I’ve just come back from a week’s holiday in Kent visiting family, and after the year 2020 has been so far I’d say it was very much needed. Of course, there was the small issue of getting from the North East all the way down to the other end of the country, which meant three and a bit hours sat on a train. Thank God for Spotify. Now, having steadily built my playlist up over the course of lockdown (To the point where it has, at the time of writing this, 511 songs), there is a chance that I might hear the same old songs a lot and skip a few, but if there is one song out of that bunch that I will always listen to without any chance of glossing over it, it’s Trash by Suede.
I love this song to bits. In fact, I love the album it comes off; Coming Up is fantastic and I can’t wait to hear the whole thing live and in person in April. Corona permitting, of course.
Trash was one of the first songs I heard from Suede and I was instantly hooked with its loud distorted guitar riff courtesy of Richard Oakes, who had the biggest weight on his shoulders after the acrimonious departure of the band’s previous guitarist, Bernard Butler. All ears would have been on that guitar and the critics were waiting for the chance to crap on the new kid, who promptly shut them up and had them on their feet and dancing in the first 15 seconds.
Brett Anderson is on fine form here aswell, effortlessly belting out those high notes and working with Richard to pen a sweet tribute to the anti-socialites, or to put it another way, their fans. To quote Brett himself, “It’s a song that’s kind of about being in the band and, by extension, it’s a song about the fans and the whole kind of ethos of being a Suede… person” (NME, 2016). This song romanticises those out of place in society, the glam rockers like Suede themselves who transcend the norm with ‘the tasteless bracelets’, their ‘cellophane sounds’, their ‘looseness’. You may be trash, but you’re all trash together.
If I had to give one criticism about this song though, it’s that it does sound a little dated. The glam rock style and overbearing pop feel which Suede was going for with Coming Up, in an effort to create a marketable antithesis to Dog Man Star, means that Trash ends up being firmly rooted in the 90s. I realised this the hard way when I played this on the radio last year and discovered it stuck out like a sore thumb against the pop of today. Then again, maybe that works in its favour with it by making it sound fresh. Hell, with Dua Lipa tapping into the sounds of the past with Future Nostalgia, there could always be room for glam-style sounds to make a reappearance and help Trash feel of the times again. For now though, it stays appreciated by the outsiders that it appeals to with its lyrics.
Trash is a song that will always get me in the mood to listen to Suede. It’s the quintessential song from their second era (The post-Butler years) and sets you up for a fun ride ahead on Coming Up. It’s easy to listen to and I guarantee you would not be able to stop yourself at least bopping your head to it. Timeless? No. But absolutely a classic.