Razorblade Suitcase

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Razorblade Suitcase
Razorblade suitcase.jpg
Studio album by
Released19 November 1996
RecordedSarm Hook End and Abbey Road Studios, London, England, U.K.
ProducerSteve 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 English rock band Bush, released on 19 November 1996 by Trauma and Interscope Records. The follow-up to their 1994 debut Sixteen Stone, it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with engineer and producer Steve Albini, its sound has been compared by many to Nirvana's In Utero (1993), which was also produced and engineered by Albini.[2][3]

Razorblade Suitcase debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 293,000 copies in its first week of sales in the United States.[4] To date, it remains the only Bush album to top the Billboard 200;[5] the twentieth anniversary of the album was marked with a reissue officially titled Razorblade Suitcase (In Addition) on 16 December 2016, including the remastered album and four rare bonus tracks: "Broken TV", "Old", "Sleeper", and "Bubbles".[6]

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.[7] 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."[7]

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."[8] Around the same time Albini declared that he put more time and energy into Razorblade Suitcase than he had with any previous albums.[8]


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.[9][10]

Release and reception[edit]

Razorblade Suitcase was released on 19 November 1996, through Trauma Records, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 293,000 copies in its first week.[4] 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.[4] 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.[11]

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.[7]

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,[12] 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.[12] The singles "Swallowed" and "Greedy Fly" peaked at number seven and number twenty-two, respectively, on the UK Singles Chart.[11]

"Bonedriven" and "Cold Contagious" followed as singles but did not make an impact on the charts.[12]

"Mouth" was remixed and later released as a single from the band's 1997 album Deconstructed. The remixed version reached number five on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.[12] "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.[13]

20th anniversary reissue[edit]

The 20th anniversary of Razorblade Suitcase was marked by a reissue, officially titled Razorblade Suitcase (In Addition), it was released digitally on 16 December 2016,[14] and on vinyl on 10 February 2017.[15] The reissue includes the remastered album and four rare bonus tracks: "Broken TV", "Old", "Sleeper", and "Bubbles". Prior to the reissue, three of the four bonus tracks had been released as B-sides ("Broken TV" with "Swallowed" and "Old" with "Greedy Fly") or found on compilations, but "Sleeper" had never received a proper release;[6] the vinyl release of the reissue is on 180 gram black and white swirl vinyl and comes housed in a metallic silver gatefold cover with re-interpreted artwork, a poster of lyrics (including the songs that weren’t on the original), and liner notes from producer Steve Albini."[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyC[1]
The Independent(Negative)[16]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[17]
Select3/5 medals[18]

Reviews for the album were generally mixed, negative, or average; some critics 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. For example, 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 irresistible reminders of Nirvana.[16] Rolling Stone's Matt Diehl criticized the album at the time of its release, giving the album two out of five stars.[17] However, Razorblade Suitcase was not criticized by all critics. Select magazine gave the effort three out of five stars.[18]

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."[3]


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.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Gavin Rossdale[19]

1."Personal Holloway"3:23
2."Greedy Fly"4:30
4."Insect Kin"4:27
5."Cold Contagious"6:00
6."A Tendency to Start Fires"4:04
8."Straight No Chaser"4:02
13."Distant Voices – ends at 5:16; includes hidden track"6:39
Total length:61:43
Japanese Edition
14."Broken TV"4:28
20th Anniversary Reissue
15."Broken TV"4:26
  • "Whatever/History Reprise" (hidden track)
  • "A Tendency to Start Fires", "Straight No Chaser" and "Synapse" do not appear on the LP version due to time constraints.


Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]


  1. ^ a b Browne, David (22 November 1996). "Review: Razorblade Suitcase (1996) – Bush". Time Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  2. ^ SPIN – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Razorblade Suitcase – Bush". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "Bush's Razorblade Suitcase cuts to top". Jam!. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Bush – Chart history – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Roffman, Michael (18 November 2016). "Bush share never-before-released Razorblade Suitcase track "Sleeper" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b SPIN – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Bush Hits The Road – MTV". MTV. 16 January 1997. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  10. ^ "1997 - 1998 at OneSecondBush.com - A Comprehensive Fan Site For The Band Bush". OneSecondBush.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Bush – Artist – Official Charts". UK Albums Chart; the Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d "Bush – Chart history – Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Julie Delpy – Other works". Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Bush: Razorblade Suitcase (In Addition): Music". Amazon.com. ASIN B01MQT9GSU. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Bush: Razorblade Suitcase (In Addition): Music". Amazon.com. ASIN B01N4DYUA3. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b Gill, Andy (17 January 1997). "Review: Razorblade Suitcase". Independent News & Media. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  17. ^ a b Diehl, Matt (13 November 1996). "Review: Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  18. ^ a b Lawrence, Eddy. "Review: Bush – Razorblade Suitcase, Trauma Records". Select. EMAP Metro (March 1997): 102.
  19. ^ "Razorblade Suitcase – Bush – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in German). Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in French). Hung Medien.
  24. ^ "Bush Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  26. ^ "Bush: Razorblade Suitcase" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  27. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  28. ^ "Tonlist Top 30". DV. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "{{{artist}}} | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  33. ^ "Bush Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  34. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Albums of 1996". RPM. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  35. ^ "Dutchcharts – End of Year 1996". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  36. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1997". billboard.biz. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  37. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia’s Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 45.
  38. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  39. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  40. ^ "British album certifications – Bush – Razorblade Suitcase". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 July 2012. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Razorblade Suitcase in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  41. ^ "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]