[The London] Suede / Sci-Fi Lullabies


Sci-Fi Lullabies (2 Cd-Set)Sci-Fi Lullabies is a compilation album by English alternative rock band Suede, consisting of B-sides from the singles that were released from the band’s first three albums. The album is a favourite among fans and is considered by many critics to be Suede’s best collection of songs and one of the greatest of the B-sides and rarities genre.

The Analysis: Disc One

My Insatiable One—-Long one of my favorite Suede songs, I still find it hard to believe that this was released as a B-Side. This release, as a whole, stacks up higher than most of the other Suede material all put together. Anderson and Butler crafted this song with finesse and emotion. The vocals are excellent and the trademark suede guitar sound is well in tact. This is stellar. I love how the vocals lyrics are very asexual only feeding into the media frenzy around the band’s preferences.

To The Birds—-Coming out of the quiet, the Butler guitar is magnificent. Anderson enters with a sedate yet somehow incredibly sexy vocal full of abstract lyrics and pleasant pop musings. This is a huge song…even though it is delivered in a mostly sedate manner. This band is still one of my favorites from the emerging Britpop era…this is a prime example of why.

Where The Pigs Don’t Fly—-Wow…I just love the hell out of this song….it would be a real chore to find something negative to say about the whole damn masterful thing. Anderson delivers a vocal that is just soaring beauty…the melancholy musical delivery fitting the lyrics and mood perfectly. The chorus is a flitting piece of masterful pop musings….this is beautiful, powerful and classic all at the same time…all the while being full of innuendo and double entendres.

He’s Dead—-With this song, the band returns to the slight fuzzy sound that made the first two records so appealing to me. Butler manages to produce a sound from his guitar that was signature…you can tell a Suede song when you hear the opening strains from his guitar. Anderson delivers another vocal that rises above all of the clutter is a clear and pristine delivery that is as asexual as his onstage persona. This is fantastic…and these are B-Sides?

The Big Time—-Slow and sedate, this has a remarkable melody line that is instrumentally delivered masterfully. Anderson delivers a vocal that is much more evenly paced…at a lower register but full of emotion and wanting. This is powerful music…it is too bad that this band imploded when it did…this is genius material. This is so sedate and beautiful…I have goosebumps everywhere!!!

High Rising—-Beginning with some sort of organ sound and some quasi orchestration, Anderson enters with a vocal that is rather low for him…but emotional and loaded none the less. this is another of those tracks that gives a funeral and sedate delivery that leaves you hurting a bit inside…wondering where all of this inspiration comes from. This is brilliant pop music that most of this country missed out on. When the end of this song begins…well, you have to hear it to appreciate the mastery and the elegance….GOSH!!!

The Living Dead—-Delivered with just an acoustic guitar at the onset, Anderson delivers lyrics that are steeped with Drug use…perhaps autoboigraphical? This is haunting and a bit empty…but that only serves to make the song even more powerful. The simple acoustic guitar and piano creates an atmosphere that leaves you devesated….wow!

My Dark Star—-This has a great rhythm section sound to the song…the percussive nature of the song creates an entirely new kind of mood…delivered with a slight edge that seems to wrap itself around Brett’s vocal. This is one of the first songs I can really remember his actually using the word ‘she’! The chorus is this huge addictive affair that leaves you with mixed emotions…the music and the melody is uplifting and inspiring…the words are sad and poignant. Masterfully done!

Killing Of A Flash Boy—-Beginning with a nice bombastic drum intro, this song digs itself out of the melancholy of the past few songs and is flat-out more aggressive and delivered with a nice urgency. The vocal is much more accessible and I wonder and question why the hell this was a B-side….thinking that the band sold itself short with a lot of these extra recordings…they all could have been A-sides and continued the domination on the british charts for quite sometime. This is great!

Whipsnade—-This is nicely layered with typical Suede sounds that remain consistent as exactly what you expect and require from the band. This has some spectacular melodies…the overlayed vocals allow the song to be even larger than you anticipated. The guitars are present but understated…allowing the vocal to be moved to the front of the mix. This is wonderful!

Modern Boys—-Lush and sounding like a soundtrack song to me. Brett enters with his vocal and delivers a sexy and lazy vocal that is sexy and seductive. This is lush with sounds and reminds me of very early Bowie songs…back when he was still David Jones And The Lower Third….to me, the Bowie influence is all over these songs. This is excellent.

Together—-Returning to a much more brash and guitar based sound, Brett delivers a vocal that sounds like it was recorded with a megaphone. This is not a bad thing…there is great comfort in variation. This has a chorus that is so damn addictive…I played this three times in a row before I could move on. The sound leaves you feeling elated and energized….just as music should!!!

Bentswood Boys—-Returning to a more sedate sound, Brett manages to paint a remarkable landscape with his lyrics….giving you goosebumps at the gritty British portrait that is painted by his words. the gentle music that accompanies the song only adds to the loneliness of the track. This is brilliant. I really miss this band!!!

Europe Is Our Playground—-With lots of airiness and atmosphere, the first disc of this collection closes out with a great song and leaves you salivating for the next disc. Brett delivers a vocal that is haunting and layered with a remarkable beauty that is only accentuated by the gentle and light music. The drums are nice on this song…and moved to the very front of the mix…this is fantastic, mood music that still sounds as fresh as it did in 1997.

Disc Two:

Every Monday Morning Comes—-This is another of those B-sides that makes me question the sanity of the band…why was this not released as a single? Delivered from the onset in the typical and expected Suede manner, the chorus hits and smacks you in the face with a sense of pure brilliance. the song carries a nice element of the 60’s in its sound. The track is huge and the chorus raises it to a whole other level…this is superb.

Have You Ever Been This Low—-Beginning with a nice Butler feedback introduction, the song emerges with a much more sedate percussive track that lies on top of the fuzzy guitar in a remarkable and ingenious way. Butler flits back and forth between a lower vocal and a nice falsetto…always keeping you guessing. The lyrics are heart-breaking…speaking to me of depression and the effects that it has on your psyche and the emptiness that it produces. This is remarkable!!!’

Another No One—-The band….well Brett inparticular….delivers another heart wrenching track that reeks of loneliness and desolation. Again, Brett confuses the fan base by appealing to ‘her’ and ‘she’. The lyrics are loaded with hurtful feelings and loneliness brough on by sudden collapses in relationships. This reaches right in your chest and rips your heart out…with no apologies…remarkable!

Young Men—-Returning to full on Butler guitar mastery, this again has a nice level of fuzz and enthusiasm that only he could produce with his guitar. This is nice, but remains largely unremarkable…even with a catchy chorus, this is just average for me…I still love the fuzz and the slight aggression that the track is delivered with.

The Sound Of The Streets—-Delivered with a charming acoustic sound at the onset, Butler brings a bit of life to the song with a slight underlying electricity in the song. Brett produces a trademark vocal…full of vivid lyrics and a chorus that again is so damn catchy I question how this ever ended up as a B-side. The song again, carries a slight 60’s psychedelic feel to it…this is brilliant!

Money—-As electric and aggressive as anything on this release, this never really found a place with me…it almost seems out-of-place on this release surrounded by all of the subtle beauty that has been put on display thus far…but that is the direction that the band decided to take by the time the third release came to pass…so this should not be a surprise. To me….this is a B-side.

W.S.D.—-This has some really exceptional drums and some electronic noises that surprises even me. Brett enters with his vocal and it is pretty much average and predictable. This is such a gay song though….speaking of cross dressers and the art of Drag Queens. This is an interesting track….but kind of falls flat for me…there seems to be a real emotional disconnect. I’m just sayin’.

This Time—-Lush and with a poignant musical sound, the mood is already set even before the vocal even begins. The gentle acoustic strains of the guitar wrap around you like a fuzzy balnket…the sedate drums are just enough to set the pace for the track. The melody of the song is well intact before Anderson even begins to sing…when he does enter, it is almost an intrusion into the gentle mood that you were feeling. The vocal is lower in range and fits the music wonderfully well though and it becomes a huge and wonderful track that sucks you in and makes you play it a few times before you move on to the next track…this is another of those truly magical moments.

Jumble Sale Mums—-Delivering more rather sedate music, the track really comes alive at times…giving you huge hopes for a giant chorus that never really seems to develop. none the less, this is classic later day Suede…delivered with consistency and though provoking lyrics.

These Are The Sad Songs—-Butler returns with another really trademark and fuzzy guitar intro that allows you a nice break from the more sedate sounds of the past few tracks. This is nicely electric and shows Brett singing in perhaps the lowest register I have ever heard him deliver a vocal. The chorus is slow to develop, but when it does, this is a classic Suede display…this band knew how to construct huge song and deliver them with practise and mastery.

Sadie—-Anderson again surprises with his vocal…delivered in a low register that is accented by overlayed harmonies that gives the song a nice fresh sound…this is superb. When the chorus hits, the fuzz seems to drop away and the song is a nice track full of lyrical and musical clarity. This is great!

Graffiti Women—-More gentle acoustic guitars introduce the track and a slight electronic sound runs through the backdrop of the song. The drums are really pronounced on this song…allowing the band to have a firm seat in the sound. the vocal…surprisingly seems to be pushed to the back of the song…the percussion is more in the fore front than on any track I can remember. This is nice, but not even close to the material on the early part of this release…this sounds like a B-Side.

Duchess—-With the most minimal musical soundtrack at the onset of the song, the vocal is right in your face and is delivered in a morose and funeral way. This is wonderfully harmonious and the keyboards slowly become louder as the song progresses. This is quite a send-off for the end of the release…reminding you again of the lyrical power of the band and the masterful vocals of Anderson….just beautiful!

****3/4 out of 5

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