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"Ah, the universal argument," he sighs, sounding as if he answers this question five times before his morning tea. "I think that on Head Music the style was only realized at the very end when we were mixing it. You can talk and talk about it till you're blue in the face, but we've always managed to maintain the integrity of the pure song underneath. Once the songs are written, you can start forming them in the shape, putting flesh on the bones."
But like some alien, boneless organism, Head Music might well dissolve completely without its studio-designed flesh. Suede seems to be getting further from the thing that makes a song stick. "Well, we wanted to change the way we work," Oakes continues. "But it wasn't a deliberate thing. It was totally natural. We don't just sit around a table with a stylist and the record company and say, 'Where are we gonna go now?'"
Without Butler, that might not be very far.
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