Thursday, June 07, 2007

Suede's Aesthetics

The erstwhile Suede has always represented the dark underbelly of the Brit-pop phenomenon. While their erstwhile contemporaries chose either to indulge in arch art-pop or loutish Dad-rock, Suede took a decidedly different route by exploring the seedier facets of late-millennium Britain.

Frontman Brett Anderson's narrative lyrics took stock of non-politically correct subjects like chronic drug abuse, urban loneliness, mental breakdowns and the like, framing them in his theatrical, yelping vocals and obliquely dramatic, at times delirious melodies. At the same time, guitar prodigies Bernard Butler and Richard Oakes crafted scorching, powerhouse lead riffs, and the rhythm section of Mat Osman and Simon Gilbert provided a reliable, rock-solid underpinning. This, mixed together with a healthy dose of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie glam-rock and Smiths-informed pop aesthetics, made for a highly addictive brand of alternative rock.

Here are several different examples of Suede's versatility, ranging from aggressive metallic assaults ("Metal Mickey"), and apocalyptic, widescreen atmospherics ("Stay Together"), to stately, darkly melodramatic ballads ("The Wild Ones") and sparkling, exuberant pop fizz ("Beautiful Ones").


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