suede-Lost in TV (2001)
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio-Visual Commentary-On The Couch
Bonus Track-Suede Worldwide (6)
Easter Egg-Extra Track
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Various|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
Active Subtitle Track
English Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, on the couch|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Alright, I'll come clean up front - Suede were never one of my favourite bands, but I did enjoy one or two of their singles, namely Animal Nitrate and So Young. It was with some trepidation that I undertook the review of this collection of videos, knowing little of the bands' more recent music and feeling sure that there will be a multitude of "Suedeheads" out there just waiting to pounce... Let me save you the trouble Suedeheads...I like this DVD and I have played it at least six times in the past few days.
Rather than giving you a potted history of the band, I would suggest those who wish to learn more check out the official website of the group at www.Suede.net. This detailed site provides a thorough biography and discography of the group, and to my surprise reveals that these guys have had more than their fair share of critical acclaim, famous fans, hit singles and number one albums (particularly in their UK Homeland).
This disc contains a series of videos covering the singles released by the band. Overall, it shows the musical evolution of the band across four albums spanning six years. The albums from which tracks are included are:
To be honest, I must admit to being rather impressed with the music of Suede as presented on this disc. I was pleased to discover that on repeat listening, despite an initial ambivalence, several of the individual tracks really grew on me, and the band certainly have a very distinctive vibe. Unfortunately lead vocalist Brett Anderson seems to have been unduly influenced by (very) early David Bowie during his "I want to be Anthony Newley" phase and Phil Oakey during his asymmetric haircut days. Anderson's very distinctive voice is both the greatest strength and Achilles heel of the band. Whilst he creates a signature vocal sound, and some of the tunes are very catchy indeed, I feel that his vocals lead to some of the tracks being just a little repetitious.
The disc appears to be good value for money and the inclusion of alternative versions and karaoke tracks for some of the numbers gives the disc quite a high replay value. There are some pretty d*** good songs on this compilation (Animal Nitrate, So Young and Saturday Night and She's In Fashion are the standouts for me) and some quite beautifully shot videos (from the dreamy She's In Fashion and Everything Will Flow to the surreal Pink Floyd-inspired (?) Animal Nitrate). For fans of the group, I am certain that this disc presents an essential purchase. For those who are unfamiliar with the works of Suede, it may be worth investigating if you enjoy semi-psychedelic, semi-Gothic, disenfranchised Indie-pop of the early 90s.
|1. The Drowners|
2. Metal Mickey
3. Animal Nitrate
4. So Young
5. The Drowners (U.S.)
6. Stay Together
7. We Are The Pigs
8. The Wild Ones
9. New Generation
|11. Beautiful Ones|
12. Saturday Night
16. She's In Fashion
17. Can't Get Enough (Aus)
18. Everything Will Flow
19. Can't Get Enough
The overall video transfer of this disc is unsurprisingly, a mixed bag. The humble beginnings of the band are illustrated by some "basic" videos, whilst later in their career, they obviously manage to corral some more resources. The later videos particularly offer (letterboxed) widescreen images, with sumptuous colour and state-of-the-art effects...plus some foxy chicks.
The footage is presented full frame at 1.33:1 which, given its intended viewing medium (television) and the age of the original source material, I am certain would be the original aspect ratio. It is not therefore 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is generally clean and where significant grain is present (eg Stay Together or Filmstar) this is surely deliberately used for artistic purposes. Shadow detail is pretty good and blacks are solid with no low-level noise evident. Colour fidelity is a little hard to judge due to the use of numerous arty filters and video effects throughout, but they are fully saturated with no distracting colour bleeding.
The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts appear in the form of occasional mild aliasing and edge enhancement was not noticed.
The transfer is generally clean with only occasional artefacts cropping up fleetingly.
There are no subtitles available per se. However, if you select the "extra" instrumental (i.e. karaoke) versions of the songs, then the lyrics are played at a suitably sing-along pacing.
This is a single-sided dual-layered disc (DVD 9) but as I could not detect a layer change, I assume it is sensibly placed between chapters.
Lies, damned lies and cover blurbs. The overall audio quality of this disc is good, but despite what the back cover blurb states, it is not presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
The audio menu allows you to select either Stereo or Surround sound. This equates to a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 and err... Dolby Digital 2.0, both are encoded at 224 kbps. I cannot for the life of me distinguish between the two tracks and neither can any of my PC or DVD players. Let's just assume there is a typo on the back cover then, and well, a little joke on the menu selection?
The sound is clear and I could not detect any significant audio defects. Audio synch was not an issue - but lip-synch was in a few minor instances. The surround flag does not appear to be enabled and without the use of Pro Logic decoding the surrounds remain mute. There is some nice stereo separation from the front speakers, the opening bars of Lazy being a good example. The drums are usually nice and clear, the occasional acoustic guitar intro sounds spiffy, the grunge elements from the lead guitars are usually satisfying and Anderson's vocals are suitably Bowie-esque throughout.
To my (non-audiophile) ears the audio is about decent CD standard, and is certainly nowhere near the standard one might expect from a top-notch 5.1 Dolby Digital or dts encoded disc (for example Eagles - Hell Freezes Over). So, no special effects, no earth-shaking bass and no jaw-dropping clarity - but a very serviceable stereo track with the added bonus of some nice visuals. Listening to the audio in stereo, Pro Logic and (on my PC) Pro Logic II, I would recommend sticking to the vanilla stereo flavour - the sound is much richer and presumably, closer to the way it "should" sound.
Other than for bass redirection, the subwoofer sleeps throughout the performance as there is no discrete .1 channel encoding.
|Surround Channel Use|
It is hard to determine exactly what constitutes an "extra" on a music DVD such as this, but here is a run-down on the available features, beyond the tracks listed above.
The menus are very nicely put together (and slightly evocative of The Wall DVD in some respects). Each of the main menu selections leads to an animated sub-menu, frequently based on the album artwork from which the tracks originate, allowing access to the following features:
This provides a small (1/6th) screen picture-in-picture of the band commentating on the videos. The sound quality is fairly dodgy, and the boom mike frequently veers dangerously close to a full-on assault on the band members. It is, however, very interesting to watch and is very revealing indeed. For example, all the videos which I really liked were considered awful by the band. I guess that's why I'm writing this review, and they are playing to thousands of fans...
This consists of six video clips of the "home movie" ilk, taken from various locations around the world, largely of in-the-studio, backstage or airport footage:
As with everything else on the disc, presented full frame with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.
You want karaoke? You got it! Your choice of twelve videos, with or without subtitles, to sing along to. Apparently karaoke such as this was a feature of many Suede live gigs!
This consists of four pages of text in the world's smallest font, describing some detail behind each of the videos. It makes for an informative, if brief, read.
During the band commentary in Stay Together, once the entire band leaves the room hit "enter". This plays an unlisted version of Positivity. Thanks to the superb fansite www.suede.4ever.cc for this information.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Region 1 disc appears to be the same as the Region 4 release. Of course, the band had to change their name in the USA to The London Suede for legal reasons. Some fan reviews suggest it is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1. If this is actually true, then I would suggest the Region 1 version would be the preferred choice.
Suede - Lost in TV is an essential purchase for serious fans of the band. For those who have a passing interest or who like David Bowie influenced sounds (as do I), this presents an opportunity to listen to some truly catchy tunes from a very successful British 90s band. If you genuinely like Brett Anderson's distinctive voice this is sure to please, but if you can take him or leave him...I would suggest giving the poncy little blighter the benefit of the doubt - this really, really grows on you. Let me finish by saying I fell asleep (eventually) last night after finally managing to stop humming Can't Get Enough. Enough said?
The video quality is generally good and without significant defect.
The audio quality is a good stereo recording of some bloody catching tunes.
The extra features are very good, but the design of the overall package (i.e. selecting subtitles or audio format) can be a little confusing.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|