Morning Music: Talking Heads

Remain in Light - Talking HeadsWhen I was younger, I was mad about Talking Heads. They put out a fine debut album, Talking Heads 77. They followed it up with three albums, each better than the one before: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, and Remain in Light. When Speaking in Tongues came out, it was so disappointing. How could it not be? Even if it had been as good any of the three previous albums, it would have been disappointing. And it wasn’t nearly as good as any of those albums. And then it just got embarrassing: Little Creatures. It would have been embarrassing coming from Madness.

But it is great that we have those three albums. And recently, I’ve noticed that there is video of Talking Heads during their “Remain in Light” tour. So here is “Crosseyed and Painless” from a performance in Rome. What a great band!

The whole Live in Rome concert is available on YouTube.

6 thoughts on “Morning Music: Talking Heads

  1. Agreed on Little Creatures and the soundtrack for True Stories was even more ghastly but I think Speaking in Tongues, has some incredible songs, particularly Naive Melody, but not up to the standards of 77, Food, Fear and Remain in Light.

    I never understood why Clean Break wasn’t the top Talking Heads hit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3SoQh_VTZs

    • I should have been clearer. It’s the three albums that I think that I think are unquestionably great. But Talking Heads 77 and Speaking in Tongues are fine albums — although I would give the edge to the former.

      I agree about “Clean Break.” It would have been better if it had taken the place of “Artists Only” on the second album.

    • @Labitokov — The first side of “Speaking In Tongues” is terrific (it’s also the first rock record I ever got from the library as a kid, so I’m kinda attached to it.) The second side is not so good, except for “Naive Melody.”

      Did you ever hear Byrne’s first solo album, “Rei Momo”? I’ve been listening to that lately, it really holds up well.

      • Oh, Grasshopper! As representative of the other monks, I can tell you that we will grant you the slight against, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. But we will not stand for your casual dismissal of The Catherine Wheel! But yes, we very much enjoy his Latin music. We could not, however, condone the long hair. We think you should consider the kōan, “What you gonna do when you get out of jail? I’m gonna have some fun. What do you consider fun?”

        I did say that Speaking in Tongues was an excellent album all by itself. But it really did signal the end of Talking Heads. There is this thing that happens to a lot of musicians who create innovative music because they aren’t able to make the kind of music that they most love. Eventually, they are able to make that kind of music — and it isn’t as good. Ultimately, I think Tom Tom Club is much more the continuation of Talking Heads than Byrne’s solo work.

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