I did kind of want to end Talking Heads with Remain in Light. It’s nice to end on a high note. But the truth is, you can’t blame Talking Heads for never reaching those heights because who reaches those heights? (Well, maybe Jerry Harrison.) But I think I should talk about Speaking in Tongues.
Yes, I put the album down a lot. It’s actually a really good album. But the value of the album depends upon its context. For a lot of people, it was the first thing they heard. And I can imagine, it must have been very exciting. The first thing I heard was Talking Heads 77. And no, I didn’t listen to it in 1977. I discovered Talking Heads all at once in 1981.
I remember the first time I heard anything from Speaking in Tongues. I was at a friend’s house and “Burning Down the House” came on the local radio. I thought it sounded okay, but it didn’t have the depth of anything that was on Remain in Light. But I ran out and got the album. (Well, I ran out and bought it as soon as I got the money. It’s amazing to think back at what a big deal buying a new record was in those days.) And it was fine. But I was expecting Remain in Light II.
Actually, what I was hoping for was something that would surpass Remain in Light as much as it had surpassed Fear of Music. Was that reasonable? Of course not! But I was still in my teens. So I don’t blame people who were introduced to Talking Heads with Speaking in Tongues for thinking that it was great. And as I said, it is really good. But you have to admit, that it gets better if you move back an album.
So what are we going to listen to? Not “This Must Be the Place.” Not because I dislike it. It just doesn’t go that well with the album. So how about “I Get Wild/ Wild Gravity”? Well, you have no choice!