Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Thursday, November 06, 2003
Suede split up. I can't say I've cared too much about their last couple of albums (Head Music was truly awful) but at their peak they were a truly exciting band who changed music in the 1990s.

My siblings and I had the privilege of seeing them in London at the height of Suedemania, at an AIDS charity benefit "directed" by Derek Jarman. We sat in a box and drank champagne while Bernard furiously rocked out and Brett slapped his arse with the microphone. The whole scene was a thrilling refutation of grunge's oppressive dominance. The crowd were going bonkers and it was the first time I'd ever seen the walls of a venue sweat.

Bernard Butler left after the second record, and lot of the ambition went with him. He's still my favorite living guitarist, although he's never found the right venue for his talents. Brett turned out to be a bit of a one-trick pony -- his lyrical lexicon appears to consist of "star", "electric", "pills", "flash", "trash", and "chemicals" -- but that evocative (if limited) vocabulary is what allowed the band to create such vivid songs. Suede injected melody, charisma and excitement back into British music, ushering in the Britpop era. They meant a lot to me for a few years. Cheers, lads.

Suede, dogmanstar, and Sci-Fi Lullabies are the ones to get, although Coming Up has its share of good songs as well.


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