'Stay Together' Single of The Week
Submitted by: Inge Klinkers
Suede: Stay Together (Nude)
A common tenet of everyday conversation – heard everywhere from Northern tap rooms to the rarefied corridors of quality newspapers – runs as follows…
Pop music is expiring. New pretenders are adding little to a canon of classic works that becomes ever more frozen and revered by the year. The windows of record shops feature nothing but blown-up covers of ‘Astral Weeks’, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Exile On Main Street’; and newsstands labour under the weight of magazines with dead stars on their covers.
And we protest, of course. We revel in of-the-moment excitement, bask in the fact that people are continuing the process of reinvention, hold up all kinds of brilliant artefacts as evidence of pop music’s startling health – and still the greying cynics are unconvinced, refusing to step out of their dead mindset.
This week comes the finest imaginable argument against all that: a four-act, eight-minute, fantastically ostentatious song that – as expected – speaks volumes about the vitality of at least three supposedly blighted forces: the guitar, the pop song, and British music. Better, it’s placed alongside two other pieces that say exactly the same thing.
‘Stay Together’ begins as a doomy ballad, set in among the urban mess (skyscrapers, motorways) that provided the backdrop to ‘Suede’; this time with a surreal addition. “Come to my house tonight,” it goes. “We could be together in the nuclear sky/We can dance in the poison rain.” Four minutes later, it gives way to a puzzling cacophony, under cover of which Brett starts yelling, indecipherably. Then: calm, superseded by the part when horns start blaring, followed in turn by a semi-ludicrous theatrical coda in which wind howls around a grand piano and you realise that there’s a knowing playfulness in all among the grandiosity. Like most great things, it leaves you utterly silent.
‘The Living Dead’ (a mournful goodbye to a heroin addict) and ‘My Dark Star’ (a bookish, shimmering song that sets out to be mystical and prophetic and gets away with it) scrape similar hights… and right now, writing more seems to be unnecessary. Whether you experience this record in a review room 25 floors above London or hear it over the speakers in Our Price, the effect will surely be the same. This is a great week for singles, for sure; but luxuriating in the ambitious, dramatic, exhausting spell of this one makes everything else sound like so much ephemera. A classic, undoubtedly.