or : how i’m learning to stop worrying and start loving The Tears
like many pallid adolecents stranded in early ninieties suburbia suede were my teenage dream. they were the band i would wait forever outside a venue for, the band i talked to when no-one was looking, the band i would take a punch for.
more than a band: a badge. a gang. a gun.
pitched (at least by the music press if not by the band) somewhere between the smiths and bowie, suede were slimline, androgynous handclapping camp warapped around a concrete brick of satellite town frustration and anger. feyness with fuck you, if you like. looking at them now they were a bunch of unwashed, skinny arsed students – but back then – oh, the glamour!
suede were never political in the billy bragg sense of the word but always dealt squarely with he politics of the personal. whilst brett anderson’s millstone-like statement of bisexuality will no doubt be reprinted until his obituaries the real backbone of their gay politic came in fact from drummer simon gilbert (who publicly campaigned for the levelling of the age of consent). the body of anderson’s lyrics dealt instead with lonely housewives, desperate teenagers and council estate dads. not as psuedo-intellectual as the manics and without the overt humour of pulp, suede meant something.
the band that britpop forgot.
after five albums, some nasty drug habits and several changes of line-up it was no great shocker when they finally split up. the news however that brett was to form a new band with his original guitarist and writing partner bernard butler was – and also therefor rather exciting to say the very least. john and paul. bowie and ronson. mick and keef. morrisey and marr. brett and bernard.
of course it could only ever be a disappointment.
weirdly here comes the tears sounds far more like where suede left off without bernard than anything they did with the original lineup. or in fact anything new.too polite, too contained. the sound of two men trying not to piss each other off does not make good rock & roll.
well, i got new head phones and the sun is shining and somehow it all sounds so much better.
maybe it’s a sign i’m getting old when i start to notice things like ‘production quality’ but these things matter to me now. here come.. is a nice little album, and like a new morning is very short on imediate throat-grabbers but has several really nice growers that i’m now very fond of. nice little songs that sound good on a sunny day. in fact the songs that work best for me on the album are the little melodic pop songs like two creatures, lovers and refugees. no demon but a lot of animal soul.
i know that were they a band with no baggage that i had no expectations of i would probably really like them. it’s like meeting a teenage crush again when you are both all grown up. i have to put all that breathless teenage adoration out of my mind and just get along with them for who they are now and not who they used to be.
(but secretly, i still have my fingers crossed for a passionate fling with brett’s solo album)