This Suede article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblade
The Mercury Music Prize is a home for fantastic debut albums to thrive in. It gives already epic masterpieces a proverbial gold medal to prove it and this all rings true for Suede’s debut, ‘Suede’. Being awarded the Mercury Music Prize in 1993, only the second to receive this honour, Suede were, for some, the forbearers of the movement called “Britpop”.
With an album that has enough riff and bone to make your skeleton shake, it’s still one of the finest debuts of all time.
There is no doubt that Suede were deserved of this award. The shortlist for this year features many acts that have since faded from the memory of the general populous, with the select few who have actually survived the tests of time including PJ Harvey, Sting and of course New Order. The list contains a fair few stand out albums, PJ Harvey’s second foray ‘Rid Of Me’ and New Order ‘Republic’, but only one album could win and of all the records nominated, Suede had the strongest, not just debut, but album as a whole, and were most indicative of the future of British music. The rest of the shortlist paints a varied picture in true Mercury style, as well as the aforementioned PJ Harvey and New Order records you’ve also got the likes of Stereo MC’s ‘Connected’, Dina Carroll ‘So Close’ andThe Auteurs ‘New Wave’, to name but a quarter of this years contenders.
The album is almost a blur of synopsised guitar perfection, pairing the Bowie glam with The Smiths jangle. Both Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler vie for the attention of the listener while maintaining their own graces, at times mildly chaotic, there is enough going on to keep listeners vying for more. Lyrically the album comes as close as possible to being a time capsule for the nineties, covering a diverse range of topics. Animal Nitrate gives us a look into the drug craze of the period with chasing potential partners, while ‘Breakdown’ concerns depression, which was still at the time not considered a mental health issue.
The record from start to finish was a personal achievement, almost diary-like in it’s content for Anderson, who was co-chief songwriter along with Butler. This gives a whole new depth to which the songs go and in how they are perceived, it builds a personal relationship with the listener which just gives it that last little bit of concrete perfection.
Even listening back twelve years later, it’s still a record that could quite easily be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and that’s because it has the key ingredient a winning album needs and that is to be timeless.