You’re not alone…’ from David Bowie’s ‘Rock n’ roll Suicide’ to ‘Life Is Golden’

SUEDE_The_Blue_Hour_coverSummertime is the preferred period of the year for SUEDE to tease us about an upcoming album release. Following ‘Night Thoughts’ that was released two years ago and was followed by a captivating performance at London’s Roundhouse, SUEDE will be offering to us another glimpse into the ideas that dominate their psyches these days, through their new album entitled ‘The Blue Hour‘ expected on September 21st.

The third video from the new album was released a few days ago (the first one was ‘The Invisibles’ released on June 3rd followed by ‘Don’t Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You’ that was released on July 13th ) and provides some context to the lyrics of the song ‘Life Is Golden’. But let’s take things from the beginning.

…i’m there in the trackless snow a voice in the poplar trees i’ll take you to where no one goes but no one ever leaves… (lyrics from the song: ‘Don’t Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You’)

Two trailers were released earlier this year and they were the darkest to be created by the band so far. The first one ascribed poetic qualities to a scene showing an unresponsive bird on snow and the second one caused immense disquiet, showing an electricity pylon bathed in blue light and rendered menacing by the shouts of a child. The pylon from second trailer reappeared at the video for ‘Don’t Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You’ and I personally found that it stretched the meaning of the song pulling it into different directions. The lyrics of this song also provided some context to the first trailer, especially with their references to a creature that lives among the trees in the trackless snow…


An album as a movie. A movie as individual songs within an album

The band has embraced cinema lately by treating their album ‘Night Thoughts‘ both as the soundtrack of a ‘movie’ entitled ‘Night Thoughts’ and as the movie itself. The cumulative effect of the visuals and the band’s signature melancholic melodies, proved to be emotionally very powerful , especially during their live performances where the movie was used as the backdrop.

‘The Blue Hour’ is considered by SUEDE to be the final piece that completes the chapter that started with ‘Bloodsports‘ and this is also SUEDE_The_Blue_Hour_boxconveyed when one listens to all three albums and notices their themes and their aesthetics.  Compared to ‘Night Thoughts’, things look a bit different in ‘The Blue Hour’. Even though the album itself has been treated as one piece, the three videos that have been released so far, do not seem to be conceptually connected. Both the visuals and the music emit a hard-to- escape melancholy but it is the music that adds meaning to the post apocalyptic landscapes presented in the videos, transforming them into symbols of a lonely and troubled soul. In ‘Night Thoughts’ each video clip was perceived as a short film, as there was a main character and a plot that was developed, which communicated the ideas of the lyrics. In the videos of ‘The Blue Hour‘, that have been released so far, there doesn’t seem to be such a character. The connection of the lyrics to the videos is more abstract in this album and open to interpretation, infinitely multiplying the symbolism of the songs.

The additional material that will be available in the box edition of this album that is already available to pre-order here, includes many images and lyrics that truly tell the story of this album in the same way an illustrated book does.

Apart from all this, SUEDE have a unique way of speaking to the outcasts, they have a unique way to convey the bitterness hidden in hard-to-describe feelings, they are always relevant in the themes they explore in their albums and in the ways the choose to present those. ‘The Blue Hour’ affirms these qualities through the fierceness with which the character of ‘The Invisibles’ is looking at each one of us while singing: …falling through the cracks in people’s kindness and the world won’t step aside…. The themes in the lyrics tap into similar existential matters as ‘Night Thoughts’, but it is actually the element of positive transcendence and the way it is being communicated, that differentiates this album from its predecessor. In ‘Night Thoughts’ there was ‘Like Kids that provided an outlet to the bitterness that the lyrics conveyed, a song that referred to the aloofness and carelessness of our youth. In ‘The Blue Hour’ it is ‘Life Is Golden’, whose chorus’ phrase ‘you’re not alone‘  alludes to Bowie’s ‘cry’ in ‘Rock n’ Roll Suicide’ and attempts to calm down anguish thoughts and provide positivity through the lyrics ‘…look up to the sky and become…. Where David Bowie’s shout meant to awaken and shock, Brett Anderson’s affirmative way of delivering the phrase, is ‘talking’ to a different audience, trying a different calmer approach. ‘Life Is Golden’ might not be the danceable track that you would expect but it is a song that does something else, soothes the psyche by talking about becoming something better, transcending situations…The song’s video clip might depict abandoned landscapes, a symbol of loneliness and despair, but it is Brett Anderson’s lyricism and reassurance that will take you out of difficult emotions and thoughts at least for 3′ 59″.

This album was not produced by Ed Buller, the band’s long term collaborator and producer of most of the band’s albums. Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, Editors, Interpol, Nine Inch Nails) has been responsible for the production of this album which also includes a choir and spoken word and the participation of City of Prague Philarmonic Orchestra with Guy Prothero (conductor and musical director of the contemporary music ensemble Spectrum and the English Chamber Choir) as the conductor. Additionally, string arrangements in the album are made by Neil Codling, Richard Oakes and Craig Armstrong among others.

The album will be released on CD, LP and box editions, on September 21, 2018 through Warner and will be followed by two shows at Eventim Apollo on 12,13 October 2018.

The Blue Hour is the time of day when the light is fading and night is closing in…The songs hint at a narrative but never quite reveal it and never quite explain. But as with any Suede album, it’s always about the songwriting. The band, the passion and the noise: The Blue Hour.” (SUEDE about the new album)

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