Brett Anderson: Brett Anderson
Anderson's debut solo effort finds him musing emotionally about love, loss and the spiritual emptiness of consumerism
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Monday, 26, Mar 2007 04:47
Drowned in Sound, out March 26th 2007.
In a nutshell.
Mature, lovelorn, shimmering, melancholic, self-pitying.
What's it all about?
After glam, chemical fuelled beginnings, it's fair to say a now older and wiser Anderson finds himself on something of a comedown. Swapping amyl nitrate for a large glass of merlot, Anderson's debut solo effort finds him musing emotionally about love, loss and the spiritual emptiness of consumerism.
Or in Anderson's own words: "Essentially I have taken a knife to myself and am showing the world my insides. The songs are a comments on how I really feel, whether it be the death of my dad, my hatred of consumerism or just the loneliness of life."
Who's it by
As the frontman of Suede, Anderson was the glam, androgenous face of Britpop, channelling Bowie and Morrissey to producing some of the best genre-defining tracks of the decade, such as Beautiful Ones and Animal Nitrate. After six albums and the obligatory singles collection with Suede, not to mention the almost as obligatory creative differences and battle with drugs, Anderson seemed to have lost his spark. Fans hoped for a revival when Anderson rejoined with former song-writing partner Bernard Butler to front the Tears, but the project failed to meet expectations, despite two satisfactory albums. With the Tears now on indefinite hiatus, Anderson hopes once again to find a return to form, this time going it alone with heartfelt balladry and mournful strings.
As an example.
"Nothing ever goes right/ Nothing really flows in my life/ No one really cares if no one ever shares my care/ People push by with fear in their eyes in my life/ Love is dead, love is dead" - Love Is Dead
Likelihood of a trip to the Grammys
Unlikely. Save for a small cult following, Suede failed to crack America even at the height of their success and his new offering sees Anderson unlikely to go it alone. Despite his distinctive vocal talent still being very much in evidence, Anderson is unlikely to trouble the Brits nominations, while his eponymous solo effort lacks the innovation require to make the Mercury shortlist.
What the others say
"Gone is the Suede-lite of The Tears. Instead we get acoustic guitars, lush string arrangements and the previously cagey Anderson pouring his heart out.four out of five." - Uncut.
"Attempting to emulate the idiosyncratic wing of the singer-songwriter front (think Randy Newman rather than Bowie) is a bold move, but one which only partially comes off.two stars" - Observer Music Monthly:
So is it any good?
Other reviews have been unduly harsh towards Anderson as this is a good album. While it might not shimmer it does not lapse into mediocrity.
Much has been made of Anderson's new "maturity", although at times he does walk a fine line between open introspection and self-indulgent teenage whine. Depending on your perspective, opening track Love Is Dead is either All By Myself for the indie kids or an embarrassing whinge. Personally I take the former view, but if the idea of a 39-year-old man singing about empty beds and the mindlessness of consumerism in the manner of a black-clad teenager does not appeal, then perhaps steer clear.
The overall effect of Brett Anderson is melancholic, lush strings, rather like wallowing - alone naturally - in a large glass of rich red wine. It does risk becoming a little one note at times, ending on a whimper rather the crescendo. After potentially blowing standout track Love Is Dead as an opener, other high points include Infinite Kiss and To The Winter. It's not as anthemic as Suede, but judged on its own terms, it's still a worthy soundtrack to the rainy morning after.