Razorblade Suitcase

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Razorblade Suitcase
Razorblade suitcase.jpg
Studio album by Bush
Released 19 November 1996
Recorded 1996, Sarm Hook End, Berks, England and Abbey Road Studios, London, England
Length 61:43
Label Trauma/Interscope
Producer Steve Albini
Bush chronology
Sixteen Stone
Razorblade Suitcase
Singles from Razorblade Suitcase
  1. "Swallowed"
    Released: 15 October 1996
  2. "Greedy Fly"
    Released: 28 January 1997
  3. "Bonedriven"
    Released: 16 April 1997
  4. "Cold Contagious"
    Released: 20 December 1997

Razorblade Suitcase is the second studio album by British rock band Bush, released on 19 November 1996, through Trauma Records. It was the follow up to their multi-platinum album Sixteen Stone and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 293,000 copies during its first week of release in the US.[2] To date it remains the only Bush album to top the Billboard 200.[3] Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with engineer Steve Albini, the album's sound has been compared by many to Nirvana's In Utero album, which was also engineered by Albini.[4][5]

Recording and production[edit]

Gavin Rossdale wrote most of the songs for Razorblade Suitcase in under one month. "Swallowed," along with others from the album were written while on the road.[6] In an interview with Deseret News published on 2 January 1997, Rossdale explained:

"I was trying to write songs while my life was falling apart. While my longtime girlfriend of five years was leaving and packing in one room, I was writing in the other room."[6]

The band chose Steve Albini to produce the album. In an interview with Spin during the final stages of the recording process Rossdale was quoted as saying that Albini "has been more important to me in terms of records I've listened to than any other person."[7] Around the same time Albini declared that he put more time and energy into Razorblade Suitcase than he had with any previous albums.[7]


In 1997, Bush embarked on a worldwide tour, the Razorblade Suitcase Tour, to promote the album. Stretching from late January into November of that year, it took the band through Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia. It included stops at many major music festivals around the world, including Glastonbury Festival, Pinkpop Festival, Reading Festival, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park, and Pukkelpop.[8][9]

Release and reception[edit]

Razorblade Suitcase was released on 19 November 1996, through Trauma Records, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 293,000 copies in its first week.[2] It remained at number one during its second week of release in the US. The album also debuted at number one in Canada, with first-week sales of 45,900 copies.[2] Despite the album selling fewer copies than Sixteen Stone in the US, it marked a commercial peak for the band in their native Britain, where it reached number four on the UK Albums Chart.[10]

The band originally planned to release the album in early 1997 but decided it would be better for a late 1996 release, especially considering that U2's next album was pushed into 1997.[6]

The lead single from the album, "Swallowed", was released in October 1996 and was a huge success in the US, holding the number one spot on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for 7 weeks.[11] It remains the band's longest charting number one single.

"Greedy Fly" was the second single released from Razorblade Suitcase and reached number three on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.[11] The singles "Swallowed" and "Greedy Fly" peaked at number seven and number twenty-two, respectively, on the UK Singles Chart.[10]

"Bonedriven" and "Cold Contagious" followed as singles but did not make an impact on the charts.[11]

"Mouth" was remixed and later released as a single from the album Deconstructed and reached number five on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.[11] "Mouth" is featured on the soundtrack and in the film "An American Werewolf in Paris". The "Mouth" music video features Julie Delpy, who also starred in the film.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly C[1]
The Independent (Negative)[15]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[13]
Select 3/5 medals[14]

Reviews have been generally negative to average towards the album. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine stated:

"The problem is that Gavin Rossdale has not come up with any hooks, which means that while Razorblade Suitcase is more pleasing and visceral on the surface, it offers no hooks to make it memorable, unlike the hit singles from Sixteen Stone."

Other critics also dismissed the album because they felt that although the band attempted to distance themselves from bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam in terms of their sound, they ultimately failed at creating a sound of their own. Entertainment Weekly reviewer David Browne stated that some of the songs on the album could have easily been on the record Nirvana never made (due to Kurt Cobain's suicide). Andy Gill from The Independent also stated that portions of the album are very reminiscent of Nirvana, citing songs such as "Swallowed" and "Bonedriven" as irrestistible reminders of Nirvana. Rolling Stone criticized the album in their 1996 review, giving the record only 2 out of a possible 5 stars and named it the worst record of the year.


The album's working title was Ghost Medicine, but was changed for unknown reasons. The title is a line from the lyrics of the song "Synapse" and is lead singer Gavin Rossdale's interpretation of 'emotional baggage'. The album artwork was done by Vaughan Oliver and Adrian Philpott. Oliver had also done the artwork for Surfer Rosa.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Gavin Rossdale[16]

No. Title Length
1. "Personal Holloway"   3:23
2. "Greedy Fly"   4:30
3. "Swallowed"   4:51
4. "Insect Kin"   4:27
5. "Cold Contagious"   6:00
6. "A Tendency to Start Fires"   4:04
7. "Mouth"   5:45
8. "Straight No Chaser"   4:02
9. "History"   4:17
10. "Synapse"   4:52
11. "Communicator"   4:25
12. "Bonedriven"   4:32
13. "Distant Voices - ends at 5:16; includes hidden track"   6:20
Japanese Edition
No. Title Length
14. "Broken TV"   4:28
  • "23 Seconds" (hidden track)
  • "A Tendency to Start Fires", "Straight No Chaser" and "Synapse" do not appear on the LP version due to time constraints.


Credits adapted from AllMusic[16]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Preceded by
Tha Doggfather by Snoop Doggy Dogg
Billboard 200 number-one album
7–20 December 1996
Succeeded by
Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt


  1. ^ a b c Browne, David (22 November 1996). "Review: Razorblade Suitcase (1996) – Bush". Time Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bush's Razorblade Suitcase cuts to top". Jam!. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Bush - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  4. ^ SPIN - Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Razorblade Suitcase – Bush". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Bauder, David (2 January 1997). "CRITICS MAY BASH BUSH, BUT BAND'S A REAL HIT WITH BUYERS". Deseret News. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b SPIN - Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Bush Hits The Road - MTV". MTV. 16 January 1997. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "1997 - 1998 at OneSecondBush.com - A Comprehensive Fan Site For The Band Bush". OneSecondBush.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Bush - Artist - Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Bush - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Julie Delpy - Other works". Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Diehl, Matt (13 November 1996). "Review: Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  14. ^ Lawrence, Eddy. "Review: Bush – Razorblade Suitcase, Trauma Records". Select (EMAP Metro) (March 1997): 102. 
  15. ^ Gill, Andy (17 January 1997). "Review: Razorblade Suitcase". Independent News & Media. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Razorblade Suitcase - Bush - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic (All Media Network). Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in German). Hung Medien.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in French). Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Bush – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Bush.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Bush: Razorblade Suitcase" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  24. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  25. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  26. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Bush | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  29. ^ "Bush – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Bush.
  30. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Albums of 1996". RPM. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  31. ^ "Dutchcharts – End of Year 1996". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  32. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1997". billboard.biz. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  35. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 July 2012.  Enter Razorblade Suitcase in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  37. ^ "American album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 July 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]