You are a band on the rise, the audience pampers you, you have a fairly successful record behind you and everything in front of you. What can happen when a key member leaves you? There are basically two possibilities: either you wrap it up or you face it and try to wipe everyone’s eyes. Something like that happened to Suede before the release of “Coming Up.”
The London band Suede was able to mount the rising Britpop wave of the early 1990s, while still maintaining its more introverted face. The band broke through for the first few years, but in 1993 it was made an eponymous debut. A comparison to The Smiths, a completely positive review, number one in the British charts and with a gap in the top 100 of the list of the 500 best albums published by Rolling Stone magazine. But relations between musicians at that time were far from idyll. Tensions between the two most prominent personalities, singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler, eventually resulted in the other’s departure. At that time, they had already completed three-quarters of the recording of “Dog Man Star”. It finally came out in October 1994, and despite the praise of the critics, she did poorly and soon dropped out of the charts. The band was at a crossroads, the press basically wrote it off, the third album, as music history has shown in many cases, was to be crucial.
Expectations were all sorts (rather low, true), but Suede wanted to show that they didn’t belong in scrap metal yet. “The media basically threw us into a pile of settled quantities,” recalls Brett Anderson. “I remember thinking in response to this style of thinking: We’ll show you. That was the main impulse.”
In September 1994, the young Richard Oakes took over as guitarist. “The front page said Suede was looking for a new guitarist. So I risked it and sent them a tape and a letter. I didn’t expect him to answer me, but they called me. They invited me to a rehearsal and it was all over. “ tells. Luck smiled on the band in this case, Oakes was an extremely talented player who managed to replace Butler more than well. He became fluent with the others on tour for the previous series “Dog Man Star” and gradually began to create his own material. At that time, however, only in a drawer, plans for an album at that time did not employ the band at all. It wasn’t until the second half of 1995 that the idea started, and the idea was clear: away with complicated, multi-layered compositions. The novelty will be straightforward, pop. “Just ten hits and a skirmish,” such was the idea of Brett Anderson.
Self-confident, the musicians rushed into filming, and the already well-established Oaks proved to be a key figure. He wrote most of the songs, including the hits “Trash”, “Lazy” and “Filmstar”, and the lyrics were added by Anderson. “Most of the songs were made in a home environment where we only played acoustic guitars,” describes the origins of “Coming Up” bassist Mal Osman. “Like we’re sixteen seventeen again.”
And the rebirth of Suede began to change beyond recognition. “I wanted it to be completely different from the last record, which was very dark. I wanted the record to communicate and be understandable.” the singer was heard in an interview after the release of the result. He also got two things, “Lazy” and “By The Sea”, which Anderson wrote in the band’s early years. The material was created this time, unlike in earlier times, when Anderson wrote lyrics to Butler’s music, much more teamwork. Although their group, longtime producer Ed Buller, was with the band in the studio, Dave Bascombe became the key figure in the finals, mixing most of the record. And it was he who convinced the musicians to speed up some of the songs, giving them a bigger swing. The darker echoes of the past, such as the song “Young Man”, disappeared from the collection and ended up as B-sides singles. The challenge was a more pop sound, at virtually any cost. But at the same time do not lose your face. Even that succeeded, among other Britpop formations such as The Verve or Blur, Suede still sounds recognizable and original. Their transformation was surprisingly well received by some critics (some “Coming Up” compared to “David Bowie’s” Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars) “, but especially the British and Europeans, respectively. Compared to the British, Swedish and Danish number and significant successes in the Nordic countries, this is a slightly worse position. “They’ve gone completely crazy in Scandinavia. Maybe because they’re all depressing sex maniacs or something,” commented on surprising locations at the top of the charts in the Nordic countries of Anderson. Completing the success of this achievement, let it be ranked among the top ten albums of the year by the leading British music magazines Melody Maker, Q, The Select, Hot Press and The Face. When you wipe your eyes, so be it.
Another part of the behind-the-scenes look at “Coming Up” is offered by another part of the BBC Famous Albums television series, which was broadcast by ČT art on Friday 14 January. In a week, the series will continue with the story of two major studios of Canadian progrock stars Rush – “2012” and “Moving Pictures”.
A series of articles is created in cooperation with Czech Television.
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