Sci-Fi Lullabies

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Sci-Fi Lullabies
Compilation album by Suede
Released 6 October 1997
Recorded 1992 to 1996
Genre Britpop
Length 122:48
Label Nude Records
Producer Ed Buller
Suede chronology
Coming Up
(1996)
Sci-Fi Lullabies
(1997)
Head Music
(1999)

Sci-Fi Lullabies is a compilation album by English alternative rock band Suede, consisting of B-sides from the singles that were released from the band's first three albums.

Overview[edit]

The album spans two discs and displays the band in its most prolific era. The first disc is dominated by tracks written by the Brett Anderson/Bernard Butler songwriting partnership (the exceptions are "Together," "Bentswood Boys" and "Europe is Our Playground") while the second showcases the various intra-band songwriting variations (Anderson/Richard Oakes and Anderson/Neil Codling, plus Anderson solo and compositions contributed to by the whole band) that emerged following Butler's departure and the subsequent recruiting of a new guitarist, Richard Oakes and keyboardist Neil Codling.

The album is not quite comprehensive, missing out around half a dozen exclusive songs released as B-sides by the band during the period it covers. Missing Anderson/Butler B-sides are "Painted People" (from "Animal Nitrate"), "Dolly" (from "So Young") and "This World Needs a Father" (from "The Wild Ones" Disc 1), which was the last B-side of the Butler era. Tracks featuring Oakes and/or Codling omitted include "Asda Town" (from "The Wild Ones" Disc 2), "Sam" (from "Beautiful Ones") and "Digging a Hole" and "Feel" (from "Lazy"). Live performances released as B-sides (on "New Generation" Disc 1 and "Filmstar" Disc 2) are also not included, neither is Suede's cover of the Pet Shop Boys' "Rent". The track "Eno's Introducing The Band" (from "The Wild Ones" Disc 2) is also not included.

The album is considered an important one for fans of the band, partially because of the wealth of material and partially as many of the songs on the compilation are considered to be as strong or even stronger as the singles from which they came.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club (favourable)[1]
The Phoenix 3/4 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly (A)[5]
Pitchfork Media (8.8/10)[6]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette 4/4 stars[7]

The album received praise from most critics on release. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic, who awarded the album four-and-a-half stars out of five, noted that the first disc "...is as strong as any of their albums" and that the majority of the songs are "all strong enough to be A-sides." Overall he said, "...this is absolutely essential material, confirming the group's status as one of the '90s' greatest bands."[2] Mark Beaumont of NME said that "CD1 stakes a formidable claim as the fourth Suede album in its own right. Better than OK Computer."[8] John Harris of Select gave the compilation 4 stars out of 5 and wrote: "Sci-Fi Lullabies exhaustively empties their under-the-stairs cupboard, and it's like a retelling of the entire Suede movie script." He concluded by saying that "this is truly as good as most Greatest Hits albums."[9]

Tom Lanham of Entertainment Weekly gave the compilation an (A) rating, saying that Anderson is a "...tireless diarist, judging from this anthology of 27 U.K.-single B sides, each one—like the grim concert staple 'Killing of a Flash Boy'—as fey, somber, and solid as any album track."[5] Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club gave the compilation a highly positive review, saying "...that Suede would not simply treat its B-sides as opportunities to unload half-baked and failed ideas. In fact, this collection has more consistency than many acts' studio albums, dispensing moody, catchy melodramatics while maintaining a remarkably high level of quality."[1] The album continued Suede's consecutive run of top ten albums, peaking at no. 9 in October 1997.[10] Despite never placing on any of Billboard's charts, Sci-Fi Lullabies has sold about 19,000 units in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan.[11]

Legacy[edit]

"We were lucky that we came a generation after The Smiths because they upped the ante. They were the first band whose singles I can remember buying for the B-sides. They made me realize that singles mattered and B-sides mattered. Our B-sides were never an afterthought, because it was all about the whole package. The single cover looked like the tracks inside and songs worked with each other. Sci-Fi Lullabies was a chance to bring together some of our favorite B-sides."

 — Mat Osman reflecting on the compilation.[12]

Along with Dog Man Star, the collection is considered as Suede's best output and is often recommended along with it and Suede.[13] Scott Plagenhoef of Stylus Magazine said that "Suede set the track record of making each EP's release an event, not tossing filler or failed experiments on the back of singles releases. Those early B-sides—collected on disc one of Sci-Fi Lullabies remain Suede's strongest collection of songs."[14]

The album is considered to be one of the finest of the B-side/rarity genre, being described recently by The Independent as "the greatest B-sides album ever made".[15] The A.V. Club included the compilation in its list of 35 essential B-side/rarity/outtakes collections. The article said that "...Suede's pre-burnout legacy remains remarkably strong, and decidedly incomplete without such flipside classics as 'My Insatiable One' and 'The Living Dead'."[16] The album was included in NME magazine's 2013 poll of the 500 greatest albums of all time, listing at number 448.[17]

Live performances[edit]

The Suede B-sides have been an integral part of Suede's live shows as well as Anderson's solo performances. Notable favourites from disc one include "The Living Dead" and "Killing of a Flash Boy", which were performed at Suede's March 2010 reunion shows in London.[18][19] Anderson and Butler made their last TV appearance on MTV's Most Wanted in March 1994, where they performed the popular "Stay Together" B-sides "The Living Dead" and "My Dark Star". In April 1997, Suede notably played an entire set of B-sides at a fanclub gig at the London Forum.

Title and artwork[edit]

The title of the album was a phrase considered as a title for the band's second album, Dog Man Star, and is a phrase used in the lyrics of the song "Introducing the Band" from that album. The collection is accompanied by a 32-page, full-color lyric booklet designed by Peter Saville. The front cover, which recalls the works of J. G. Ballard,[20] features a destroyed English Electric Lightning aircraft abandoned and used for target practice on a military range in Northumberland. It was taken by noted North East photographer John Kippin.

Track listing[edit]

Disc One
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "My Insatiable One"   Brett Anderson, Bernard Butler 2:57
2. "To the Birds"   Anderson, Butler 5:24
3. "Where the Pigs Don't Fly"   Anderson, Butler 5:33
4. "He's Dead"   Anderson, Butler 5:13
5. "The Big Time"   Anderson, Butler 4:28
6. "High Rising"   Anderson, Butler 5:49
7. "The Living Dead"   Anderson, Butler 2:48
8. "My Dark Star"   Anderson, Butler 4:26
9. "Killing of a Flash Boy"   Anderson, Butler 4:07
10. "Whipsnade"   Anderson, Butler 4:22
11. "Modern Boys"   Anderson, Butler 4:07
12. "Together"   Anderson, Richard Oakes 4:29
13. "Bentswood Boys"   Anderson, Oakes 3:15
14. "Europe Is Our Playground" (New version) Anderson, Mat Osman 5:39
Disc Two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Every Monday Morning Comes"   Anderson, Oakes 4:28
2. "Have You Ever Been This Low?"   Anderson, Oakes 3:52
3. "Another No One"   Anderson 3:56
4. "Young Men"   Anderson, Oakes 4:35
5. "The Sound of the Streets"   Anderson 4:59
6. "Money"   Anderson, Oakes 4:04
7. "W.S.D."   Anderson 5:46
8. "This Time"   Anderson, Oakes 5:46
9. "Jumble Sale Mums"   Anderson, Oakes 4:15
10. "These Are the Sad Songs"   Anderson, Oakes 6:20
11. "Sadie"   Anderson, Oakes 5:24
12. "Graffiti Women"   Anderson 4:51
13. "Duchess"   Anderson, Neil Codling 3:55

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Phipps, Keith (29 March 2002). "Sci-Fi Lullabies review". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sci-Fi Lullabies Review". Allmusic. Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Perry, Jonathan (15 January 1998). "The London Suede: Sci-Fi Lullabies". Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2001-05-21. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Klein, Joshua (20 February 1998). "The London Suede Sci-Fi Lullabies (Nude/Columbia...". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Lanham, Tom (29 December 1997). "Music Review: The London Suede". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Go to archive dot is/04D37
  7. ^ Masley, Ed (5 December 1997). "For The Record". Pittsburgh Post Gazette Google Books. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Beaumont, Mark. "Sci-Fi Lullabies review". NME. 4 October 1997 Archived December 2, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Harris, John. "Sci-Fi Lullabies review". Select. November 1997 Archived February 27, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History: Suede". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Caulfield, Keith. "Ask Billboard: Blue Suede Shoes". Billboard.com. 26 September 2008 Archived June 10, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Martell, Nevin (13 April 2011). "Brett Anderson and Mat Osman on Suede's Discography". Filter. Archived from the original on 2011-12-25. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Dobson, Gareth. "Various – 'Best Of's". Drowned in Sound. 30 October 2003 Archived 9 February 2012 at WebCite
  14. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott. "Modern Life is Rubbish: The Rise and Fall of Britpop". Stylus Magazine. 23 June 2003 Archived March 31, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Price, Simon. "Suede, Royal Albert Hall, London". The Independent. 28 March 2010 Archived November 7, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Odds and sods: 35 B-side/rarity/outtakes collections as essential as the 'official' albums". The A.V. Club. Archived May 27, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 500-401". NME. 21 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-10-27. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Suede Concert at 100 Club, City of London, England". setlist.fm Archived March 30, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Suede Concert at Royal Albert Hall, London, England". setlist.fm Archived December 3, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "What pop music tells us about JG Ballard". BBC. Retrieved 28 June 2010. Archived April 23, 2009 at the Wayback Machine