100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #58 Suede – Animal Nitrate

Released: 1993

Patriotism is usually anathema to thinking musicians; often misinterpreted and easily hijacked, this made the rise of Britpop – inevitably capitalised on by New Labour – an even more remarkable phenomenon. This was especially so given that in Brett Anderson one of it’s leading lights deliberately cast himself as sexually androgynous and seemingly had a fondness for provoking the tabloids with stories of Bacchanalian excess.

Suede’s almost unprecedented rise was side showed as part Yanks Go Home, part internecine war, their success and Anderson’s prior relationship with Damon Albarn’s girlfriend Justine Frischmann driving the latter into an all consuming jealous pique. Regardless though of how contrived their singer’s effete was, the guitar work of Bernard Butler gave them a rockist, artisan strength which framed often provocative lyrics.

Animal Nitrate took that playfulness to the extreme and also the top ten, it’s canvass that of Anderson’s own spiraling drug use and the choices being out of control lead vulnerable people to. Accusations of the band as Bowie-copyists had been rife from the beginning, however here the Butler-as-Ronson criticisms wilted on a song which had an incandescent sensuality of it’s own. Suede were now in your front room, four sons of a new Albion where stiff upper lips were simply meant to be kissed.

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