Being labelled Britpop these days in the UK is a certain kiss of death, which may be one reason why Suede—the original NME poster boys of Britpop—has gone and funkified their sound. No longer haunted by the defection of axman Bernard Butler, Suede has de-emphasized the ringing and cutting sound of the guitar, so out front in their earlier music, and brought out the keyboards and the sass. Predictably reaction to Head Music has been decidedly mixed. Then there’s the accusations of mediocrity and, dare I say it, the charges of closet Britpoppery. I fall somewhere in the middle—I need Head Music as a dyed-in-the-wool Suede fan and love about half the album, but regretfully acknowledge Suede has had much finer moments, such as the “essential-for any-good-record-collection” Dog Man Star.
// Notes from the Road
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