Dog Man Star
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Dog Man Star

Dog Man Star
Dog man star.jpg
Studio album by
Released10 October 1994
Recorded22 March-26 July 1994
Studio
  • Master Rock in London
  • CTS in London (orchestra)
Genre
Length57:50
LabelNude
ProducerEd Buller
Suede chronology
Suede
(1993)
Dog Man Star
(1994)
Coming Up
(1996)
Singles from 'Dog Man Star'
  1. "We Are the Pigs"
    Released: 12 September 1994
  2. "The Wild Ones"
    Released: 7 November 1994
  3. "New Generation"
    Released: 30 January 1995

Dog Man Star is the second album by English alternative rock band Suede, released in October 1994 on Nude Records. The album was recorded in London at Master Rock studios in early 1994, and was produced by Ed Buller. It was the last Suede album to feature guitarist Bernard Butler; growing tensions between him and singer Brett Anderson ended with Butler leaving the band before recording was complete. As a result, some tracks on the album had to be finished with the assistance of session musicians.

Described by Rolling Stone as "one of the most pretentious albums ever released by a major label,"[1] the record was viewed as being very out-of-step with the mainstream music scene, chronicling the band as they separated from the "Britpop pack".[2] In contrast to the debut album Suede, which exhibited the influences of David Bowie and the Smiths,[3]Dog Man Star exhibits a more various aesthetic and draws from a wider range of influences. Although it did not sell on the same scale as its predecessor, it reached number three on the UK Albums Chart and was certified as gold by the BPI in November 1994.[4]

The album was greeted with predominantly enthusiastic reviews but muted commercial response.[5] Reviews in the UK were very positive, while reviews in the US were mixed. Nevertheless, it is now considered by many to be Suede's masterpiece.[6][7][8][9] On release it was relatively unknown in the mainstream, although the album has over time garnered universal acclaim from critics.[10] In the decade between Suede's 2003 separation and the release of Bloodsports, Dog Man Star steadily gained a strong following as a classic album. In October 2013, NME magazine placed the album at number 31 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[11]

Background

In early 1994, when Suede were about to release the standalone single "Stay Together", the morale within the group was at an all-time low. Butler's father had died just as the band were about to begin their second American tour. The first week of the tour was cancelled, and Suede flew back to London from New York. When the tour did resume, Butler--not only recently bereaved but now engaged to his fiancée Elisa--distanced himself from the rest of the band far more than before. According to Butler, "they got really resentful of the fact that they were on tour with someone who didn't want to party".[12] He even travelled separately, either alone, by taxi, or on the tour bus of support act the Cranberries. Then in Atlanta, Suede suffered the disappointment of having to open for the Cranberries,[13] who had been given a friendlier reception than the headliners and had received support from MTV as well.[5] By their arrival in New York, they had had enough and the last few dates were cancelled. According to drummer Simon Gilbert, Butler was becoming intolerable and impossible to work with, and the band could not function together any longer.[13] To record Suede's next album Anderson moved to Highgate, North London and began to write lyrics influenced by heavy drugs while living in a secluded Victorian mansion;[14] a time which is detailed in the band biography Love and Poison.

The album was later described by writer Nick Duerden as "the most pompous, overblown British rock record of the decade".[15] Anderson has said that its overblown sound was down to his use of psychedelic drugs: "I was doing an awful lot of acid at the time, and I think it was this that gave us the confidence to push boundaries."[15] He has also said that he thrived on the surreal environment he lived in at the time; next door were a sect known as the Mennonites, who would often sing hymns during Anderson's drug binges.[16] After the success of their debut album, Suede were hailed as the inventors of Britpop, something they were proud of for a short while. However, Britpop started to be dominated by the other bands, notably Blur, Oasis and Pulp. This disgusted Anderson, who called Britpop "a musical Carry On film."[15] Fearing he was on a collision course of becoming a celebrity, Anderson deliberately distanced himself from the scene, which prompted his relocation to Highgate.[16] "We could not have been more uninterested in that whole boozy, cartoon-like, fake working-class thing", the singer said in 2008. "As soon as we became aware of it, we went away and wrote Dog Man Star. You could not find a less Britpop record. It's tortured, epic, extremely sexual and personal. None of those things apply to Britpop."[17]

Recording and production

The album was recorded between 22 March and 26 July 1994 at Master Rock Studios, Kilburn, London. The rehearsals were very tense and would inevitably split the band into two separate camps. Butler had his own agenda and he frequently clashed with the rest of the band and producer Ed Buller, over whom he had concerns during the recording of the first album. According to Buller, Butler and the rest of the band were not in the studio together once during recording, perhaps only for a matter of hours.[18] Butler seemed to antagonise his bandmates further when he appeared on the front cover of Vox magazine under the tag line "Brett drives me insane."[19] The interview explained how Butler liked to improvise and how Anderson made this impossible because of his slow ways of working, and his obsession with rock stardom.[5] A despondent Anderson remembers reading the article the same morning he was recording the vocals for "The Asphalt World": "I remember trying to channel all this hurt that I was feeling and the iciness I was feeling into the vocal."[20] Butler later apologised to Anderson over the incident. Musical differences over "The Asphalt World" triggered the next dispute. The version that made it on to the album lasts for nine minutes 25 seconds, but according to bass player Mat Osman, Butler's initial creation was a 25-minute piece with an eight-minute guitar solo.[21]

Osman felt that Butler's compositions were too audacious and experimental: "Lots of the musical ideas were too much. They were being rude to the listener: it was expecting too much of people to listen to them."[21] The original extended version was in fact 18 minutes long and had to be cut in half (although this long version was, according to Anderson, composed in pre-production and featured only guitar and drums, and was intended to be edited; hence the original version is just over 11 minutes long). Butler had been writing lots of additional minor pieces, and was absorbed in complex arrangements. He was interested in progressive rock, and during this time appeared in a BBC programme about Pink Floyd.[22] The extended "Asphalt World" and the experimental ending for "The Wild Ones" were borne out of this affinity. Both would later appear in the 2011 expanded edition. The arguments over "The Asphalt World" spilled over on to the rest of the album, as Butler became progressively more dissatisfied with Ed Buller's production. In a 2005 interview, the guitarist maintained his position on the matter, stating that Buller "made a terrible shoddy job of it".[23] Butler wanted Buller dismissed, allowing him to produce the record by himself.

It was later revealed that Butler had recommended Chris Thomas as their producer. Thomas was more experienced and had previously worked with punk rock bands The Pretenders and the Sex Pistols; however, Suede's label Nude Records dismissed the idea, saying he was too expensive.[24] Nude's owner Saul Galpern claimed that the guitarist became impossible to reason with and also made threats to him and Buller. Buller claims he received phone calls where he heard something akin to scratching knives.[25] Butler issued the band and their management an ultimatum: either they sacked Buller, or he would walk out.[21] The rest of the band refused to comply with Butler's demands and decided to let him walk out before the record was finished. Butler insisted he was kicked out of the band, as he turned up to the studio one day to find he was not allowed in. He went back the next day to pick up his guitar, and was told through the intercom that his guitar would be left in the street for him.[26] Suede's manager Charlie Charlton made a final attempt to reach consensus between the two parties; however, during a tense phone conversation the final words Butler uttered to Anderson were along the lines of "you're a fucking cunt".[23][26]

Butler left the sessions on 8 July, leaving Dog Man Star some distance from completion. Anderson had recorded little more than a string of guide vocals; several songs did not have titles; much of the music was still to be embossed with overdubs.[26] One notable song, "The Power", did not feature a part from Butler; a session guitarist was invited to play his demo note for note instead.[27] Anderson offered to play acoustic guitar.[18] Buller and the remaining members succeeded in completing the record. Butler did finish some of his guitar parts; however, he refused to do it at Master Rock and instead used another studio where he could work on his own.[28] This is where he made a contractual contribution to "Black or Blue".[22] Anderson discovered a covert backing vocal on the song, which he recalled: "I can't remember the exact words but it sounded vaguely threatening."[29] Among the post-Butler additions was a reworked ending to "The Wild Ones", replacing the four-minute extended outro; an orchestral coda on "Still Life"; and the aforementioned guitar parts on "The Power", which Butler criticised.[30] Butler became a harsh critic of the album, not just from a production standpoint, but the overall musicianship.

He cites lack of commitment in the studio and the band's unwillingness to challenge his elaborate ideas as his main criticism: "I just heard too many times, 'No, you can't do that'. I was sick to death of it. I think it's a good record, but it could have been much better."[31] On the other hand, Buller has stated that the recording process had some "happy accidents" while the tape was running. Butler recorded separately from the rest of the band in a purpose-built lounge. There was a TV in the lounge and Butler can be heard tuning the TV at the beginning of "The Asphalt World".[18] At the end of the song, Butler can be heard changing channels and picking up a section of dialogue from Lauren Bacall from the film Woman's World.[9] Buller also talked of the impromptu recording of Butler playing the intro to "The Wild Ones" on a dobro outside as he sat on the roof of his car.[18][9] Osman and Buller share similar views on the final recordings. For example, Buller described "Still Life" as being "over-the-top"; he said "New Generation" was in the wrong key, and that its drums and mix were "appalling".[18] Osman stated that he regretted the addition of the orchestra on "Still Life" but understood the appeal of it; and he criticised the production of "New Generation", saying the song "suffers from the murkiness of the mix".[32]

Influences and themes

"We were competing with the great records of the past; that's what we had to prove with it. I was trying to write without any boundaries. I was living in a bizarre house in north London, taking lots and lots of hallucinogenic drugs, and writing in a stream of consciousness about anything I wanted and pushing myself as an artist. Dog Man Star is a real testament to what you can create when you want to push yourself as far as you can go."

 - Brett Anderson reflecting on Dog Man Star in 2011.[33]

Writing for The New York Times, Neil Strauss said: "Dog Man Star looks back to the era when glam-rock met art rock, with meticulously arranged songs sung with a flamboyance reminiscent of David Bowie and accompanied by anything from a 40-piece orchestra to an old Moog synthesizer."[34] The Bowie influence was still omnipresent, however, unlike their debut, Suede focused on a darker and more melodramatic sound.[14] Some critics compared the record to Diamond Dogs.[35][36] With many noting "The Power" as the most obvious ode to Bowie.[37][38][39] David Byrne of the Irish Independent noted the similarity in the song's outro to Bowie's "Starman".[39] Anderson stated that a lot of the album's sexuality was inspired by Prince.[40] He also drew inspiration from Scott Walker. In his book The Last Party, John Harris opined that the influence of Walker was prevalent throughout the album, highlighting the songs "Still Life" and "Black or Blue".[41] Other influences were Kate Bush's Hounds of Love and Berlin by Lou Reed; which Anderson described as "albums with a musical journey and stories of sadness and darkness."[40] Butler drew inspiration from The Smiths' The Queen is Dead, Joy Division's Closer, Marc and the Mambas' Torment and Toreros and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".[42]

In retrospect, aside from being a collection of songs, there is a perception among some that the album tells a story; that its structure consists of a beginning, middle and end.[43] One critic opined: "There is a proper introduction, a rousing orchestral finale, and arguably a coherent narrative of love, sex, drugs and loss."[44] Anderson was highly influenced by the silver screen and admitted that during his self-imposed exile living in Highgate he watched Performance every night.[45] Critics have noted the album's cinematic influence, with Simon Price writing that Anderson used the city as a "cinematic backdrop to the tragic heroism of his own life."[7] Likewise, on the subject of Suede's familiar lyrical themes, the Radio Times wrote that "He [Anderson] would replace it with something deeper and timeless, drawing on old Hollywood and tragic, quotidian love stories."[27] Critics have likened the album to having an aura of claustrophobia.[46][3] While Spin gave a figurative description of the record as "the work of a man cautiously opening the bedroom door and reeling from the discovery that other people have lives."[47] Other themes the album explores are solitude, paranoia and self-loathing.[2] On the darker side the album depicts tragedy, failed relationships and doomed romances; however, within this dark setting, Anderson allowed positive statements of ambition and social mobility, reflected in "The Power".[48] As Q's David Sinclair noted, a recurring theme is "the overwhelming desire to escape from the humdrum."[38]

Music and lyrics

As they were on Suede, elements of Anderson's lyrics were influenced by his drug use, citing William Blake as a big influence on his writing style.[15] He became fascinated with his use of visions and trance-like states as a means of creation, claiming that much of the "fragmented imagery" on "Introducing the Band" was the result of letting his subconscious take over.[45] The song was a mantra he wrote after visiting a Buddhist temple in Japan.[42] The uncharacteristic one chord opening song's style and lyrics baffled critics; with some unimpressed.[35][49] While Stuart Maconie felt the song had a "cryptic, disclocated ambience that makes it an ideal opener."[50]Lewis Carroll was an influence on the lyrics, who Anderson was reading at the time. There was also an Orwellian tone, which permeated into the second song and lead single "We Are the Pigs",[48] which depicts Anderson's visions of Armageddon and riots in the streets.[45] The song also features horns that are reminiscent of those used in the theme music from Peter Gunn.[51][52] Anderson's lyrical subjects became exclusively tragic figures, such as the addicted teenager in "Heroine", and James Dean in "Daddy's Speeding".[53]

Both songs, according to Anderson, introduce the themes of isolation where the obsession is forming relationships with fantasy figures, as opposed to real people.[48] "Heroine", with the refrain, I'm aching to see my heroine, has a celebrity influence, paying homage to Marilyn Monroe, while borrowing from Lord Byron.[54] "She Walks in Beauty like the night", the song's opening line, is the first line of a Byron poem. Anderson wrote the eulogy "Daddy's Speeding", about a dream involving taking drugs with the late American actor James Dean.[42] The slow-tempo song culminates with a build-up of feedback and white noise, depicting a car crash. Osman stated that this was an effort to replicate the sound of machinery using guitars.[32] The turbine-like noise at the end, followed by an explosion was done on a Moog synthesizer.[18] The recurring theme of self-loathing is reflected in the ballad "The Wild Ones", which tells of a dying relationship.[3] Anderson considers this song to be his favourite single moment in Suede's history.[48]Pitchfork agreed, saying it "might be Suede's best single, its sweeping orchestration, vocals, and guitar parts coming together in fragile but perfect balance."[55] The main refrain was partly inspired by Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas".[48] Here, Anderson alternates between tenor and falsetto.[52]

"Black or Blue" is a song about racial intolerance and tells the story of a doomed interracial romance. Critics have likened the song to West Side Story.[52][47] "This Hollywood Life" is the most aggressive song on the album. A standard rock song, it features a guitar riff throughout the verses and a guitar solo. John Harris of NME wrote: "a record so couched in earth-shacking drama probably needs at least one spittle-flecked tantrum."[51] Anderson states that the song is about the "seedier side of the music business," where people are forced to debase themselves somewhat to succeed.[48] "New Generation" is an up-tempo song, considered the most upbeat song on the album and a moment of "sleek rock'n'roll."[56] One writer noted that Anderson sounds more like Bowie in "New Generation" than he did in previous songs that drew similar comparisons.[52] "The Asphalt World" is the longest song on the album and considered its centrepiece. It is a slow-tempo rock ballad partly influenced by Pink Floyd, with one of Butler's longest guitar solos. Its lyrics convey deviancy and sexual jealousy as Anderson revealed the song's lyrics could have been lifted entirely from his own diary.[48] The song uses one of Anderson's familiar lyrical themes of hired/rented cars.[57]

The piano ballad "The 2 of Us", according to Anderson, is about loneliness against the backdrop of wealth and fame; a professional couple incapable of relating to one another emotionally. It features Anderson's favourite lyrics on the album: the snow might fall and write the line on the silent page.[48] A tap dancer was originally heard over the middle eight section. This was removed and replaced with a flute player.[32] Echoing "Sleeping Pills" from Suede, "The 2 of Us" and "Still Life" are considered to be written from the viewpoint of a bored or lonely housewife.[47][38] An early concept that was originally planned for Suede,[58] "Still Life" features the 40-piece Sinfonia of London orchestra.[59] The song is a tale of someone waiting for their lover to come home, gazing out the window. Anderson also agreed with Buller and Osman that the orchestral coda was over-the-top but defended it saying: "it was conceived very much with the album's journey in mind and as such provided an eloquent end point."[48]Alexis Petridis called it a "suitably overblown finale to an overblown album."[46]

Title and artwork

The back cover of the album featuring the photograph "Lost Dreams".

Anderson spoke of the album's title as a kind of shorthand Darwinism reflecting his own journey from the gutter to the stars.[60] Fans noted the similarity to experimental film-maker Stan Brakhage's 1964 film, Dog Star Man. According to Anderson, the film had no influence on the title. He claims that the three words are featured in almost all the songs in some form.[61] The title is intended as a proud summation of Suede's evolution. "It was meant to be a record about ambition; what could you make yourself into."[16]

An original design had been a still from Pasolini's Salò.[9] But the band settled on a photo lifted from one of Anderson's old photo books, featuring a naked man sprawled on a bed. Taken by American photographer Joanne Leonard in 1971, the front cover picture was originally titled "Sad Dreams on Cold Mornings" and the rear photo "Lost Dreams".[60] Anderson says, "I just liked the image, really, of the bloke on the bed in the room. It's quite sort of sad and sexual, I think, like the songs on the album."[62]

Release and promotion

Promotion for the album took place in a somewhat lukewarm atmosphere. With the departure of one half of the song-writing partnership, fans and the music press had assumed that the band were finished.[15] Anderson and the remaining members were determined to continue on as normal and conducted press interviews to get the message across that the band were looking for a new guitarist; and that they were staying together, as Suede was the only thing they ever truly believed in. Promotion for the album started one month before its scheduled release with the band conducting interviews with the UK and American music press. The band recruited new guitarist Richard Oakes mid-September after hearing a tape of him playing "My Insatiable One" that he had sent to the band's fanclub.[63] Lead single "We Are the Pigs" was released 12 September peaking at 18 in the UK.[64] The choice of lead single had been a subject of debate, with Sony pressuring Anderson to release "New Generation" first for commercial reasons.[22][65] Anderson later called it the "obvious single."[65] He was unwavering on the matter, putting his artistic beliefs ahead of business sense as he felt "We Are the Pigs" had the "drama and power" that represented the album's tone.[66] Bassist Mat Osman felt "The Wild Ones" should have been the first single, saying "it was probably commercial suicide, but seemed to fit the times."[67] The single was performed 22 September on Top of the Pops where Oakes made his first TV performance. The band played three dates in Paris early October, with Oakes making his live debut there before making his official UK debut at a secret fanclub show at Raw Club in London 10 October.[68]

Dog Man Star was released in the UK 10 October 1994[14] on double gatefold vinyl, MC and CD. It entered the UK Albums Chart at no. 3.[64] Sliding to 12 the following week, and by the end of the year it was outside the top 75.[69] Anderson felt it did not get the commercial momentum he had expected, saying: "I think a lot of people thought the band had split up because Bernard had left."[70] "The Wild Ones" was the second single released 14 November and although more targeted at the mainstream, it also peaked at no. 18.[64] The album was released in the US on Columbia two weeks later 25 October.[71] The album and its singles did not receive the same level of promotion and radio play as the previous album in the US. This was due to the difficult climate surrounding the time of release. Such difficulties were the aforementioned departure of guitarist Bernard Butler; a name change to the London Suede, as a little-known singer from Maryland has had rights to the name Suede in America for fifteen years;[34] and what Billboard magazine described as an "anti-Anglo sentiment" at American modern rock radio.[71] "The Wild Ones" was chosen as the first single in the US going on modern rock radio 4 October.[72] It was also the first single chosen for the European market.[73] The US and Japanese release contained the bonus track "Modern Boys", b-side to "The Wild Ones". The album charted at no. 35 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart 12 November.[74] And also charted on the European Top 100 Albums chart at no. 10.[75] "New Generation" was the last single released from the album charting at no. 21 early 1995.[64]

Commercial performance

Although the album is often considered a commercial disappointment, its actual UK sales were still reasonable. By August 1996, it had sold 235,000 copies, without all the hype and media exposure of the debut which sold 275,000.[76] It was certified as Gold by the BPI November 1994.[4] The gulf between first and second album sales was wider in America where it has sold 36,000 copies as of September 2008 according to Nielsen SoundScan. By comparison, this is about a third of the sales of Suede.[77] Another country where the album charted was France, which has recorded sales of 42,300 as of 2017.[78]

Reissues

In June 2011, Suede released remastered and expanded editions of their previous five studio albums. Released in chronological order each week. The expanded version includes the original 12 tracks remastered. Additional bonus material includes demos, all b-sides from the singles "Stay Together", "We Are the Pigs" and "The Wild Ones". Missing are the b-sides to "New Generation", which featured replacement guitarist Richard Oakes. Also included are six extra tracks; notable songs include the original unedited versions of "The Wild Ones" and "The Asphalt World", and "La Puissance", a version of "The Power" sung in French. The DVD features song-films which were specially created for the Dog Man Star tour and previously-unseen footage of the band playing at the Casino de Paris and at the Fnac, Les Halles in Paris on 27 November 1993. The bonus DVD material features a 2011 interview with Anderson and Butler including contemporary film inserts from Simon Gilbert. The booklet contains all the lyrics, hand-written lyric drafts and previously unpublished photos of the band. There is also a specially-written note by Anderson; in it he says: "If I could choose to be remembered for just one musical document it would be this."[79] The reissue charted at no. 63 in the UK Albums Chart.[64]

Contents of the 20th anniversary box set

To celebrate the 20th anniversary release of the album, Suede released a limited edition box set in October 2014.[80] The special edition included High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray of the album and b-sides; 2 CDs in mini gatefold sleeve and a cassette of entire album with the original 1994 inlay; DVD footage and previously unseen video interviews with the band from July 2013; 1994 performances from Top of the Pops and The O-Zone, Dog Man Star tour films and the "Stay Together" promo video; vinyl 12? singles of "We Are the Pigs" and "The Wild Ones" and a 7" reproduction of the NME flexi disc in original picture sleeve; 60 page hardback book with notes by Brett Anderson, photos, handwritten lyrics and ephemera; a 48-page sheet music book with five songs; plastic carrier bag with an exclusive design; an A2 poster and a 12? x 12? print. There are two versions of the box set packaging artwork. One is identical to the original artwork. The other design, which is the Collector's Limited Edition comes in an alternative colour treatment of an orange tint, which was limited to five hundred units. This version also included a vinyl 12? "Stay Together" single.[81]

Critical reception

Brian Boyd of The Irish Times spoke of how the record drew "mass confusion" among critics, with words such as overblown and pompous in many reviews.[65] In the UK, while some admitted it was not without its flaws, critics unanimously spoke favourably of the record's experimental arrangements. John Harris of NME called it "a startling record: an album surrounded by the white heat of something close to genius." He added: "the songs of Dog Man Star are grand designs, enacted against grandiose backdrops."[51] David Sinclair of Q magazine wrote: "With Dog Man Star the group has vindicated just about every claim that was ever made on their behalf. A long, sprawling and not entirely flawless album, it will be hailed in years to come as the crowning achievement of a line-up that reinvented English, guitar-band rock'n'roll for the 1990s."[38] Nicholas Barber of The Independent called it a "blend of pop hooks and theatrical gestures." He added: "At times Dog Man Star is messy and preposterous. But no record collection is complete without it."[56]Stuart Maconie of Select called it a "great record; at least as good as their debut and probably better when viewed through the reversed telescope of history."[50] David Kavanagh of Mojo praised the record, with particular praise for the last two songs; calling it a collection of "exquisite piano songs and swash-buckling rock numbers... before climaxing with probably the best 15 minutes of any record this year."[37] Outside the London press, Ireland's Hot Press,[84]Independent,[39] and Scotland's List magazine[85] published positive reviews.

In the US, Suede never matched the moderate success of the first album. This was principally due to the mix-up over the band's name and because Dog Man Star "was one of the most pretentious albums ever released by a major label," according to music journalist Rob Sheffield.[1] In contrast to the positive reception at home, the album had a mixed reception in the US, with many comparing it unfavourably to the first album. Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post felt that the band had fashioned the record for the rock-opera house; with "bombastic" lyrics and "grandiose" musical settings. He wrote: "its ostentatious arrangements merely disguise the lack of hooks that distinguished the band's earlier music."[35] Likewise, Entertainment Weekly were less enthused. Chuck Eddy said: "on ornate gothic ballads, the band that used to be Suede comes off affected and dull."[83] Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times expressed similar views, saying: "Suede's 1993 debut held promise, but this one looks backward instead of forward."[86]

However, on the contrary some viewed the album as a step forward with the band breaking out of its comfort zone. Simon Reynolds of The New York Times felt that the band "soars to new heights of swoony hysteria," in contrast to the glam rock showcased on the first album. He added: "Dog Man Star deserves attention, if only for its absurd ambition."[87] Echoing feelings of pushing boundaries, Jonathan Bernstein of Spin concluded his positive review stating: "this is a group capable of far surpassing its perceived limitations."[47] Barry Walters of The Advocate called it "an ambitious beast of an album;" and recognised the polarised opinion it may generate, saying: "For some Dog Man Star will be simply too intense. For others this will be rock album of the year."[88]Dog Man Star featured in many end-of-year lists with Spin, Vox, NME, Rockdelux and Select including it in their top ten.[89]

Legacy

With the exception of A New Morning, Dog Man Star was Suede's least commercially successful album from before they split up, yet It is widely considered by many critics as Suede's masterpiece.[6][7][8][9] Although the album remained a favourite among critics, appearing in many best of lists throughout the 1990s, it was often designated as a 'lost classic'. Following Suede's disbandment in 2003 some critics acknowledged this while writing about the album in the years during the band's hiatus. In September 2003, shortly before Suede disbanded, the album featured in Stylus Magazine's 'On Second Thought' feature, which aims at providing a fresh look at unjustly ignored or misunderstood albums. The magazine's contributor Jon Monks said, "Suede will never make a record this good again, whether it is because Butler left or merely it was a such a perfect time for Brett to be writing, they have failed to make anything nearly so encompassing as this."[3] In a 2006 retrospective review, Michael Furman of Tiny Mix Tapes, while comparing Suede to Radiohead, Oasis and Manic Street Preachers, all bands who released popular records around this time, said: "It is Suede's Dog Man Star, however, that often slips through the recollections of this period."[90] Echoing this sentiment, in 2008 writing for Head Heritage, Jason Parkes said: "Dog Man Star remains an interesting record and quite odd and too rich for the mainstream at the time."[22]

At the height of Suede's 2010 reunion, the band attracted strong interest from the music media. In 2010 American music magazine Crawdaddy! reappraised the album, saying: "Despite the challenges Suede faced, Anderson achieved the anti-Britpop album he wanted in Dog Man Star, to the kudos of the hipper critical circle, and the detriment of the band's mainstream appeal. For all its indulgence and Bowie-esque melodrama, it's more literate, more tortured, and more ambitious than its peers. More substantive than a "woo-hoo", brighter than any champagne supernova, Dog Man Star's origins, theatrics, and sense of rebellion are the stuff of rock'n'roll legend."[65] To coincide with the release of the long-awaited sixth album Bloodsports in March 2013, Dog Man Star became a talking point among critics and soon garnered more coverage with a collection of retrospective critical essays.[43][44][53] In 2013, NME placed the album at number 31 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[11] In 2014, Mike Diver of Clash singled it out as a key record of the Britpop era, saying: "Listening today, the record feels as weighty as it did at the time, its production carefully pointing distress through the noise, setting beauty against the bleak."[91]

In September 2003, Suede played five nights at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, dedicating each night to one of their five albums and playing through an entire album a night. Tickets sold fastest for Tuesday's Dog Man Star night,[92] and were selling for over a £1,000 a pair on eBay.[93] By comparison, tickets for A New Morning went for up to £100.[94] In March 2014, Suede made their second appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust's annual series of gigs. The band performed Dog Man Star in its entirety to mark the album's 20th anniversary.[95]

Accolades

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Alternative Press US The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90's[89] 1998 37
British Hit Singles & Albums UK Poll: Greatest 100 Albums of All Time[96] 2006 75
Robert Dimery UK 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[97] 2005 *
The Guardian UK 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die[98] 2007 *
Guitar World US Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994[99] 2014 *
Colin Larkin UK All Time Top 1000 Albums[100] 1998 62
Melody Maker UK All Time Top 100 Albums[89] 2000 16
Metro Weekly US 50 Best Alternative Albums of the '90s[101] 2014 17
NME UK 100 Best Albums[89] 2003 78
The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever[89] 2006 58
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[11] 2013 31
Pitchfork US The 50 Best Britpop Albums[102] 2017 5
Q UK In Our Lifetime: Q's 100 Best Albums[89] 1995 *
Readers' All Time Top 100 Albums[103] 1998 35
250 Best Albums of Q's Lifetime[104] 2011 81
Rockdelux Spain 150 Best Albums from the 90s[89] 2000 67
Select UK The 100 Best Albums of the 90's[89] 1996 17

(*) designates unordered lists.

Track listing

All tracks written by Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler.

No.TitleLength
1."Introducing the Band"2:38
2."We Are the Pigs"4:19
3."Heroine"3:22
4."The Wild Ones"4:50
5."Daddy's Speeding"5:22
6."The Power"4:31
7."New Generation"4:37
8."This Hollywood Life"3:50
9."The 2 of Us"5:45
10."Black or Blue"3:48
11."The Asphalt World"9:25
12."Still Life"5:23
American release bonus track
No.TitleLength
13."Modern Boys"4:07

2011 Remastered and Expanded Version

20th Anniversary Box Set Limited Edition

Disc two and DVD contain same tracks as per the 2011 reissue.

Personnel

Charts and certifications

References

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Bibliography


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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