The Beautiful Ones // Suede
When you think of Britpop groups of the 1990s; Oasis, Blur and Pulp spring to mind. The first name off the tip of your tongue probably isn’t Suede. The question is why not? ‘The Beautiful Ones’ by the London based band is a song where the guitars at first seems echo the style of bands such as the Beautiful South, but then as soon as Brett Anderson begins singing you get that individualistic sound that made Britpop so necessary, it’s a massive move from the 80s and the focus on conforming to set music genres, it’s the chance for musicians to embrace the places that they come from and not be afraid to not be generic.
So, ‘The Beautiful Ones’, a 1996 track from the album Coming Up, depicts the scene of the 90s and the people at the time: “Shaved heads, rave heads, on the pill, got too much time to kill, get into bands and gangs”. It’s a song that portrays the music fans of the 90s in a way that is different. The title, though, can be seen to be ironic – how can people who are crackheads and drug addicts be ‘The Beautiful Ones’?
Maybe it’s the bands way of going against the idealist ideas of youth in the 90s, rather than being obsessed with image, people thought it was cool to be different and imperfect, and the idea was to just do what you wanted to do. The song might be a way of approaching the idea that doing what you want to do makes you one of the beautiful ones. Either way, Suede are on par with bands such as Pulp in their portrayal of working class culture, and this song is a prime example of what it meant to be a Brit two decades ago, completely your own person.
Words by Kirsty Jackson