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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 171
Fri. July 19, 2013

“Co-Star”
The Tears

2005

“♫ Alone
in my
room
♫”

When I first heard that Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler were reuniting on a new collaboration project, sonnets of epic Suede anthems began dancing in my head. But in reality, three years after 2002’s apparent ‘swan song’ Suede’s A New Morning, you could tell from the opening of Here Come the Tears that Anderson and Butler were trying to keep those Dog Man Star spirits away. Brett talked about relighting the creative fires with his former Suede partner Bernard when he explained, “The thing about working with him again is that because of the music we had already produced, there had to be something spectacular happening between us. There was always that fear of tarnishing everything that had gone before – the debut album and Dog Man Star. A few songs in and we knew we had something, something that was Anderson and Butler but something that was not Suede, if you know what I mean.”

In an interview with The Quietus, Anderson talked about trying to eclipse his infamous songwriting legacy with Suede when he said, “It’s necessary for me [to evolve]. I can’t speak for anyone else. Lots of people are perfectly happy to write the same song throughout their careers, and good luck to them if they can get away with it. But for me, I’ve written ‘Animal Nitrate’ once. I don’t want to keep writing it over and over again.

You really couldn’t blame Brett’s animosity, throughout Anderson’s prolific career he’s been proving critics wrong. Suede was the best band in Britain without ever having put out a single. Suede should have broken up after Bernard left but instead this London band hired a teenage replacement and continued taking Brit Pop around the globe till 2002. And who else would have the guts to reunite with a former songwriting partner in a new project? That would be like Morrissey and Johnny Marr getting back together without Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce and forming a new band. Suede was The Smiths of the Nineties, so you bet when I heard about Anderson and Butler’s reconciliation I was enthusiastically waiting for Here Come The Tears. Brett Anderson defended his reuniting with Bernard Butler and their new band The Tears when he explained, “Making a record is not an intellectual process: you write songs, release a record, and then let the critics decide if it sounds like a Suede cover band or not. I don’t care what people say, I think [Here Come the Tears] is a beautiful record! When I thought of another record with Bernard I realized that there is more potential creative energy between us that we did not manage to use when we were in Suede, and I knew we could do something special. This record is mainly about the renewal of the relationship between us. It was very exciting meeting Bernard again, talk with him about a new record and of course about Suede, and see that we have erased the past. Believe me, if the songs weren’t good we wouldn’t have released them.”

The songs from Here Come the Tears were more than just good… these tracks were memorably majestic. Reaching those heights left behind from Brit Pop past, Anderson and Butler created an album worth of gems that equal the greatness of their immortal days of Suede. For years, I had been mishearing the lyrics from my favorite Tears song, “Co-star” and just like Dog Man Star’s “The Power,” I had been taking Brett’s lyrics out of context. When talking to Musikexpress in 2005, Anderson said this about his songs from Here Come the Tears, “There are two parts for me. In the first one there’s a lot of joy and romantic. Songs like “Lovers” and “Co-Star” don’t have deep meanings. It’s just about feelings.” For years I believed that “Co-Star” was inspired by his emotions for reuniting with Butler but in reality “Co-Star” had a more simpler meaning as Brett told Xfm, “It’s quite a simple song really, the sentiment is… it’s an idea of seeing your life like you’re in a film.”

Even though “Co-Star” felt like a lyrical peace offering to his former songwriting partner from Suede, while speaking to The Quietus, Anderson talked about how he attempts to leave his personal life out of his songwriting when he said, “That doesn’t specifically bother me, but yes, I do get bored of constant interpretations of my songs because people are obsessed with certain parts of my life. People are obsessed about my relationship with Bernard Butler. I’ve never written a song about Bernard, but people think every song that hints at an argument or disagreement is about him. It’s not. It’s boring. I’m not interested in being a personality in my work. I don’t have the ego or need to be talking about myself and my own personal little myths. I’d like to step away from that selfish child, the ‘me me me’ thing.

My interpretation of “Co-Star” my have been wrong but my admiration for this Anderson/Butler collaborative cut grows with each and every listen. Looking back, now that Suede has reunited sans Butler, who’s busing with his much in demand production gigs, Anderson looks back at his days with Tears fondly saying, “It was certainly a re-awakening for me, artistically.” I urge you to go back to the glorious reawakening of the duo that dynamically changed the face of British music in the nineties; Anderson and Butler didn’t reunite to create Suede part deux, the duo returned to evoke surpass those haunted spirits of their Dog Man Star’s past. 2005 will be remembered as the year Anderson and Butler came back together to leave their glorious marks within the “Co-Star” sounds of Here Come the Tears.

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