Singles & EPs
By the mid-’90s, Britpop was inextricably intertwined with lad culture, football jerseys, and Union Jack-waving nationalism. But the movement was actually born in an explosion of glitter, androgyny, and misfit deviance—all thanks to Suede. Formed in 1989 and fronted by the magnetically waifish Brett Anderson, the London group hip-checked grunge off the covers of the British weeklies with an earthquaking barrage of singles (”The Drowners,” “Metal Mickey,” “Animal Nitrate”) that injected a healthy dose of Bowie-worthy glamour and clamor into a UK indie scene otherwise preoccupied with gazing at its shoes. Playing like an instant greatest-hits collection, the band’s 1993 self-titled debut triggered a media maelstrom that would swallow up countless other retro-minded guitar bands—including Suede cofounder Justine Frischmann’s new outfit, Elastica—into the cultural colossus known as Britpop. But with their 1994 follow-up, Dog Man Star, Suede distanced themselves from the lager-swilling madness with a brooding cinematic song cycle that revealed all the emotional turmoil behind their decadent facade. That album would mark the climax of Anderson’s embattled creative partnership with his Ronson-esque foil, guitarist Bernard Butler, who left the band before the album was completed. However, the singer continued to lead Suede to the top of the charts with sassy releases like 1996’s Coming Up and 1999’s Head Music. After breaking up in 2003, Suede made a dramatic comeback with 2013’s Bloodsports, setting the stage for a fruitful second act that’s seen these former exemplars of the live-fast/die-young lifestyle evolve into sober elder statesmen warning us of our most dangerous desires.