Entering The ‘Bloodsports’: New Suede Album Lives Up To Title

SuedeBloodsportsIt came to me in the night.
Imagine an old lover with whom things had been unresolved. After a difficult stretch during which you wondered whether the best days of your relationship were gone, things were starting to look up. Love was beginning to lace its way through the faultlines and bind that which had been broken.
But suddenly, your partner walked away from it all. Your history, it turned out, was not something that could be covered up and forgotten.
Now, 10 years later, and just as suddenly, this ghost of loves past shows up in your bedroom ready to resume things from where you had left off.
Excitement outweighs apprehension and you jump into the mystery.
This was my last night.
Except the lover in question wasn’t a person, exactly. It was a band.
And that band is Suede.
I’ve written on this blog before about my love for the band that helped define Britpop but also had a dramatic depth that few other groups in the 1990s could match.
However, by the late 90s and early 00s, Suede was struggling to find a direction. It left the band’s members and many of its fans disappointed with the output, though much of it was still quite good.
Suede parted ways in 2003, and I didn’t really think I’d hear from its members as a band again.
But after playing some gigs in recent years, Suede is set to release a new album, “Bloodsports,” next week.
I’d heard the singles during the past few months and had been excited by their quality. Suede sounded rejuvenated.
So back to the beginning. It came to me in the night. I was about to shutter my eyes in the wee hours of the morning when I came across the announcement that “Bloodsports” was streaming on NPR as part of its “First Listen” feature.
So much for sleep. Adrenaline bolted through my body and I became giddy at the thought of listening to a new album from one of my favorite bands for the first time in more than a decade.
The sacrifice of sleep was worth it.
“Bloodsports” is a glorious work.
It’s got the soaring pop singles that made Suede one of Britain’s top bands like “Barriers,” “It Starts and Ends with You,” and “Hit Me.” It also has the brooding romanticism that I most loved Suede for like “Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away,” “Always” and “Faultlines.”
Review after review has praised the strength of the album.
SuedeNPR follows that template: “It’s been 11 years since the last Suede record, so when (lead singer Brett) Anderson announced last year that the band (alas, still without guitarist Bernard Butler) was returning to the studio, there was no reason to expect anything along the lines of ‘Suede’ or its incredible follow-up ‘Dog Man Star.’ So it’s frankly a little surprising how great ‘Bloodsports’ sounds — perhaps even better than the comeback albums by (Johnny) Marr, (Kevin) Shields or (David) Bowie, Anderson’s thin white role model.”
Last night, I sprawled out in the darkness of my bedroom and found each unfolding song becoming my new favorite track off the album. What better feeling than to find the thing that you loved so intensely in more youthful days coming back into your life just as beautiful and powerful as it had ever been?
Anderson has described “Bloodsports” as being about “infatuation, attraction and the fever of falling headfirst back into the pit.”
My initial reaction to the album has me feeling that kind of collision of emotions. It is a revelation. It is a joyous beast stampeding through my veins, and I am just going to enjoy this feeling while it lasts.
I thank you, Suede, for that.

4 thoughts on “Entering The ‘Bloodsports’: New Suede Album Lives Up To Title

  1. This album is simply brilliant and is in my view better than anything suede or brett have done in the past. It is elegant emotional and electric, Richards guitar work is superb and the band coalesce in a sophisticated sonic statement that simultaneously excites inspires and powerfully emotes, This is first class pop music that totally invades inhabits and enriches the world of today 2013.

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