Suede - Coming Up 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition album review

Expanded and repackaged bohemian rhapsodies from Suede’s imperial peak.

Suede Coming Up 20th Anniversary album cover

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

In 1996, Suede were starting to look like a spent force following their acrimonious split with guitarist Bernard Butler, the relative commercial failure of their dark masterpiece Dog Man Star and the dawning Britpop hegemony. Their defiant response was Coming Up, a chart-topping collection of rapturous glam-pop hits partly inspired by prime-time T.Rex. Two decades later, Suede’s biggest-selling album still stands up as a sumptuous long-form listening experience in this multi-disc expanded reissue.

The original album is ablaze with chemically boosted euphoria, glammed-up riffs, stack-heeled hooks and singalong Estuary English chorus chants. Romantic outsider anthems like Trash and The Beautiful Ones are full of ludicrous lines (‘shaking their bits to the hits’), but still energised and exultant and maddeningly addictive. Even the more melancholy ballads By The Sea and The Chemistry Between Us are delivered with a regal, string-drenched swagger.

But the true test of Suede’s high quality standards are the expanded edition’s additional discs of B-sides, demos and alternative takes. Rare treasures here include the sublimely Bowie-esque This Time, the wry romantic ballad Sam and multiple versions of languid late-night synthscape Europe Is Our Playground, a JG Ballard novel condensed into five minutes of pulsing, shimmering, widescreen melodrama. There are generic makeweights here too, of course, but impressively few.

The fourth live disc contains a previously unreleased show from 1996, a noisy riot of rough clatter and clanging bum notes, but redeemed by its muscular sound and Brett Anderson’s comically camp Stella Street Jaggerisms. A fifth DVD features vintage TV performances plus new band interviews. A classy, bulging package.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.