The London Suede are Back w/ Impassioned New Single ‘She Still Leads Me On’

Above image by Dean Chalkley

The sheer zeitgeist-defining awesomeness of Britpop also arguably assured its doom, as its main players captured that moment in British cultural history so sublimely perfectly as to end up ultimately trapped inside of it. Though Oasis did a pretty noble job of carrying on until August of 2009.

From a media standpoint Suede were very much swept up into it – but they could not have possibly been further afield from the Britpop ideology. Indeed, while Blur and Pulp were making snarky but incisive observations on the botherations of late 20th Century Western life, Brett Anderson and Co. were relaying tales of suburban smack addiction that blew upon the nuclear winds, whilst utterly perfecting that ever elusive “trash glamour” ethos that had always made really great rock & roll truly worth caring about.

Of course, the Suede of 1994 was also not an easy thing to maintain, especially as it required penning lyrics like, “And as the smack cracks at your window / You wake up with a gun in your mouth” and genuinely meaning it. But returning in 2010 after a seven-year hiatus, they proved more than up to the task of forwarding a more, uh, grownup version of the once wondrously decadent glam-o-rama that was their pre-Millennial incarnation. And their fourth new longplayer since their reformation is due this September, with Brett promising it to be, “…our punk record, no whistles and bells. Just the five of us in a room with all the glitches and fuck-ups revealed; the band themselves exposed in all their primal mess.”

And really, that’s all we’ve ever wanted from Suede Mach II – the lovely, primal mess. The title Autofiction itself may actually capture this essence perfectly, as it refers to a fiction based on the truth – which has always seemed to be the storytelling modus operandi of choice for Mr. Anderson.

The lead single, ‘She Still Leads Me On’, was debuted and livestreamed from Brussels’ Cirque Royal this past Monday – we actually know from firsthand experience how much the Belgians love Suede – and we’ve had it on repeat ever since. Most startlingly for a chap who still so skillfully knows his way around tales of doomed romance, the song is instead a deeply touching tribute to his late mum, with Brett trading all those clever metaphors for a candid, heart-tugging encomium to her memory.

“I loved her
With my last breath
And I loved her with a love that was strong as death
And I loved her
When she was unkind
And I loved her, I loved her, a dangerous mind

Sometimes when I look up at the sky
She leads me on
She still leads me on
Sometimes when I stare up at the ceiling
She leads me on
She still leads me on”

The music absolutely soars with an appropriately fitting intensity; and he delivers the words with such an unbridled fervor and sincerity as to surely make certain that wherever Mama Anderson may be right now, she has just been decisively reminded of her very talented son’s eternal love for and devotion to her.

Oh, and yes, for legal reasons they’re known as The London Suede in the US. But we’d make a safe bet that Brett’s mum doesn’t care a whit about such things.

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