Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 161
Tues. July 9, 2013
“My Insatiable One”
On May 11, 1992 Brit Pop was officially birthed when Suede unleashed their first single The Drowners to the UK music world. Although barely scratching the Top 50, “The Drowners” was made infamous by one of its legendary B-side’s “My Insatiable One.” Vinyl Junkies, raise your hands if you remember the flip side treasure of the boisterous b-sides? Even though “The Drowners” was Suede’s first single, lead singer Brett Anderson believed following the legendary traditional legacy of Morrissey and Marr. Brett explained Suede’s recording ‘manifesto’ in Dave Thompson’s Suede: The Wild Ones (An armchair guide to Suede), when he said, “Never put out any shoddy material [on a b-side.] Everything had to be brilliant. We wanted to be huge and I studied for it. When The Smiths put out a single, all their b-sides would be amazing, a world you could live in for months. I always thought that was a brilliant idea, something that Suede should do.”
Did you know that “My Insatiable One” was actually one of the few Suede lyrical inspirations that quickly went from idea to song? Brett explained in Dave Barnett’s book Suede: Love & Poison, when he said “So me and Bernard went into this room and we wrote “My Insatiable One.” We wrote it about an hour and it was like ‘Wow that was good.’ And it was completely written. It’s one of those songs that occasionally just kind of writes itself, it was one of those inspiring moments. For me one of the most rewarding things about writing is that beautiful feeling that you’ve always created something that didn’t exist an hour ago. And writing isn’t always as spiritual as that. Writing can be a fucking perspirating pain in the bollocks, but occasionally it is like that.”
Morrissey put Suede on the map, when he covered “My Insatiable One.” Brett remembered when he found out one of Anderson’s heroes covered one of his own Suede songs, in Dave Barnett’s Suede: Love & Poison, when he explained, “I didn’t actually see him but apparently he had a notebook and was scribbling down lyrics. [Editor’s Note: According to Thompson’s Suede: The Wild Ones, it was guitarist Box Boorer who went out and bought the 12 inch of “The Drowners” for it was his job to come up for a suitable arrangement for Morrissey to sing.] It was quite a bizarre moment, one of those surreal moments like a bizarre dream, listening to Morrissey and his backing band doing a version of “My Insatiable One.” He missed out all the swear words and there wasn’t a thing about the inflatable one, it was a slightly sanitized version. But, yeah it was good.”
Morrissey’s cover wasn’t as notorious as Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler’s original found on “The Drowners.” UK’s Select believed “My Insatiable One” to be so controversial that they named Brett and Bernard’s b-side, “the most talked about songs of 1992.” So what exactly was Moz trying to avoid singing about when he covered Anderson and Butler’s mischievous song? Anderson explained the idea behind “My Insatiable One” in Barnett’s Love & Poison when he said, “People assume that when I’m writing about a man, it’s from my own point of view, and it’s not always true. The song was seen as this homoerotic anthem—completely misconstrued. Even the lyrics were misquoted. It was supposed to be much more a song about sadness. It was written from someone else’s point of view.” Apparently, Anderson’s ex Elastica front woman Justine Frischmann was supposed to be the mysterious lyrical voice of “My Insatiable One” because as Brett said, “It was a song about me through her eyes.”
And here I thought “My Insatiable One” was a lusty ode to unquenchable horny souls like me. Boy was I wrong. Still there’s an electric erotic charge coming from Bernard’s guitar riff making Brett’s carnal word play an added spark. A truly excitable number that even in it’s stripped down piano version, becomes every more sexually charged in its naked form. Whatever rendition you perform, get your cigarettes ready because Suede will leave you completely satisfied with grinning smiles all over after spinning the glorious skin fantasies of their most famous b-side
There is a literal happy ending for “My Insatiable Ones” that would come almost two years after the release of their first single, “The Drowners.” After Bernard Butler left Suede, in 1994, “My Insatiable One” would come to play an important role in the future of the band as Thompson wrote in his book Suede: The Wild Ones, “Simon Gilbert dropped by the Nude offices and caught Anderson listening back to one of Suede’s early demos, a great version of “My Insatiable One.” Except it wasn’t actually one of their demos. It was a cassette mailed in by a seventeen year old Suede fan from Poole, Dorset. Accompanied by a note that concluded, simply, “take me or leave me.’” Bassist Osman couldn’t believe the sound coming from the seventeen year olds demo cassette. “I thought this person just taped our record and left off the drum and bass. It sounded too perfect. Then you realized he was simply the best for lots of reasons.” The teenage guitarist coming from that tape would be future Suede axe man Richard Oakes. It took one of the most notorious b-side’s, from the band’s first single to find the replacement of original guitarist Bernard Butler.
It’s true, greatness breeds more greatness. If Morrissey and Marr hadn’t been the example for Anderson and Butler, would the former Smiths front man covered their most infamous b-side and put Suede on the map? One the most influential songs in Suede’s song canon, “My Insatiable One” from the band’s first single “The Drowners” laid down the foundation for legacy of Suede. You can hear the torch song being passed down from Morrissey & Marr to Anderson and Butler on Suede’s epic 1997 release Sci-Fi Lullabies; a collection of all the bane’s dynamic b-sides on one double album. Unquenchable and undeniable, Sci-Fi Lullabies like “My Insatiable One” proves this band that birthed Brit Pop will always be remembered as one of the best British bands since The Smiths.