Animal Nitrate

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"Animal Nitrate"
Animal nitrate.jpg
Single by Suede
from the album Suede
B-side The Big Time
Released 22 February 1993
Format CD, Vinyl record (7", 12"),
Recorded 1992
Genre Britpop, alternative rock, glam rock
Length 3:27
Label Nude
Writer(s) Brett Anderson, Bernard Butler
Producer(s) Ed Buller
Suede singles chronology
"Metal Mickey"
"Animal Nitrate"
"So Young"
Music sample

"Animal Nitrate" is the third single from the debut album by Suede released on Nude Records in 1993. It charted at number seven on the UK Singles Chart, making it the highest charting single from the album.[1] The song was the band's highest charting single in Ireland, peaking at no. 11.[2] The single was previewed to the nation at the 1993 Brit Awards.[3] The song was also later nominated for Best British Single at the 1994 Brit Awards.


The title of the song is a reference to the inhalant drug amyl nitrite. Chris Jones, reviewing Suede's debut album for the BBC, concurred. "Despite its punning title it’s a thrill-seeking slice of cynicism that perfectly summed up what it was like to be young and chemically imbalanced in the nation’s capital at the time".[4] According to Suede's biography Love and Poison, the chorus's guitar part was inspired by the intro to popular BBC television series Dixon of Dock Green. The song was almost overlooked as a single; Brett Anderson was convinced "Sleeping Pills" would be the third single. He was soon overruled by Nude Records owner Saul Galpern.[5]

Music video[edit]

The video for the title track was directed by Pedro Romhanyi. The band caused some controversy with the video when it was banned for its depiction of two men engaging in a kiss. It won the first MTV Euro Video Song Contest in 1993.[6] The band took cocaine to prepare for the video. Anderson wanted to replicate the energy of their live shows, he explained: "We weren't experienced enough at the time to just do it on cue. I think we ended up getting a load of coke in an jumping around like lunatics. Back in the days when we used to do things like that."[7] The video was filmed in Lisson Green housing estate in Westminster. The band reportedly used flat number 18 and paid the occupants a tenner for the inconvenience caused.[8]


In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Animal Nitrate" at number 97 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[9] In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Animal Nitrate" at number 43 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.[10] In 2012 the same magazine placed the song at number 14 in its "100 Best Tracks of the Nineties" list.[11] It would again recognise the song in 2014 by ranking it at number 33 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[12] A 2010 Radio X poll of listeners, presenters and a team of experts compiled a list of the top 1000 songs of all time, where "Animal Nitrate" ranked at number 60.[13]

Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian included the song in her "10 of the best" Britpop songs. She said that "Butler’s opening riff is one of the most undeniable in pop."[14]

Track listings[edit]

All songs written by Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler.

7" Vinyl, Cassette
  1. "Animal Nitrate"
  2. "The Big Time"
12" Vinyl, CD
  1. "Animal Nitrate"
  2. "Painted People"
  3. "The Big Time"

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[2] 11
UK Singles Chart [1] 7

Cover versions[edit]

Basement covered the song on their 2014 EP Further Sky.[15] Zachary Houle of PopMatters wrote that the cover "strip[ped] away all of the glam" of the original, making it "a straightforward rock anthem."[15] Alternative Press contributor Brian Kraus considered it "faithful to the original" and the best song on the EP.[16] He called it "a fine fit" amongst the "lighthearted moods" found on the EP.[16] AbsolutePunk staff member Aj LaGambina thought the track "blend[ed] in as if it" was one of the band's own compositions.[17] reviewer RENALDO69 called the cover "tight—knit and sharp" within the "very polished" EP.[18]

In September 2015 The Libertines performed a live version of the song at a gig in Dublin Castle, London.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Artist Chart History: Suede". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Animal Nitrate in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2013.  1st result when searching "Animal Nitrate"
  3. ^ "Suede perform 'Animal Nitrate' at the Brits". BBC Music. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Jones, Chris. "All wrapped in androgyny and attitude.... BBC Music. 19 Apr 2007
  5. ^ Barnett, David (2003). Love and Poison. Carlton Publishing Group. p. 109. ISBN 0-233-00094-1. 
  6. ^ MTV Europe 1993-1994,
  7. ^ "Suede: 'We got a load of cocaine in to make the 'Animal Nitrate' video'". NME. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Smith, Oliver (24 February 2016). "54 locations that defined Britpop". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "Q Magazine - 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever!".
  10. ^ "The Greatest Indie Anthems Ever". NME. 1 May 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (16 May 2012). "NME's 100 Best Tracks of the Nineties". NME. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  12. ^ Barker, Emily (31 January 2014). "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". NME. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Top 1,000 Songs Of All Time - 100 to 1". Radio X. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (15 February 2017). "Britpop songs – 10 of the best". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Houle, Zachary (29 July 2014). "Basement: Further Sky EP". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Kraus, Brian (29 July 2014). "Basement – Further Sky EP – Reviews". Alternative Press. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  17. ^ LaGambina, Aj. "Basement - Further Sky - Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  18. ^ RENALDO69 (29 July 2014). "Basement - Further Sky (7-inch)". Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  19. ^ Daly, Rhian (5 September 2015). "The Libertines bring 'week of shenanigans' to a close with two-hour secret gig in London pub". NME. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 

External links[edit]