Taking on the role of leader is a big job for anyone. Along with being able to sing in the right key of the song, you need to make sure you’re electric every time you take the stage and are able to keep the audience glued to you, no matter the cost. So imagine doing that…back when rock stars were a dirty word.
At the time or ironically, grunge fashion wasn’t exactly friendly to its major rock star presences, with most 80s heavy hitters becoming more stale by the minute. For those who managed to weather the storm, the decade was about to be incredible, from the return of the mighty leaders of yesteryear to the Britpop movement slowly gaining ground in the heartland of England.
Once the second wave of rock and roll kicked into high gear at the end of the decade, it felt like the whole state of rock music had woken up and was just as willing to see where the next era of rock music was going to take us. As long as we had these people as spokespersons for our generation, everything seemed to be going well.
The alternative revolution was not so favorable to the concept of leader. Unless you’re willing to put your life on the line like Eddie Vedder, the kind of macho posturing that prevailed in the ’80s was long gone. Once the Britpop movement took off again, we had a man straight out of the post punk world with Brett Anderson.
Again, it’s a mistake to classify Suede’s sound as completely Britpop after all. When you listen to tracks from Dog Man Star, you can hear Brett channeling some of the most epic sounds from someone like U2, even though Bono was more eager to talk about his drug addiction. Considering that was when the hardest thing on the scene was probably Green Day, it was the homecoming that no one really saw coming.
And Brett hasn’t let that kind of spark fade with age, either. As Suede continues, you can hear him settle into his natural baritone, which makes his sound much more seductive. When he switches to falsetto, you can almost feel like you’re floating in the air for a few seconds before his words bring you back down to earth. It might be a little rough around the edges, but Suede’s decades-long journey comes from everything Brett has worked on his instrument.