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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give me Head Music instead...
According to the band's biography, Love & Poison, Suede's music is always an honest reflection of where they're at and no more is this more evident than with their 4th Album, Head Music. The band were perilously close to disintegration with the band's slide into drugs and alcohol abuse and this is reflected in the cold, icy detachment of many of...
Published on 21 Feb 2006 by thedarkhorse747

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The missing Butler...
I remember buying Suede's first album back in 1993. It was an album of a band who had so much potential, and looked as though they were going to take on the world and win. In 1994 they followed it up with 'Dog Man Star', and epic, dark, and hugely involving album which made the debut look weak in comparison (even though we all knew full well that it wasnt). Suede were- in...
Published on 5 May 2003


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The missing Butler..., 5 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
I remember buying Suede's first album back in 1993. It was an album of a band who had so much potential, and looked as though they were going to take on the world and win. In 1994 they followed it up with 'Dog Man Star', and epic, dark, and hugely involving album which made the debut look weak in comparison (even though we all knew full well that it wasnt). Suede were- in my opinion- the best British guitar band of tne last decade.
And then it all started to go wrong. Bernard Butler left (with hindsight, the real talent in the band) and 1996's 'Coming Up' was a poor record. I always hoped that its follow up would see Suede pick up where 'Dog Man Star' left off but it didnt. 'Head Music' is a very weak collection of tracks that have lyrics to laugh at, and simple boring guitar riffs by the dozen.
The first song, 'Electricity', whilst being predicatble Suede-by-numbers, is probably one of the best tracks. Other songs such as 'Down', Savoir Faire' and 'Can't Get Enough' are simply terrible- awful cheap keyboard noises mixed in with tinny guitars. This is not the Suede that we all fell in love with in the early nineties...
However, the album does have its better tracks. 'Asbestos' is as good as any Butler penned track, 'Everything Will Flow' is pleasent enough, and even 'She's in Fashion' is pretty catchy in a summery way. However, despite these lighter moments one cant help but realise that Suede never recovered from the departure of Butler. They had their day in '93-'94 but by '99 (when 'Head Music' was released)it was well and truly over.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give me Head Music instead..., 21 Feb 2006
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
According to the band's biography, Love & Poison, Suede's music is always an honest reflection of where they're at and no more is this more evident than with their 4th Album, Head Music. The band were perilously close to disintegration with the band's slide into drugs and alcohol abuse and this is reflected in the cold, icy detachment of many of the lyrics and the often brash, loud and gurgling sound of the guitars and symphosizers. This was the band's 'electronic' and 'experimental' phase and whereas Coming Up was all about instant pop frills, Head Music's songs are often long affairs with songs often topping the 5 minute mark. Not that this is a bad thing when Suede are involved though and nearly seven years on from the original release, many of the songs still hold up well today. Asbestos is a gritty, low-life growl of a song which wouldn't look out of place in a 60's/70's mob film. Indian Strings and He's Gone are both touching, personal tracks, the latter including a soaring guitar solo from Richard Oakes, the former integrating more eastern musical influences and doing so brilliantly. Electricity and Can't Get Enough are storming stomps, the fierceness of both always threatening to burst through the speaker at any moment. She's In Fashion is pure summer delight. Gloriously poppy and instantly likeable, it's a wonder how this did not reach the top 10. Savoir Faire is a sophisticated, catchy fare but sadly the clumsy Prince-like lyrics don't quite match the musical output and it's from there that Head Music begins to falter slightly. The catchy yet weak Head Music and Elephant Man see the band slipping toward self-parody while Crack In The Union Jack appears to be nothing more than just a pointless tack-on. Those gripes aside, Head Music is a good album and a very worthy piece in the Suede canon.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Draw the blinds and watch the show...", 23 Jun 2011
By 
octophone (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
In a new liner note composed for this reissue, Brett Anderson contests that "Head Music is "the most underrated of all the Suede albums". Unfortunately, it is necessary to disagree - its status as something between failed experiment, curate's egg and a plain ol' misfire is pretty much justified.

No Suede album is a complete waste of your time and there are some gems here - the punky snarl of "Can't Get Enough" retains its quick-fire freshness, "Everything Will Flow" swoons charmingly and "He's Gone" is a fine example of the group's melancholic balladry, albeit at its darkest. But these are very much exceptions as the majority of the album plods at a listless mid-pace with the prominent electronics and rigid programming leaving very little room for those musical flashes that would have enriched their sound previously - Simon Gilbert's expressive drumming feels almost absent from the final mix, Mat Osman's agile, sensitive basslines are replaced by loops and synths and even Richard Oakes struggles to find a way into some of the songs (the slinky wah-funk of "Electricity" notwithstanding). It just doesn't feel like the work of a group and Anderson's aforementioned note disingenuously skates around the fact that Suede were in disarray during the recording.

This reissue is packaged to the same high standard as the others - as well as a DVD of videos, live footage and an interview (comparatively brief and a little stilted too), the CDs contain the original album, some interesting demos and a full disc of b-sides and other missing tracks. Unlike the other b-sides discs thus far, this one shows how unfocussed the group were. Again, it is not without merit - jovial Fall tribute "Implement Yeah" is a worthwhile excavation and Anderson is right to suggest that "Leaving" and "Crackhead" would have improved the album but these tracks often suffer from the same lack of editing and direction with several struggling to justify their length. As generous as the 79+ minute duration of each CD is, the group admit that "Head Music" was over-long and scattershot so its legacy is not well served by having a further 23 tracks tacked onto it.

Nevertheless, Suede fans will want this. The best of this package can sit alongside the highlights of their other albums with pride but there just isn't enough of it to rank this one as highly as the other editions in this well-presented series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Going in a New Direction, 10 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
The attraction to some bands is their predictability, on the other end of the scale, it's their ability to suprise. Suede's Head Music achieves both. Predictable in the sense that not one album is similar, surprising because of the tendency to move towards pop in this album. The most noticable change in this album, is the flat,tonal quality of the music. It's brashness contrasts with the smoothness seen in Dog Man Star, the rock in Suede and the syntheticness of Coming Up. If anything Suede has injected a sense of fun in to their music. The sound is light yet the lyrics are just as cutting and thought provoking as the rest of their work. The tension caused by the difference in direction of their music and the lyrics creates a new, dynamic edge that hasn't been seen by suede in this form. Easier to listen to, easier to dance to, one can be easily distacted from the lyrical content. One could presume that Suede has targeted the club rather than the live stage with this album. If anything this album displays the bands versitility. The twanginess of the music is softened by the quirky beat of the tracks. Always seeming to be an album band, the tracks come as a package, convincing the listener that we must play the whole cd through rather than just skip to random tracks. As an album, it's an enjoyable and enlightening listen. Fresh and new, yet somewhat more conventional than the previous works, this contradictory achievement, allows it to be labeled a sucess. Maybe a disapointment for those stuck in brit pop mode but more accessible for those that found the other albums a bit daunting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected., 14 Feb 2000
By 
GeoX "GeoX" (Men...Of...The...Sea!) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
I didn't like this at all at first. Not at all. Suede-by-numbers, I thought. Boring. But the more I listen to it...well, the more I realize that even if that is the case, it's still damn good music. Sure, it's no Dog Man Star, but what of that? It's better than Coming Up by quite some distance, and I find myself listening to it quite a lot. Asbestos, I think, is really quite breathtaking--easily the best post-Bernard Suede song yet. And Indian Strings and He's Gone (not to be confused with He's Dead and She's Not Dead, of course--and then there's a Pulp song called She's Dead--where will it all end? ), while perhaps a little rote, are still very good. Crack in the Union Jack feels strangely unfinished and ultimately pointless, but it makes a decent enough closing track. I must come down firmly on this though: the album would be much, much better off without the title track and Elephant Man. They aren't terrible songs on their own, but they very much destroy the mood of the album--I prefer to listen to CDs straight through, but these are two tracks that I skip every time. They shoulda been relegated to b-side status. Still, I'm happy. After all these years, Suede proves themself still capable of creating intoxicating music, and as far as I'm concerned they can pretty much keep doing what they've been doing ad infinitum. Change isn't *always* a good thing, as Blur have aptly shown us. Bleh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the words are like paradise birds, 18 Aug 2001
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This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
A shining jewel of a record, this caught Suede at a point where most of their pre-Britpop contemporaries like The Auteurs had fallen off the pace. It is hugely varied and always compelling. It sheds the intensity of the early tracks from the 'Coming Up' album and picks up where 'Sci Fi Lullabies' left off: a more leisurely pace, with the injection of an electronic 80's vibe into the mix of 70's influenced glam indie. A more mellow collection, but no less fascinating. This is an aurally pleasurable experience and the glossy sleeve smells fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly the second disc is the real star of these reissues., 25 Sep 2012
By 
Mr. P. Baker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
I'd already reappraised Head Music a couple of years before this reissue came out. In 1999 I sort of tolerated it and thought that there were a couple of good tunes on there. Now I wouldn't lose anything off of disc 1 except for Elephant Man which is rubbish (check out their Jools Holland performance of Elephant Man on you tube - what were they thinking?!).

In this reissue booklet Brett writes that this is their most under rated album. I totally agree. But disc 2 is such a treat and deserves to be mentioned more.

I'd only heard the b side See That Girl before getting this special edition and so my expectations were not high as that isn't a great song.

Disc 2 of Head Music is the most satisfying and consistent of all the reissue bonus discs. There are some killer hooks and mean sounds in there (Implement Yeah!, Bored) as well as floydian serenity (Seascape) and smooth coolness unheard of on any other Suede album (Let Go). Also Music Like Sex is easily the best previously unreleased track across all the reissues.

There's nothing as good as To The Birds or Whipsnade on here (I'm not insane) but there's nothing as bad as Brass In Pocket or Eno's Introducing The Band either.

Just thought I'd big this up in case you thought that the Suede b sides are no good after Coming Up. On the contrary they are fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars underrated, 22 Jun 2011
By 
M. black "barriebb3" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
head music has always been a suede album i've skipped and listened to the first three classics instead.12 years on from its release its actually a fine album that only fails through a lack of editing.two of the songs , the title track , which isnt bad but more suited to a b-side and the horrible glam pastiche elephant man would have been better left off.the album would have flowed better, and there is some superb songs on here.all the singles are good - she's in fashion still sounds as summery as ever and cant get enough is suede at their punkiest.other hilights are down , savoire faire and he's gone.at least suede attempted something diffrent here and although it doesnt all work ,maybe thats down to a band dealing with brett's addictions and neil's illness.disc 2 has some good b sides - leaving is beautiful , let go wouldnt have been out of place on coming up.jubilee and since you went away are also fine , the rest though vary in quality .dvd includes a decent live performance shown on channel 4 at the time of head music's release , interviews with the band and promo videos.worth revisiting then , head music is flawed and at times uneven , but even an average suede album is more enjoyable than most bands output .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suede's Lost Album, 25 Aug 2010
By 
manicm (Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
I'm surprised this album is still in print. I've just heard it for the first time in about 7 years and it's chilling - in a good way.

There is simply nothing in the last decade that can compare to the songs Everything Will Flow, Down, She's In Fashion and Asbestos.

This album is like the soundtrack to a fashion show in outer space.

If this were released today it would be considered a masterpiece by any artist. Their most underrated album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MOVING AHEAD, 20 Jun 2011
By 
Paul M "ROYALSFAN" (Reading ,England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Head Music (Audio CD)
By the release of Head Music, Suede were fully re-established as a musical force in Britain's mid nineties musical free for all. For sure the swagger and granduer had been replaced by a workmanlike professionalism where past musical glories would be compromised for a straight ahead songwriting approach, but within this context Head Music works as a fine addition to Suede's musical legacy.

Adapting to a more contemporary musical sound, where the use of electronics, and even some dance influences [ not fully alien to the band as "Eno's Introducing the Band" had shown ] would take precedence over the guitar dominated approach of fine comeback album Coming Up. Suede effectively created a musical hybrid that was unmistakeably Suede, but with enough of a modern edge to show that the band were taking note of their musical surroundings. Most notable is the emergence of Richard Oakes as an influencial force within the band, and the relegation of Matt Osman and Simon Gilbert to mere bit part players [ without a single writing credit on the main album between them], suggesting that some resentment and factionalism within the band would become almost inevitable. In his booklet essay Brett Anderson alludes to the difficulties recording the album, but overall the results were a fine assured album with enough gems like Electricity, Can't Get enough, and album highlight Asbestos to paper over the cracks and give Suede another big selling album [ and compared to limp fourth efforts by contemporaries Oasis, and Blur, the band were at least progressing].

Following in the mode of the previous reissues, this new version of Head Music offers a lot for the money, with some fine unissued demos of varying quality musically. Indian Strings, is basically a formless dirge, that was not used for understandable reasons, but the three Protocol demos show clearly the direction Suede intended to move into [ where the songs actually have a different identity thanks in part to the fact that Suede sound like a band during this recording process, and Osman, and Gilbert have their well defined roles in the songs]. In fact to my ears the version of Everything Will Flow is more enjoyable than the final album version, because it sounds more like a classic Suede performance.

Disc two offers up all relevant extra tracks that perhaps show Suede struggling to write anything more than average songs during these sessions [ which Brett admits to in the documentary], and that any real experimentation and identity was being reserved for the main album, which is commendable, but rendering disc 2 as mainly superfluous [ but welcome all the same]. There are some exceptions and curios scattered on the second disc particularly as it progresses , Pieces of My Mind sounds , rather oddly, like a slowed down re-write of Del Shannon's Runaway, and Jubilee has sufficient gusto to show Suedes rockier side [ sounding like Trash's deformed sibling], Let Go is a fine pop song which would have suited A New Morning , and the autobiographical nature of Crackhead and Heroin suggests that the roots of Suedes decline were taking hold in the behaviour of the bands frontman.Finally the second disc ends wih three genuine oddities, Poor Little Rich Girl [featuring The Mummers Raissa in an earlier guise], the aforementioned Heroin, and the unreleased [ and rather good ] Music Like Sex.

The DVD offers the usual array of promotional videos, a fine live show from Perivale [ where the band are beginning to look and sound a little frayed around the edges], and a 2011 documentary interview with Anderson, Oakes, and Neil Codling, whilst hardly revealing, it has an honesty in parts that many bands could learn to adapt when talking about their achievements.

Ultimately, Head Music did its job in enabling the new Suede line up to progress, whilst still selling enough albums for the band to remain contenders as the nineties drew to a close.As history showed, Suede imploded after one further album, leaving their full potential unrealised.
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Head Music
Head Music by Suede (Audio CD - 1994)
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