If listeners are to take note of the sleeve that comes along with 15 Again, then they should expect Suede to mark a chaotic moment of reflection. An infectious rage that would pass over the band as they dare to look back on where they were all those years ago. The line between sincerity and pastiche drew close for comfort on so many tracks that wish to do so, but with the latter taking precedence for those lucky few. Suede is part of the lucky few, a band back on top form ahead of the release of Autofiction, their hotly anticipated new album. With singles She Still Leads Me On and now 15 Again releasing, it’s desperately impossible to get away from the length of time there is still to wait.
Suede leans into its capabilities as a singles-oriented band. Their classic tracks Animal Nitrate and Trash still linger on as some of the all-time greats, but their success with album work is where the real poetic, darker tones lie. Whether that will be the case for Autofiction is unknowable, but should they follow the same trend as 15 Again, it is a likelihood. An inspired use of instrumental bridges to tie together choruses, building them up with broad reflections, it’s an ample track that boasts the strengths Suede continue to build on ever since they reformed for Bloodsports. A second single to treat the ears and it would appear that Suede is saving the best of all for the album. Typical. 15 Again is a good single, the right release to entice listeners into peeling back the layers of their upcoming release.
Despite 15 Again not featuring the strongest lyrical assertations, it is the meaning Brett Anderson coaxes out of them that settles well on the mind. A relatively shorter track that hopes to focus on its instrumental success rather than its lyrics of kitchen hills and wasting the days of youth. A sincere desire to waste the days of being so young, with lyrics that crash against each other causing a rift between meaning and muse. It works. Richard Oakes’ guitar intro and the brief “ooh’s” of Anderson set the scene well and 15 Again soon slips into that rewarding spot Suede so frequently hit. Neil Codling and Mathew Osman deserve a great deal of credit for the layering they provide to this track, with synthesizer pieces coming clear and a bassline that acts as glue for the erratic highs. The rise and rise charted by instrumentals.
A piece that feels more reflective than clamouring for the days of bright-eyed glories. 15 Again recalls the past with aplomb and maturity. Anderson leans further into those vocal changes, the octaves moving further and further away from the pitched whines and croons of Beautiful Ones from years before. Twisted love is still at the core of Suede with 15 Again, a track that feels operatic in places and darker in others. A dramatic, intense blend follows and marks yet another strong single from a band beginning to find their feet after a few years of silence.