Strangelove – love and other demons

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Part 42 of a series that will run the last Friday of each month throughout 2013 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

The mid 90’s were a glorious time to be a music junkie. The Britpop era was in full force and it seemed like every week there was another new band or record that was a “must have”. These were the days before Itunes, torrents, and Bandcamp made it easy to discover new bands and download new songs almost instantly. My routine would usually consist of driving to Siren Records in Doylestown, PA to see if they had what I was looking for. If they didn’t have what I needed, I’d cruise up I-95 until I arrived at the exit for the Princeton Record Exchange. Once I was inside the corridors of the record store, time seemed to stop. I’d wander endlessly (after trading in a ridiculous amount of CD’s for credit, of course). If I didn’t have something in mind, I’d check each CD’s cover art to see if I could figure out what kind of music was waiting for me. And this is the story of how I discovered Strangelove – one of the 50 bands or so that live in my “top 5 of all time” (something like that).

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Suede – Beautiful Ones

Suede-Beautiful-Ones-89731

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores lesser known tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

It is absurd to call this track a “lesser known” track – to those in the know, that is. To most of the American music audience Suede are unfortunately all but unknown (and even then, they are known as The London Suede). The album this track is taken from, Coming Up, was released in 1996 at the beginning of the end of the Britpop era (the nail in the coffin would come in 1997 with the release of Be Here Now by Oasis). To me this song sounds British, it sounds Pop, but it doesn’t necessarily sound “Britpop”. On the previous record, Dog Man Star, Suede excelled at dramatic songs with overwrought string arrangements. Memorable and eerie guitar refrains were provided by Bernard Butler. By 1996 Butler had left the band and there was a real question whether Suede could carry on – and if they could, would be they be any good? It was a DIFFERENT Suede, that’s for sure, but the 1st record of the era is one of my favorites by the band. This single in particular always brings a smile to my face and brings me back to the carefree days of youth. It peaked at #8 on the UK charts and didn’t chart at all in the US. Smile and sing along with Brett Anderson to these lyrics:

High on diesel and gasoline, psycho for drum machine
shaking their bits to the hits,
Drag acts, drug acts, suicides, in your dad’s suits you hide
staining his name again,
Cracked up, stacked up, 22, psycho for sex and glue
lost it to Bostik, yeah,
Shaved heads, rave heads, on the pill, got too much time to kill
get into bands and gangs