Head Music
(Nude, Columbia)

k bernard

More challenging than coming back from the adversity of the misunderstood masterpiece, Dog Man Star, is to follow up a commercial success with yet another. I'm, of course, referring to COMING UP. To do this SUEDE have delivered HEAD MUSIC, which shot to number one upon release in the UK last month.

Eschewing the safety of sticking to the COMING UP formula, Suede do indeed take chances with HEAD MUSIC and go about things a little differently. The sound is more electronic; less emotional and clearly designed to be performed live. Opener, Electricity and Can't Get Enough are the two that will definitely'rawk the house'. She's In Fashion, Asbestos and Hi-fi are perfect summer soothers, as smooth and sweet as a melting ice cream cone on a hot day. There's is a certain aloof, less desperate and more even quality to these songs than Suede material up till now. I look forward to hearing the extended live versions, which have the potential of being very spellbinding.

Overall, Head Music is progressive.
It brings Suede into new creative areas.

A cut above these three is Everything Will Flow, which builds to a gorgeous chorus backed with swaying synths. Dressed in Brett's ethereal vocal quality, this is classic Suede. Indian Strings and He's Gone follow closely˝sweeping melodies with reaching vocals.

OK, now on to the title cut, Head Music and following number, Elephant Man. These two do nothing for me, although Head Music has a certain catchy quality. It should be very popular at frat house parties. Not that I'm being prissy about the line,"Give me head, give me head, give me head music," it's just that it's such an obvious word-play. Hell, though, couple of beers and I might be chanting the chorus with the audience. (har har)

Elephant Man, though, sounds very choppy, clumsy and, well, very elephant man-like. Perhaps that was the intention. Perhaps it's a statement song. Angry Suede; a new concept. The CD closes with the very short acoustic and vocal only political observation, Crack In The Union Jack.

Overall, Head Music is progressive. It brings Suede into new creative areas. Some of it works better than the rest, but I would rather see this than have the band stay with what worked last time. Give me Head Music.

Photo: Brett Anderson on stage at Reading, 1997