Good grief, what is this? 90s music on amazinglyfewdiscothequesprovidejukeboxes?
Do not adjust your sets, I really am going to talk about Suede’s opus from 1996…
This is a fantasy deluxe which is driven by a desire to better assimilate all the material from several reissues and special editions already released. Despite being available in a dizzying array of options over the last 25 years, there has always been something awry; missing B-sides, B-sides not in their original B-side mix, live concert recordings added but demos or out-takes left off. Demos and out-takes added, but live concert recordings left off. You get the drift!
Coming Up was originally unleashed upon the world on the same day as new albums from O.M.D. and Pet Shop Boys. The first album since guitarist and significant songwriting partner Bernard Butler parted ways with Brett Anderson and co., it proved a commercial smash with a stream of snappy singles well into 1997. Trash, Beautiful Ones, Lazy, Filmstar, Saturday Night. Here they come, swinging their bits to the hits….
It wasn’t until the album’s 15th Anniversary that the Suede reissue bandwagon kicked in. Most of their back catalogue has been treated equally, with matching sets of 2CD/1DVD editions (like the Coming Up one, above) on the Edsel label in 2011, and then single-disc digipak reissues and Original Album boxsets following afterwards. However, it does feel as though Coming Up (and perhaps the debut and Dog Man Star to a slightly lesser extent) have been singled out for extra attention on CD.
There have certainly been enough different takes on the album to warrant further investigation. What to make of the 15th, 20th and 25th Anniversary reissues, how to work out a way to include everything, in its rightful place, all on one set? SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.
The 2016 4CD/1DVD super deluxe, with extra 10″ vinyl single. Not to be confused with the 2011 deluxe, or the 2021 deluxe, or indeed the afdpj fantasy deluxe.
Disc one was simple enough; the original CD as it was released in 1996. Of course that leaves a lot of empty space, but these projects are really about sorting through everything to achieve some clarity, and not worrying about filling up the CDs with as much music as possible. That would be like those budget multi-album sets which cram 6 or 8 albums onto 3 or 4 discs, splitting the tracks across different CDs. Drives me nuts!
Disc two takes the 20th anniversary mastering of Coming Up, including a pair of the bonus tracks: Trash (single version) and the *wrong* mix of the B-side Europe Is My Playground from 1997’s Sci-Fi Lullabies compilation.
That allowed me to include the actual B-side mix on Disc three, cunningly subtitled The B-sides. 17 flipsides, for once in the correct order (organised according to which A-side they were attached to, and then by which track number and which format – CD1/CD2). Brett has not always been complimentary about some of this material (and certain Suede B-sides in particular) and in the booklet for the Complete Albums box a handful of these songs get a disdainful kicking, but for me Suede are a band whose non-album work is often more intriguing and more satisfying than the attempts to write hit singles or getting carried away with epic album tracks.
Maybe they flow better the way they were sequenced on the official deluxes; if so, those already exist so we’ll keep the pedantry for my fantasy version!
- europe is our playground original version
- have you ever been this low?
- another no one
- every monday morning comes
- sound of the streets
- young men
- this time
- jumble sale mums
- these are the sad songs
- graffiti women
- digging a hole
Mission accomplished. Unlike any other configuration of Coming Up, this one has no B-sides gone AWOL. We are but halfway through, with much more work to do!
Disc four is a “previously unreleased” 60-minute concert recording from the Coming Up tour, which was part of the 20th Anniversary set. Having already purchased the 2011 Edsel deluxe, I hadn’t felt any great need for yet another one so soon after, but in the process of researching the whereabouts of various B-sides and tracks not on the 2011 release, I happened upon a lossless-quality download of all the audio (some 53 tracks!) from the 2016 edition for less than a tenner. Take my money, whydontcha. So without especially wanting it, I got the full Amsterdam show and figured it may as well go on my deluxe.
Discs five and six are potentially the most interesting on this fantasy set. The former comprises an “Alternative” take on the album via demos, monitor mixes, early takes and different versions. Same 10 songs, in the same order as the album proper.
- trash early take
- filmstar monitor mix
- lazy first demo
- by the sea studio demo
- she early monitor mix
- beautiful ones early monitor mix
- starcrazy first demo
- picnic by the motorway demo
- the chemistry between us different version
- saturday night monitor mix 2
The latter is a round-up of everything else that’s left, in effect. Once I’d decided upon the “alternative Coming Up” idea, any extra versions of those songs would have to go on this final disc, along with whatever else from the multitude of official deluxes which hadn’t yet found a home. Everything from works-in-progress and 4-track demos with tossed-off titles, to elegant string-laden treatments of two Coming Up album cuts.
- she greenhouse demo
- dead leg 4-track demo
- piss pot 4-track demo
- ballad idea church demo
- filmstar church demo
- lazy greenhouse demo
- tiswas 4-track demo
- motown rehearsal room recording
- electric cakes demo 4
- wedgie demo 2
- sombre bongos demo
- owly rehearsal
- every monday morning comes demo
- soundgarden different version
- she strings
- the chemistry between us strings
In contrast to many of my homemade fantasy projects, the key here was to piece it all together without leaving off any bonus material that I had, while grouping them together in ways that helped make better sense of the album and presented the extra stuff in a less random manner than any of the real-life deluxe editions had done (in my view, of course). To that end, I think it succeeded, and also made me realise I’d actually underrated Coming Up for all these years.
Yes it shakes its bits to the hits, but it’s far from being the shallow, commercially-motivated reboot of the band in the wake of Bernard Butler’s abrupt departure that I rather suspected it of being in 1996. The B-sides are mostly corkers, and the out-takes shine a fascinating light onto the creative process behind arguably their most successful and popular LP.
All that was needed now was some decent artwork. I could have been lazy (….) and simply copied the longbox design of the 2016 4CD/DVD, but where’s the fun in that? Instead I designed an homage to the cassette covers of the 1980s, favoured mainly by Warner Brothers, where the square album art was placed on a black background with artist/title text underneath:
(Obviously, the Suede album wasn’t on Warner Brothers so it doesn’t really make sense but, hey).
Another of my faux hype-stickers, and the addition of “super deluxe edition” in the same matching Suede font, completed the effect I wanted. The back sleeve is characterised by the use of lower case text throughout, as per the typical Suede release. With so much track information to fit in, I kept the design very basic.
Coming Up remains the most recent album in my collection that I have attempted to “deluxe”. Normal service will therefore be resumed shortly!
I like the Warners-style design. Also good to see ‘Jumble Sale Mums’ around – my favourite track from his era of Suede!
Thanks Matt! Yes, I’m a big fan of the B-sides from this era. Jumble Sale Mums is a classic Suede title…sometimes it feels like Brett has a “Suede songtitle generator” program that he uses, but it’s all part of the appeal.