Archive for Talking Heads

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Talking Heads- Speaking in Tongues

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by 80smetalman


What a difference thirty-three years can make! I didn’t bother too much with the Talking Heads’ 1983 release, “Speaking in Tongues” because when I first heard the single, “Burning Down the House” on the radio, I thought that with the strong bass, they were trying to sound more disco. Yeah, I know. Rolling Stone magazine stating that the band was experimenting in funk put me off a bit too. It may be because that while my experiences in the marines opened my mind up to different music, it also closed my mind to certain types. I regret that now. Going back to the Talking Heads, I can say that over the past three decades, “Burning Down the House” has slowly grown on me enough to finally give the “Speaking in Tongues” a listen. Now, I have come to the conclusion that in 1983, times had finally caught up with the Talking Heads and that their first album, “77,” was way ahead of its time.

In this case, it was probably a good idea that the album started off with their only top ten single. For me, “Burning Down the House” brought me into familiar territory. I now realise that the song sounds more like traditional Talking Heads than I had originally allowed myself to believe. The rest of the album follow suit. In fact, my initial reaction was that all the songs, while all well done, sounded pretty much the same. However, when I listened to the album again, I began to find subtle differences in the songs. The use of more keyboards on the album was done very well but done without sounding like the synth pop the 80s would eventually degenerate into. Two great examples of the keyboard use are the tracks “Slippery People” and “I Get Wild/Wild Gravity.” There are some really nice unique keyboards usages with those two songs. Other standout tracks for me are “Swamp” and “Girlfriend is Better.” Something else that this album has in common with the debut is a really good closer track and “Moon Rocks” is quite amusing.


Another thing I first discovered on “77” and shows through more on “Speaking in Tongues” is that Tina Weymouth is a very underrated bass player and I wonder if the lack of respect shone to her abilities is down to gender.

Track Listing:

  1. Burning Down the House
  2. Making Flippy Floppy
  3. Girlfriend is Better
  4. Slippery People
  5. I Get Wild/Wild Gravity
  6. Swamp
  7. Moon Rocks
  8. Pulled Up the Roots
  9. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Talking Heads

Talking Heads

David Byrne- vocals, guitar, keyboards, keyboard bass, percussion

Chris Frantz- drums, backing vocals, synthesizers

Jerry Harrison- keyboards, guitar, backing vocals

Tina Weymouth- bass, keyboard bass, backing vocals, guitar

Man I have seen the light and am now converted! I am glad I was so wrong about the Talking Heads in 1983 and their album “Speaking in Tongues.” They were considered punk in the late 1970s and new wave in the 1980s but the ‘new’ can’t be emphasized enough. They were ahead of their time and in 1983, the rest of the world finally caught up with them.

Next post: Greg Kihn Band- Khinspiracy

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Talking Heads- Remain In Light

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by 80smetalman



The Talking Heads were yet another band who were branded punk because of their unique sound that didn’t fit into any neat pigeon hole. Of course, of all the bands that I’ve said this about, they were probably the one band that might actually fit the title. While they weren’t in the same mould as The Sex Pistols, they were born of the New York Punk scene at CBGB’s in the mid 70s. So in that case, they can definitely be considered punk. I became convinced of this when I heard their debut album “77.” This album was totally different and “Psycho Killer” is definitely in my top fifty favourite songs of all time. Even in the early 80s, that album was considered by many to be “way out there.”

Roll on their 1980 album “Remain In Light.” It’s very difficult to for a band to match and album that you consider to be outstanding so I won’t make comparisons to “77,” especially as this album was a change in direction from their traditional punk sound to a more funky direction. I hear some reggae influence in the opening tracks, “Born Under the Punches” and “Crosseyed and Painless.” They are good songs and what really makes them for me is the humourous approach that David Byrne takes to not just these two songs but for the entire album. It is definitely evident in the album’s big single, “Once in a Lifetime.” However, it is this sense of humour that makes me listen more to the lyrics and gets me thinking. Then there are some interesting musical effects, especially in the closer “The Overload” and “Houses In Motion” is very effective too. I get the impression that the band had a rather good time in making this album.

Track Listing:

1. Born Under the Punches

2. Crosseyed and Painless

3. The Great Curve

4. Once in a Lifetime

5. Houses in Motion

6. Seen and Not Seen

7. Listening Wind

8. The Overload

Talking Heads

Talking Heads

David Byrne- guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Tina Weymouth- bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Chris Frantz- drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

“Remain in Light” would go on to be considered one of the best albums of 1980, if not the entire decade by many critics. I don’t debate it. This album provided people with something different at a time when there was mainly hard rock and disco. Fortunately the latter was dying a death. “Remain in Light” highlights the abilities of four very talented musicians and even after all these years, I consider it to be way out there and I like that.

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Talking Heads- 77

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by 80smetalman

In the mid to late 70s, a genre of rock called punk was establishing itself on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, bands like The Sex Pistols and The Jam to name two were gaining a following which would later immortalise them. In the US, the punk scene was gaining notoriety at a New York club called CBGB’s where bands like The New York Dolls and the Talking Heads were delighting the audiences.

Back in those days, I viewed the punk scene with outside regard only. Like anything new and foreign in America, punk was viewed with suspicion and branded evil by the religious right. I remember a preaching denouncing punk rock stating that it encouraged violence. He said that once they heard the music, everyone would start beating one another up and then destroy the place. Being an impressionable teen, I believed this, however, I suggested that my high school American football team listen to some punk before every game to give them that killer instinct. I now know this is a myth because I played some before a street hockey game in the hopes it would make me more violent, boy was I stupid.

The album “77” from the Talking Heads never made me vi0lent either, even though the top single from the album is called “Psycho Killer.” What I like about this album is that it had a sound that I hadn’t heard before. It wasn’t full power chords, but the music has something about it that makes me look up and take notice. The amusing lyrics behind the songs give it another level and prove to me that David Byrne is an underrated genius.

Track Listing:

1. Uh Oh, Love Has Come to Town

2. New Feeling

3. Tenative Decisions

4. Happy Day

5. Who Is it?

6. No Compassion

7. The Book I Read

8. Don’t Worry About the Government

9. First Week/Last Week…Care Free

10. Psycho Killer

11. Pulled Up

Talking Heads

David Byrne- vocals, guitar

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Chris Frantz- drums

Tina Weymouth- bass

The Talking Heads would go on to be accepted in more mainstream music in the early 80s and would eventually start experimenting in funk. But, it’s this, their debut alubm which will always have the highest place for them in my mind.

Next post: The Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

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