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TALKING HEADS: 77

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Talking Heads Talking Heads: 77 album cover
3.67 | 60 ratings | 7 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1.Uh-Oh,Love Comes To Town (2:48)
2.New Feeling (3:09)
3.Tentative Decisions (3:04)
4.Happy Day (3:55)
5.Who Is It? (1:41)
6.No Compassion (4:47)
7.The Book I Read (4:06)
8.Don't Worry About The Government (3:00)
9.First Week/Last Week.....Carefree (3:19)
10.Psyco Killer (4:19)
11.Pulled Up (4:29)


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

David Byrne / guitar, vocals
Chris Frantz / drums
Jerry Harrison / guitar, keyboards, vocals
Tina Weymouth / bass, vocals




Releases information

Sire LP SR# 6036 1977
Sire CD # 6036 1990

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TALKING HEADS Talking Heads: 77 ratings distribution


3.67
(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(54%)
54%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TALKING HEADS Talking Heads: 77 reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
5 stars Since I've already pointed out that the debut album from Talking Heads is one of my top 20 favorite albums, I might as well shed some light on why it is so. The short version of the story is that it's one of the best feel-good albums in existence!

This album always leaves me in a good mood and I often find myself spinning this record for hours without ever feeling tired of it, which to me says a lot about its quality. There is definitely a part of me that wishes that Talking Heads only made this kind of albums, but on the other hand it would mean that Remain In Light would have never got made and that won't keep me happy for too long. More Songs About Building And Food surely comes close to replicating the fun and easy-going attitude that Talking Heads depict on their debut album but the two highly praised tracks tight at the end makes it not as enjoyable for me.

To understand what I mean when I talk about the easy-going attitude, you won't have to go further than listening to the album opening Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town! This music is of course technically not prog, but if you're expecting that from an album that clearly features the number 77 on its album cover, then the joke is entirely on you. The style would be better defined as a mixture between New Wave and Art Rock or even Art Punk, as it's labeled on Wikipedia, meaning that there is a definite arty flavor embedded into the material, so if you're into bands like Roxy Music or even Sparks then you should feel right at home with this album.

Just like many of my favorite albums, I rarely listen to them for any of their standout moments since they often work better as an album experience without relying on the individual moments. I literally have new favorite tunes every time I listen to Talking Heads: 77 and today it was Who Is It? and The Book I Read that managed to stand out more than they use to. But that's of course very relative since, as mentioned, this is a complete album experience and these songs rarely work as well when taken out of the context of this perfectly balanced album.

Talking Heads really managed to kick off their career on a high note, but this was only the first step on the road to receiving a wider recognition from the Art Rock community. I, for one, can't get enough of this record and hopefully so won't you. Just remember not to expect another Remain In Light and you'll probably do fine!

***** star songs: Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town (2:48) New Feeling (3:09) Who Is It? (1:41) The Book I Read (4:06) Don't Worry About The Government (3:00) Psycho Killer (4:19) Pulled Up (4:29)

**** star songs: Tentative Decisions (3:04) Happy Day (3:55) No Compassion (4:47) First Week/Last Week ... Carefree (3:19)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#297938) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars good pop/rock band , but absolutely NOTHING PROG, no matter what some would have you believe !!!

Debut album from an average pop group that would evolve into an inventive group in a few years, but right now, these guys have the occasional flash of brilliance, but it's only on a few songs per album on the first few. The group is mainly carried by main songwriter, singer and guitarist David Byrne, who has an obvious influence from Latin American musics and African rhythms, and while the group plays some post-punk pop that can also be called New Wave, the ethnic influences are sometimes evident, sometimes more discreet. Obviously the rest of the group is quite fitting to play those toned-down African rhythms, but drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth (playing often keyboards on stage) are more than capable, but never dazzling. Guitarist, keyboardist and back-up singer Jerry Harrison completes the group and make a fairly versatile Babbling Heads group, that seemed to lack inspiration on the debut album's artwork

Indeed the opening track is one of many that are fairly jumpy (almost danceable) and enthusiastic (more for the band than me), but it's nothing for prospective progheads. One can maybe say that the inclusion of these ethnic elements was groundbreaking in the pure pop medium, but in other Western music circles this had happened quite a while ago. One of the album's midlight (can't really speak of "highlight" in 77) is the Psycho Killer tune, with its binary rhythm, but with a semblance of a good guitar solo. The succession of those upbeat mid-tempo tracks can become quite tiresome as they are all rather samey-sounding, despite an odd instrument here and there (African instruments, horn and a cello) and the individual songs find their groove immediately, but stay inside it until the track ends, leaving few space for real instrumental interplay solos and breaks.

The deluxe double-disc remastered version includes two of unfinished (and still instrumental) studio tracks from the album sessions and a bunch of single tracks, whether A or B-side, which add some extra value to those that really enjoy this type of aural torture. The DVD tackles the same album in 5.1 mix, plus different bonus tracks and has two filmed concert extracts which give a good but very amateur-ish (film footage) apercu of their live outings at the time. Indeed Pulled Up is a '78 hand-held camera excerpt from the back of the crowd, zooming sometimes inappropriately on the wrong TH member, while Feel It In My Heart is definitely more competent filming from a pre-debut album NY gig, but sill not professional, but does it matter that much anyway?Happily enough, the Speaking Heads will get much better than this first album, but as Rome wasn't built in one day, the TH will not reach maturity until the fourth RIL album. Unfortunately, we're far away with 77.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#298032) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars You know, I was just about to summarize the evolution of my impressions of this album with "first listen: boring except "Psycho Killer," etc; second listen: at least the sound is pretty neat, though too samey, etc; third listen: really cool etc." Then I happened to discover that, without my realizing it, one of my old friends had reviewed this album with almost the exact same opening, and my plans were laid to waste. Still, that my instinct of what to write on this matched somebody else's should indeed give an indication of how this album is. Those who associate Talking Heads with all of the incessant overdubs and thick sound of the '79-'80 albums will probably be shocked when listening to this for the first time - it's mostly just the bandmembers, with almost no production embellishments, playing what on the surface is a bunch of boring formulaic late-70's pop (as Mark Prindle once brilliantly put it, this sounds like a guitar pop album created by a bunch of people who have just had full frontal lobotomies). Who needs it?

Well, as you might gather, I do. Maybe the band's roots are in "unexciting" music, but there's so many slight eyebrow-raising twists that I can't help but like this album a lot. Could any other band take a standard pop song like the opening "Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town" (with a great bassline) and give it a whole other dimension simply with the attachment of "Uh Oh" to the beginning of the song, or with emotionally ambiguous lyrics as those in the chorus ("here comes a riddle, here comes a clue, if you are really smart, you'll know what to do")? Would a normal album have tweaked guitar interplay and half-sung/half-spoken lyrics like those of "New Feeling" combined with such a great tweaked melody? Would any other band think to give a song like "Tentative Decisions" a martial drumming pattern under the "Oh the boys want to talk ..." parts, giving the song a sort of comic majesty to go with traditional opposite-gender angst?

Sheesh, it just goes on. I could live without "Happy Day," which is a bit too sappy without being memorable enough, and I guess "Who is It?" is a somewhat stupid groove (I like it more than I should, though - that instrumental texture is just too addictive), but I find more good than bad in every one of the other songs (except for the fact that trying to unstick them from each other in my mind after the album's done is still a major problem, which is why the rating is as low as it is). "No Compassion" is notable because it bookends a nonsensical/anthemic (a combination other groups would be hardpressed to achieve, to say the least) main section with a fine shimmery riff topped off with perfect shimmery slide guitars. "The Book I Read" is notable because it's a great take on the "nervous love song" genre, combining the standard paranoid mutterings with that beautiful "na na na ...." part. "Don't Worry About the Government" makes lines like "My building has every convenience" as moving and anthemic as hearing "God Bless America" (and then goes into playful territory with the "loved ones, loved ones ..." chunk), "Psycho Killer" finds the one and only way to make a piece about a homicidal maniac (with a menacing bass intro, no less) into a post-modern poppy blast ("Psycho killer, q'uest-ce que c'est? fa fa fa fa fa fa ... better run run run run run run away ..."), and the closing "Pulled Up" combines playful guitars with UP UP UP... screams (that probably inspired Mick Jagger for some of his ramblings in "Shattered") to terrific effect.

Of course, there are weaknesses. The biggest problem from a reviewing point of view is that, well, these songs make it very difficult to explain the album without namechecking every song. These songs are cool, neat, demented and catchy (a lot of the time), but even the moments that seem kinda emotional seem as though it's just David Byrne laughing at me. And, of course, there's the fact that I'd forgotten a lot of these cool aspects of the tracks until I just was flipping through them to jog my memory of what the heck is where. But it's good. VERY good.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#298052) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars 1977. Such a fascinating year for music, not only the year where a new generation of bands tried to carve a new aesthetic, it's also a year where many of the dinosaurs put up a last good fight and delivered many strong releases such as Animals, Going For The One, Seconds Out, Songs From The Wood,... and eh no, not Works no.

Talking Heads were one of the new kids on the block: punk by spirit, art rock at heart, and the debut is the exact showcase of that duality, offering everything from standard pop songs to tentative world-beat rhythms, and from civilized punk to art rock pretensions. In other words, the kind of stuff that the "art police" listened to when I was in college at the end of the 80s. And rest assured, those keepers of good taste didn't listen to prog.

A lot of rambling to hide that I haven't much to say about this music. Everybody knows Psycho Killer of course, which is one of the more memorable moments here and a good indication of what the band was about back then. Quite original but I don't like it much actually. My favorite tune here is New Feeling that brings about that great feel-good vibe as the first two albums from the B-52's. But on the whole, the songwriting on this arty punk-pop debut is rather unremarkable and too docile.

The album sure has its fans, but for me, it's one that shows that the new generation of youngsters were still no match for the old geezers. Well, not yet at least... Luckily for Talking Heads, their best was still to come.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#299017) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 13, 2010

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is gorgeous art rock. As simple as that. The quirkiness that David Byrne brought to the party along with his band members was a breath of fresh air for the times. Yes elements of post punk or traces of new wave but essentially the best description is art rock/pop. Being their debut the sounds are scaled right down offering simple yet highly intelligent and accessible music. Their trademark sound evident on 77 never really left them, not least Byrne's unique vocal style and Weymouth's bass.

I am going to highlight songs that in this reviewers opinion makes this record. Due to the brevity and simplicity of the songs it is best to highlight a few and ask enthusiasts to take it from there. " New Feeling" for simplicity says it all as David Byrne once introduced the song by saying.." This song is New Feeling.....and that is what it's about"....:-), " The Book I Read" spellbinding and addictive, " First Week/Last Week...Caarefree" and the opening track " Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town" all serve as fantastic introductory fodder to what this band were about to offer millions of satisfied listeners during their tenure. Many debut albums hit the sweet spot. Many debut albums make it hard for the follow up releases to eclipse them. Few debut albums hint at genius. Talking Heads qualify on all three counts. Four solid stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#299089) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 13, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Even in 1977, when many of the punk bands bursting onto the scene were gleefully producing no-frills rock which didn't worry about art, some bands were already steering the New Wave sound into a distinctly art rock direction. Indeed, often "post-punk" would prove to be more avant-garde and experimental than many supposedly progressive bands of the era.

Talking Heads were right at the vanguard of the arty side of the New Wave, sowing the seeds of a swathe of post-punk styles with their debut album. Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town features Caribbean steel drum melodies spicing up David Byrne's emotionally evocative description of a new love and all the worries and nervousness that goes with it, Psycho Killer is a sparse, stripped down nightmare, Pulled Up sets the blueprint for a legion of alternative rock guitar bands looking to do an upbeat number to follow, and between these bookends the album charts a course through the group's idiosyncratic vision of rock and roll, demolishing the rock band format and sound brick by brick and then rebuilding it again to a new and strikingly modern design. Eno isn't on the scene yet, but you can see why he paid close attention here.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#556190) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011

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5 stars During the punk explosion of the late 70s, some bands (who were considered to be part of the punk movement) started to veer away from the traditional punk sound. Now, Talking Heads weren't really a punk band, but they came with the territory. But, in all fairness, these guys are probably the kings ... (read more)

Report this review (#1181726) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, June 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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