Night Thoughts Five Years On
Suede's seventh studio album Night Thoughts turns 5 today.
In May 2013, Suede started planning the next album which would become Night Thoughts. They knew they didn't want to make Bloodsports part 2. Their vision was to take a more liberated and ambitious approach that would be a listening experience with the listener hearing the album as a whole piece.
With that in mind, it made sense that Suede didn't take the usual route of making individual videos and in October 2014 Brett was inspired with the idea of making a film. With a blank canvas, Roger Sargent embarked on making a film that took on the themes of the album without making it too literal. Choosing and changing the script as the film developed and producing an incredibly beautiful, at times, heartbreaking film which perfectly suited the soundtrack. Set partly in the breathtaking location of Treath Mawr, Newport Sands.
Treath Mawr, photo by Samantha Hand
To celebrate we've asked several fans to share their thoughts about Night Thoughts on its anniversary.
"Night Thoughts is a challenge and a promise.
From the opening notes – that deep, beautiful cello in ‘When You Were Young’ – Suede throws down a challenge. Night Thoughts is not a typical pop album, just as Suede have never been a typical pop band. Instead, it is a labyrinthine journey through dark places, where the terrors of those hours before dawn are given melody and harmony, rhythm and bass. ‘Outsiders’ is a pounding anthem for the misunderstood. ‘Tightrope’ is part wish and part prayer, as love grows its spiky thorns. ‘Pale Snow’ is a fragile flower of a song that nearly collapses under the weight of its ambition, but stunningly, like the album itself, becomes transcendent. The challenge is to listen – really listen. The challenge is to experience these vulnerable moments and to live the pain and fear of Brett’s lyrics. The challenge is to absorb the record as a collective work, in an age when single-serving tunes are de rigueur.
The promise is simple. For those who dare to dream on a grand scale, Night Thoughts is heartbreak and abandon and such bloody good music. This is an album crafted by defiant artists who are more confident than ever, who are still – year by year – coming into their own in ways that disregard expectations. There is no rest for these five gifted men, and their passion is a gift to us. They keep striving and leading us to unexpected places. That’s the promise Suede made when they released Night Thoughts. They’ve kept that promise with The Blue Hour, and I have no doubt they will offer us even more of themselves in the years ahead.
For now, it’s time to put my headphones on and turn the volume up. Be my pilots, lads. Tell me the things that scare you. Conjure the imagery. Five years ago, and still tonight, Night Thoughts gives me what I really need."
By Carrie Lofty
Five Gifted Men at Banquet Records Signing Session for Night Thoughts launch. Photo courtesy of Banquet Records.
"This is a perfect album in many ways. Since the first audition it has captivated and moved me. Not only because it has genius song sequences, but also because of the dreamlike and dramatic atmosphere in which it involves me. "Pale Snow" and "I Don't Know How to Reach You" are just two examples of a perfect song sequence. "The Fur and the Feathers" brings this cycle of songs to a magnificent close. To say that it is for me the best Suede album would be to betray other Suede albums as magnificent as this one. In my opinion, it is this dilemma that best tells us how excellent and unique Suede are as a band."
By Luisa Fonseca
Image Courtesy of Suede
"Pale Snow: When I first heard this song it broke my heart strings. The video nearly killed me, I felt like Suede had read my mind.
When I was young my parents fought like cat and dog. My dad worked at a factory and my mom was a stripper. They would go through cash like wildfire. My mom used to send me to the corner with cash and a note to buy her cigarettes (I was 7 at the time).
In May of 1976... My mom rented a Ford Pinto, took my brother and sister and left me on the tree lawn and told me to call my dad at work to say she left him.
Never saw her again after that day.
Brett's lyrics and Suede's music taught me it's ok to not be okay.
'Pale snow' still pulls at my heart.
Night Thoughts is close to home for me."
By Jaime Gonzalez
Image courtesy of Suede
"I never bought Bloodsports. I was still in a pissy moody after A New Morning, missed all the comeback gigs. I remember going to WHSmith, surprised they didn’t have Night Thoughts on file, and being told to pre-order if I wanted it. This never would’ve happened had Woolworths still been trading.
It was a Friday. I was chopping some cauliflower and other winter vegetables to make cheap soup. Closed the door between the living room and kitchen, poured a large glass of cheap red and hit play.
Towards the end of 'When You Are Young', I remember thinking: “they’ve gone and made a Dog Man Star for my 30s”.
Glasgow Concert Hall. February, 2016. My first Suede gig since 1999. Teenage Hawks kicked in. Only a few folk ahead in the queue: a quiet, carpeted area with a bar, I think. Plucked up enough courage to comment on a pair of DMs. Too shy to talk to anyone else.
Ended up stood just behind the girl who was to become my future bandmate, we shared the same name. Was still months before we talked. Lasses behind me said they’d seen Suede loads of times; my favourite band, but I’d only seen them once before. Wow.
Seeing the Night Thoughts film...I was so sure I knew that path. It looked like home: Pembrokeshire, Wales. But that would’ve been ridiculous aye? Your favourite band somehow filming their new album in your sacred place? Away with ya. Ridiculous maybe, but it was there!