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Talk Talk

Crossover Prog

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Talk Talk Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk album cover
3.34 | 25 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Today
2. Talk Talk
3. My Foolish Friend
4. Such A Shame
5. Dum Dum Girl
6. It's My Life
7. Give It Up
8. Living In Another World
9. Life's What You Make It
10. Happiness Is Easy
11. I Believe In You
12. Desire
13. Life's What You Make It (Live)
14. Tomorrow's Started (Live)

DVD (the 2007 release)
1. Today
2. Talk Talk (version 1)
3. Talk Talk (version 2)
4. My Foolish Friend
5. Such a Shame
6. Dum Dum Girl (take 1)
7. Dum Dum Girl (take 2)
8. It's My Life
9. Life's What You Make It
10. Living in Another World
11. Give It Up
12. I Believe in You

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Hollis / vocal, guitar, piano, organ
- Lee Harris / drums
- Paul Webb / bass
- Mark Feltham / harmonica
- Martin Ditcham / percussion
- Tim Friese Greene / organ, piano, harmonium
- Robbie McIntosh / guitar
+ other guest musicians

Releases information

CD Capitol Catalog Number: 93976 (1990)
CD+DVD: EMI Records 0946 3 86246 22 (2007) misses the CD tracks 13-14.

Thanks to ekzodo for the addition
and to Matti for the last updates
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TALK TALK Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TALK TALK Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Interesting to see that there is not a review of A Natural History as this is one one of those rare compilation albums that actually works. OK, it excludes anything off the last Laughing Stock album but in all sincerity it would have been hard to consider a selection from it anyways due to it's even more obscure and minimalist soundscapes as wonderful as they are. A Natural History shares everything most accessible from Talk Talk up to Spirit Of Eden. The best tracks would have to be the live version of ' Tomorrow's Started', ' Give It Up' and ' I Believe In You'. Overall though a very polished album which is hard to come by with compilations. Recommended for anyone wanting to get to know Talk Talk a little bit more.
Review by Gooner
4 stars As noted, "A Natural History" is an excellent compilation from Talk Talk that actually works. Considered a "synth band", Talk Talk were greater than sum of their parts. It also shows their progression from an arty New Wave band more in touch with Japan than Duran Duran to a pioneer of "Post Rock" which includes "I Believe In You" and "Desire" from the LP _Spirit Of Eden_ ...which are the highlights of that LP from 1988. For their masterpiece, prog.rockers on this site should seek out _Laughing Stock_ from 1991.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk is a best of album from Talk Talk. Talk Talk is one of those bands on Prog Archives that have one leg in the progressive camp and one in the more commercial camp. The two first albums from Talk Talk are intelligent new wave synth pop while their their third album The Colour of Spring began their journey into experimentation. Itīs a very interesting album even though itīs still very commercial. Their fourth and fifth albums are the most progressive albums from the band. Very minimalistic yet elaborate arrangements and very subtle almost subdued vocals from frontman and bandleader Mark Hollis are some of the ingredients on those two albums. Talk Talk work a lot with structures in the songs on those albums. This best of album includes songs from their first four albums which are also the most accessible ones.

The early synth pop years is represented by the first six tracks. My Foolish Friend must be a single track. Itīs not on any of the original albums. Nice early song that one. The five other early tracks are chosen wisely as they are definitely the best from the two first albums The Partyīs Over and Itīs My Life. The Colour of Spring is represented here with four tracks which shows very well the popularity of that album while the last two tracks are from the fourth album Spirit of Eden. This is in fact a very good representation of Talk Talkīs career up til then. Here on Prog Archives there are two live songs on the list, but they are not on my copy of the album.

The musicianship is very good if you didnīt already know.

The production varies as the first couple of albums havenīt got as interesting a production as the later tracks. All songs are well produced though.

Even though Talk Talkīs last album Laughing Stock is not represented on this best of collection itīs still a very good overview and well worth 3 stars. If youīre curious about how Talk Talk sounds this is a good introduction to their music. Just be sure to get their best album Laughing Stock as well.

Review by Matti
3 stars This compilation shows chronologically the stylistic evolution of TALK TALK from the rather plastic- sounding New Wave / synth pop period to the deeply individual and introvert art rock of their last two albums, with a slight quantitative emphasis on the strong album in between, The Colour of Spring (1986), and sadly very little from the final masterpieces. It's more or less in the unimaginative "Greatest Hits" manner, ie. includes those songs that have appeared as singles and music videos. The version I had contained a bonus DVD of almost identical track list (just missing some songs of the CD). I'm not going to speculate whether this is a good compilation and how it should have been made to better please us more demanding listeners, instead I'll be the first reviewer to deal with the videos.

Two catchy synth pop songs are taken from The party's Over (1982), 'Today' and 'Talk Talk'. The latter appears twice with no major differences in the visual expression - the poorer version could simply have been left out. Quite typically to the era, the group's image featured clean white shirts, shaved cheeks and angular, semi-angstic body language especially by vocalist Mark Hollis. I must say their contemporaries such as DURAN DURAN made much better videos right from the start.

The non-album song 'My Foolish Friend' (1983) already shows some improvement in the songwriting, and the mostly outdoor video filled with working class misery stands better multiple viewings. Then we enter the finer sounds of the 2nd album It's My Life (1984). The video for 'Such a Shame' features Hollis in black and bright orange clothes, standing in the middle of the screen against minimalistic background for the most of the time, opening his big mouth very wide in playback singing and smiling almost disturbingly. This kind of video imagery was taken further in Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer'. Also 'Dum Dum Girl' has two takes, very similar to each other (now long-haired, John Lennon -looking Hollis singing to a microphone in an open sunny field). The first take is more carefree with even some improvising on the real live vocal parts, and the second one features some skillful picture editing. Funny but I actually like both of them without much questioning the need for both. 'It's My Life' is a nice video consisting mostly of wild animals and some minor graphics.

Also the nocturnal video of 'Life's What You Make It' is filled with nature; Hollis playing piano - there are lots of close-ups of keys covered with tiny mist drops or centipedes walking on them. In fact this is one of my favourite music videos from my early youth, and also 'Living in Another World' had remained quite well in my memory. The basic idea is Mark Hollis playing the grand piano and the other band members pushing themselves towards him against a strong wind, or hanging on a floating part of the instrument. The shadowy camera work is of high artistic quality.

'Give it Up' is taken from Live at Montreux 1986. Good stuff! 'I Believe in You' (from Spirit of Eden, 1988) ends the DVD mostly with multilayered images of Hollis; minimalistic but stylish.

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