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The term in music- ‘difficult second album’ is an understatement when it comes to Suede and their follow-up to the Mercury Music prize winning self-titled album. By all accounts that debut plus the hype surrounding it, single-handedly kick started the ‘Brit-Pop’ phase of the nineties music scene. The follow up album titled Dog Man Star was a creation born in the eye of a storm. A musical statement which reflected the condition of a band after they are thrown very quickly onto that pedestal of importance where bands like The Smiths and New Order dwell. The first band to reach the front cover of Melody Maker, as they crossed from the alternative rock, breaking the musical barrier into the mainstream.
Their sophomore Dog Man Star is an artistic statement of hunger. With this album the band fought band against all the odds, including that very Brit-Pop movement they detonated, the media who fell out of love with the outfit. And finally, they fought against each other, as the abyss of self-destruction beckoned. The inner-tensions within the band over creative differences, no doubt a result of pressure to always hit that mark of perfection, aided a spiraling descent into drug addiction. This lead to the exit of guitarist, and key contributor Bernard Butler. Most bands would implode, calling it a day, but the faith and drive of the remaining members, including vocalist Bernard Butler, is evident in one of the finest albums released in that era. One, which unlike so many of the day has aged so gracefully, although the miracle it got finished and released is always an overwhelming factor.
The music is dark, the themes sway between a desolate future to the hope of climbing out of despair to find survival in the light. An opinion has always been that Dog Man Star is in essence a concept album, although never officially confirmed that fact which is left entirely up to the listener’s own interpretation. Although the album flows with a continuity that is seldom seen, starting with the opener “Introducing The Band”. This statement of reaffirmation, heralded a new chapter in Suedes career. The Bowie-Glam sound was all but diminished as on their debut, and instead they produced a more piano-based, soulful offering.
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