamour magazines are trying to sell us. It is all grown up, holding the scuzz and dirt at arms’ length. The rough and epic guitar rock of “Dog man star” seems like ages ago, Bernard Butler just a memory, and what we have left is the hip shaking arpeggios played on acoustic guitar, gentle washes of synths, and Anderson playing at sage adult, sharing wisdom earned in the gutters. The production is crisp and clean and almost too easy to listen to.

But I love it all the same.

Yup. It appeals to the same part of me that has me laughing along to every joke in a Hugh Grant rom com and I’m not afraid who knows it.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

 

Vinyl love: Suede “Coming up”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Suede
Album Title: Coming up
Year released: 1996
Year reissued: 2016
Details: Gatefold sleeve, Limited edition, 20th anniversary, 180 gram, Double LP, translucent yellow vinyl, numbered 324/1000

The skinny: Suede and their lead guitarist Bernard Butler parted ways in acrimony before the recording of their sophomore album, “Dog man star”, was completed. The band soldiered on, however, and had a new lineup and new sound for their third album, “Coming up”. The guitars were still present without Butler but they were just another layer of support for Brett Anderson’s vocals and lecherous lyrics. The album as a whole was glam-infused and club-worthy, and in the end, is now considered a britpop classic. This 20th anniversary reissue was the template upon which the 25th anniversary edition of the self-titled debut was based: coloured vinyl double LP, the second disc featuring the era’s B-sides.

Standout track: “Beautiful ones”

Vinyl love: Suede “Suede”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Suede
Album Title: Suede
Year released: 1993
Year reissued: 2018
Details: Gatefold sleeve, Limited edition, 25th anniversary, 180 gram, Double LP, silver vinyl, Record Store Day exclusive

The skinny: Along with Blur’s “Modern life is rubbish”, Suede’s debut, self-titled LP set the groundwork and etched out the blueprints for the Britpop phenomenon of the mid-1990s. The deadly duo of Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler made for sleazy and salacious glam rock, the likes of which we will never see again. This 25th anniversary silver edition comes with 9 B-side tracks released during the era on the second disc of the set, which spells bonus, any way you slice it.

Standout track: “The drowners”