Suede – Dog Man Star
(I’m back! And thank you x1,000,000 Starkravinglefty! Your comment literally made my week, whoever you are)
‘Dog Man Star’ is the work of a band who have spent an entire year being told they’re brilliant. Only a band injected with hyperbolic praise and worship could come up with a record this self-important. Pompous though it may be, it’s also ridiculously good at what it does. It sucks you into its little cinematic, paranoid world amid the wailing guitar solos, choruses more epic than Ben Hur on a date with Frodo Baggins and cinematic garnish, all of which is amazingly effective. In short, ‘Dog Man Star’ succeeds wherever ‘The Black Parade’ failed spectacularly – though it shouldn’t be thought that they’re in the same breed; ‘Dog Man Star’ is a heroic golden retriever, whereas ‘The Black Parade’ is the dog from Garfield after a severe head injury. Lyrics are pretty diverse and sometimes genuinely great (others genuinely not), all written in an LSD binge in an old hotel: car accidents, 1984-esque social unrest, movie stars and ecstasy-fuelled nights out are part of the package deal. Then there are the ballads which shouldn’t work, but they do and really well; pianos and full orchestras may be involved, but when Bret Anderson starts singing “Alone but not lonely, you and me” at the end of ‘The 2 Of Us’ you’ll melt a little bit. In fact, most of the album may be pretentiousness personified, but instead it just comes across as a wonderfully put-together, slightly over-ambitious rock record which may let its heart rule its head once in a while, but is generally spectacular. The clear highlight has to be the 9-minute ‘The Asphalt World’, an grimy psychedelic trip of bitterness, jealousy, sex, drugs and lesbianism, of which a coked-up David Bowie would have been very proud. This is the Ziggy Stardust for the 90’s.