Sunday, November 1, 2015

Underrated Classic: Suede 'Dog Man Star'

Twenty on years ago, Suede blew the lid off what people were beginning to believe was Britpop while the genre was in its infancy. The English band released their landmark second record, Dog Man Star, a record that took more influence from David Bowie, Prince, The Smiths, Joy Division than The Stone Roses or Sex Pistols. It was darker. It was fiercer. Most of all, it was brilliant. The record was made in London during an interesting time for the band as singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler whose mounting tensions with one another would see Butler leave the band after the album was made. The tension could be felt within the record as the themes of most of the songs deals with that motif. Critic Neil Strauss said in his New York Times piece on the album that it is when "glam-rock met art rock." When Dog Man Star was released in October '94, it took a while for it to become a commercial success in the UK but was an immediate hit with critics. The record never really took off in the U.S., which seems to echo Suede's career across the pond. The band have released magical albums that have been appreciated by American critics and an audience here that never gets the attention they deserve from the band. Yet, looking back on the album as Suede get ready to release their latest next year, it is a record that laid out the mark for what dark, moody, sexual art rock could and should be.