On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Suede – Animal Nitrate (1993)
” Animal Nitrate” is the third single by English rock band Suede, released through Nude Records on 22 February 1993 and later included on the band’s debut album . It charted at number seven on the UK Singles Chart, making it the highest-charting single from the album.
Welcome to 1993, dear reader. We’re starting a new year by leaving Algeria and making our way back to the UK. Formed in London in 1989, Suede were led by key members Brett Anderson on vocals and Bernard Butler on guitar. The band slotted into the Britpop movement that came to prominence as the mid-1990s approached. It’s early 1993 and prior to the release of the group’s debut album their third single – Animal Nitrate – is released.
Animal Nitrate breaks from traditional subject matter and delves into the dark world of drug addiction and domestic violence. The young man at the heart of the story finds solace in drugs, either just for the high or maybe to escape the grim reality of life at home. The protagonist has an abusive father and we hear mention of broken bones to hammer home the message. The song later makes reference to the young man being over 21 and now the “animal” (his father maybe) is gone so what does he do now to get his high? It makes it sound like drugs have been a coping mechanism but now the young man has separated from his father by moving out he may or may not need that high now.
Britpop was around when I was at school but I was familiar with the likes of Oasis and Blur at the time. I soon found Suede though and believe they surpass those other two acts though commercial and critical praise may not resonate with my perspective there. Animal Nitrate is dark, very dark, but the track would climb into the UK Top 10 and the debut album that followed would win praise with the critics. Bernard Butler left the band in 1994 after conflict with other members with Suede disbanding in 2003. They reformed in 2010 and continue to perform to this day.
Favourite songs so far:
Suede – Animal Nitrate (1993)