Although the news about Suede’s new album has been known for a while, the release of their new single marks their return with a more tangible promise. It has been more than a decade since their last album, so hearing their new single feels like meeting someone you thought you never had a chance to meet again. To my surprise the song can be downloaded online for free, but I think that is a clever way to collect the public receptions as well as to know the possible market for the band.
Upon listening to the song, I’ve found “Barriers” does not signal the return of Suede with the gloomy atmosphere that is usually associated to the band’s music. The uplifting drumbeats throughout the song remind me that Suede is a rock band. They once ventured to explore the edge of music and now they start again, undaunted as usual. It also makes me think of the paintings of Mr. Chu Teh-Chun: no matter what colors he is using, he always leaves certain space in white or yellow to create the light. As the first single for Suede’s upcoming album, “Barriers” comes to shed some light on their return. The exploration of an appropriate expression in music will remain a lifelong topic for the band, but with the release of “Barriers," it seems Suede are ready to come back, bringing something different together with something familiar.
Welcome back, gentlemen.
Listen to “Barriers” Online:
A brief news article about “Barrier”:
The Paintings of Chu Teh-Chun:
It’s been a year since I’ve got Brett Anderson’s album, Black Rainbows. Last night I got it out of my cabinet and put it in my player. When I was listenig to this track named “Unsung,” my memory about last October came along with the stong too. I was really hopeful to the possibilities that might go with my new job . The optimism inside me sounded just like the opening drum beats of this song. However, this optimism has been under a serious test and has been shipwrecked for countless times, and now I received it again while this song is playing. I guess I am ready for a lot of unknown things: unknown confrontation, unknown conflict, unknown misfortune, unknown stupidity, unknown immaturity, and unknown failure. But I think I will know more about my readiness when these unknown things actually happen. I am still hopeful for the future. I hope to soar like–not just like a love song as Mr. Anderson says here, but like an airplane that has its own destination to go. Wish me good luck, and no air crash.
It’s been nearly a year since Suede toured in Asia last July. I have checked their 2012 tour schedule and found they are going to China next month. It’s amazing that they are well received worldwide. This can be called a special luck for this band as other bands may have different kind of luck when their works are released internationally. What fascinates me about this tune, “Introducing the Band," is not its lyrics (Sorry, Mr. Anderson) but its arrangement. The drum beats and the bass line march on together and when I listen to it in the morning, I feel great that my day can begin with such uplifting rhythmn. It makes me feel as if I were expecting the sun rise or some great thing/people. It sounds like full of hope so it becomes a unique song among Suede’s works.
As a fan for Mr. Anderson, I am always happy to see a video about him. I am glad to know “Crash About to Happen” is released as the second single from Black Rainbows. The video is a clip from his live in Koko. It’s wonderful to see so many people there, and it must be a lovely night for those who attend. I wonder what Mr. Anderson is busy with now. Writing new songs with Suede members? Touring for his solo album or reformed Suede? Sweet family life? No matter what he is doing now, I hope he enjoy every moment of his life.
Seriously, I am really not intended to make this blog as a fan blog for Mr. Brett Anderson. However, I don’t mind being labeled as a fan of him, as this is true and there is no reason to deny it. When the release of this live CD was announced, I was really surprised but also thankful for it. After all, for a person who was intended to go to Manchester (yet Koko is in London) but could not make it, this live recording at Koko is unexpected and sort of “too good to be true”–no one can foresee you can catch up a gig you miss in this way. And the night was incredible. As I listen to these tracks, I can still sense the glamour of the night. The singer and the band were 100% attentive and their passion and devotion were sensible. The audience was great too, and obviously the man on the stage enjoyed the gig as much as his audience. You can tell from the tracks he really likes what he is doing. On the stage he is charismatic as always, but his performance no longer carries some excessive suggestion that makes him sort of unreal or too much like a pop star. Perhaps in some way, Brett Anderson is still a man with a certain “halo,” a halo made by his unique voice and talent. But now he is more like a person who loves music than a star formed by the media and record company. I am really happy for him and his passion about music is so influential that it makes me want to have that kind of passion too. I hope I can have the passion about future and all the unknown choices, or have the courage to step down the path that I dare not to choose previously.
It’s bit late now and I want to finish this blog with Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” It’s a perfect track to close the day and to describe how I feel about Anderson’s live. It also reminds me of Suede’s “Saturday Night.” What an interesting coincidence.
距離Brett Anderson的新專輯Black Rainbow發行後大概兩個禮拜，總算上周在自家的信箱收到了這張專輯。收到的那天正好要出門去北美館，下了樓發現信箱裡的包裹，高興到出去等公車時都有點忘記我要搭哪一個路線，收到禮物–雖然是自己付費–總是令人雀躍的。
先前在youtube已經聽過專輯曲目的sampler，當時就已經頗為期待。在歷經前兩張Acoustic走向的專輯之後，Black Rainbow是Brett Anderson再次回歸搖滾路線的作品。專輯創作的源頭是他跟樂手們在錄音室的即興創作，與他過去寫歌的習慣十分不同。雖然也是搖滾樂風但是跟Suede不太一樣，即使我也是有看到網上一些人說覺得還是有Suede的一點影子，不過我並沒有這種感覺就是。專輯由Unsung揭開序幕，接著Brittle Heart與Crash About to Happen都是明亮輕快的作品，往後幾首如The Exiles, The Actors,Thin Men Dancing 也都是很不錯的快歌，但我還是不會想到Suede，因為對我來說Suede的音樂有某種舞台表演的成分，像是為了成就一個搖滾樂團的live concert那樣而存在的音樂–樂手很強，主唱帥又具舞台魅力，歌曲有一定的流暢和悅耳程度，但有時卻也像只是在襯托Brett Anderson as a performer/star。不過這張專輯卻不是這樣，歌與人是在一種還滿平衡的狀態，在這裡可以較真實的感受到Brett Anderson truly sings as a singer/songwriter. 專輯的最後一首Possession 是我最喜愛的曲子，很有畫面感，聽著它我會想到在灰色的天空下海浪拍打著岩石，有潮水的聲音和強勁的海風吹在臉上。是一首我會一直replay的歌。總的來說還滿喜歡這張專輯。國內華納也有代理，超感動，如果再排個concert就Orz+痛哭流涕了。
Black Rainbow Album Sampler:
昨晚在youtube上看到一段Stay Together的MV製作花絮和樂團專訪影片。影片裡面的他們才剛出道兩年，還是一個新進樂團，每個成員都還是二十幾歲的年輕人。他們說話和態度雖然友善，但也帶著一種自我防衛的距離，對於公眾超越界線的關注，還在尋找適當的應對方式。那時的Brett Anderson看起來還在一種不安穩的狀態，在他引人注目的外表之下，內裡好像充滿著騷動與不自在，被掩蓋在冷漠的表情背後。如今，十多年過去了，在近期的訪談中，樂團成員個個成了中年人，與人談話變得自在親切許多，沒有了年少時的青澀，多了一份歲月帶來的沉穩。至於現在的Brett Anderson，可能還得多虧他背後的那一位，讓不安的靈魂得著了安定的力量。而這位女子對於人的熱情，可能多少也平衡了自稱misanthrope的Anderson對於世界的看法。人生的每個時期看來都有美好之處，只要能夠持續帶著盼望向前走，細細品味每個階段的苦與樂，迎接未知的一切，我想這就是一種幸福。
Black or Blue 這首歌收錄在Suede第二張專輯Dog Man Star。我喜歡副歌的那句 I don’t care if you are black or blue/me and the stars stay up for you。這是歌詞中的男孩對女孩說的話，挺浪漫的。I don’t care 這三個字不管是二十歲還是四十歲的Brett Anderson唱起來都好聽，不僅因為他的聲音，也因為說出I don’t care 需要背後有熱烈的感情，而青年人的熱血和中年人的熱血都令人動容。歌詞裡的故事雖沒有美好的結局，但曾經有付出熱情的機會也是美好的。
Q & A: Brett Anderson