Brett Anderson - Love Is Dead
Here's a sad tale - the other week I found myself in Fopp Records, Rugby, looking at the bargain racks. There, amid the usual discounted discs and "nice price" stickered albums, sat A New Morning by Suede, available for a quid. That’s right, you can snap up the last album by Brett Anderson's old band for about the same price as a can of coke and a Mars bar. And I must admit, something about that made me feel a little bit depressed; the effort, all that went into producing their album, reduced to a pound.
Ok, so A New Morning wasn't the best album ever, probably the worst of their output, but I still think that Suede were a pretty extraordinary band. Their debut excited and invigorated the music scene back in 1993 and its follow up, Dog Man Star, remains in my mind a wonderfully ambitious and engaging collection of songs, which sounds just as interesting today as it did then (something you can't say for Parklife). But in their dying days, it was evident that the magic had gone. It was sad to see Anderson howling his way through Love the Way You Love at Glastonbury, a frankly appalling song. And there was something about his performance that seemed to suggest that he knew it was rubbish too, that it was far from his best. The Tears made attempts to redeem this, with some success, but the feeling remained that Anderson was a long way from the artistic peaks of his past.
And now his solo album, proceeded by this single. And I am happy to report that it’s marvellous, stirring to life through mournful strings before Brett laments his lot and the absence of love in his life. Whilst his lyrical ability seems not to have changed an awful lot (singing about "the horrors" in his head and "plastic people"), the music is gentle and sad, with warmth and an honesty that the heavily produced albums that followed Dog Man Star lacked.
A review of the album, Brett Anderson, will follow shortly.