Most people are willing to acknowledge British, grunge crossover pioneers Bush’s debut album Sixteen Stone as a certified classic. Featuring such singles as “Machine Head”, “Comedown”, “Everything Zen”, and “Glycerine”, the album was littered with Billboard single royalty. Add in a dashingly handsome lead singer and an epic MTV Spring Break performance and you’ve got yourself something special. But after Sixteen Stone came and went, the group seemed to fall from grace in many people’s eyes. Once poised to be the heirs to the grunge/pop throne, Bush’s follow-up release Razorblade Suitcacse was released to only moderate fanfare. Even though it lacks the bevy of unflappable singles, for all intents and purposes, Razorblade Suitcase is as good, if not better than it’s predecessor.
Though Bush’s breakout was supported almost solely by the strength of its singles, Razorblade Suitcase, a more album-centered release, was no stranger to chart toppers. “Greedy Fly”–and it’s super cinematic video, the likes of which we just don’t see anymore–and the astonishing “Swallowed” were nothing to shake a stick at. In fact, I’m of the mindset that “Swallowed” can easily hold serve with anything on Sixteen Stone and might be the best song the group has ever written.
Where the real difference in the two albums comes, though, is in the album tracks. The debut was shallow and difficult to get through on the strength of the non-singles. Tracks like “Testosterone”, “Alien”, “X-Girlfriend”, and “Monkey” are chores to sit through. The only saving grace is knowing that another incredible single will be in there somewhere to break up the monotony. Razorblade Suitcase is a different story altogether though. Tracks like “Cold Contagious”, “A Tendency to Start Fires”, and “Mouth” all stand up to their more famed album counterparts. Listening to the record as a whole affords a much more enjoyable time than trying to make it through the band’s debut.
There’s no denying, unfortunately, that the band fell off significantly post-Razorblade–watching that “Greedy Fly” video, it’s pretty clear where Gavin Rossdale’s acting career started and possibly why the music took a dip. And then there was Rossdale’s unfortunate foray into solo records. But these musical slides aside, Bush released two classics, even if the second isn’t afforded the treatment it should get.
Bush – “Greedy Fly” (a seven minute video!)
Bush – “Swallowed”