Review of The Best Of Album by Suede

When Suede won the Mercury Prize with their 1993 self-titled debut it wouldn't have been bold to predict mega-stardom for them, but in amongst the Britpop bubble and member changes they didn't quite hit those heights. Having called it a day in 2003, the group reformed earlier this year and are currently touring Europe, leading up to a date at the O2 Arena in December.

Suede The Best Of Album

Having already released a compilation of their work (2003's 'Singles') it would be easy to suggest that this two disc collection is simply a cash in on the band's reunion. Certainly the first disc would support this, featuring a slightly different running order but pretty much the same content as the album from seven years previous. For newcomers though this is a great opportunity to discover how consistent the group were at producing hugely enjoyable guitar music; from earlier anthems such as 'Animal Nitrate' through to the commercially and critically acclaimed 'Trash'. Even toward the end of their story 'Can't Get Enough' showed Suede could still pack a punch, whilst 'She's In Fashion' displayed a breezy and mature tone that can simply be described as lush. Away from the commercial releases is where fans may find value in this release, with a second disc comprising of album tracks and B sides. From the hypnotic 'Europe Is Our Playground' to the acoustic gem that is 'The Living Dead', Suede continue a high quality output, with 'Pantomime Horse' being a particular highlight that features Brett Anderson at his titanic best. There are also opportunities to successfully experiment with shimmering orchestral arrangements ('Still Life') and to dabble in country on 'My Dark Star', all whilst continuing to very much retain their identity. A lack of new material means there is no evidence if this is to be continued, but certainly for younger music fans this collection is a great introduction to one of the most important British rock acts of the last two decades.

Alex Lai

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