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Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food album cover
3.83 | 132 ratings | 10 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Thank You for Sending Me an Angel (2:11)
2. With Our Love (3:30)
3. The Good Thing (3:03)
4. Warning Sign (3:55)
5. The Girls Want to Be with the Girls (2:37)
6. Found a Job (5:00)
7. Artists Only (3:34)
8. I'm Not in Love (4:33)
9. Stay Hungry (2:39)
10. Take Me to the River (5:00)
11. The Big Country (5:30)

Total Time 41:32

Line-up / Musicians

- David Byrne / vocals, guitar, synth percussion
- Jerry Harrison / guitar, piano, organ, synth, backing vocals
- Tina Weymouth / bass
- Chris Frantz / drums, percussion

- Brian Eno / synth, piano, guitar, percussion, backing vocals, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Jimmy De Sana

LP Sire ‎- SRK 6058 (1978, US)

CD Sire ‎- 6058-2 (1987, US)

Thanks to ? for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TALKING HEADS More Songs About Buildings and Food ratings distribution

(132 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

TALKING HEADS More Songs About Buildings and Food reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

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

Second album from this NY quartet and a vast improvement upon their usually over-rated (by ultra-fans mostly) debut album, the weirdly More Songs About Building And Food saw them enter the classic pop realm, due in no small part to Brian Eno's production. Actually Brian plays such a big role in this album that he can be easily considered as TH's fifth member as he plays synths, piano, guitars (yessir!), percussion and even sings backing vocals. Coming with a relatively ugly Polaroid photo montage artwork (the back cover is much better), the album was recorded in the spring of 78 and released in the summer , again on the Sire label, but this time with greater notice from the specialized trendy press that was taking the piss on more complex musics. As you'll probably guess, Eno's paw on MSAB&F makes TH sound a fair bit like Roxy Music (the good RM, like in the first albums), but actually Byrne songwriting talents make TH a much better group than RM was at the same time, even if sometimes TH remained simplistic trendy pop. Right from the opening Thank You For, you can hear the gap between their previous album and this one, where the develops an embryonic form of their (future) African rhythms influences on some tracks (the subtle guitar on Good Thing and Found A Job), and the more-obvious Roxyan soundscapes on others like Not In Love or Stay Hungry. But there are times when TH are only sounding like TH, like the excellent Warning Sign, sometimes even leaving space for instrumental interplay (a bit rudimentary still), like on Artists Only.

It's a bit too bad that the album's best track is the cover of Al Green's Take Me To The River, which would become on of the staples of the TH's live sets, taking on an outstanding form with the live extended line-up version of the group. But there are enough other good tunes that MSAF&B is my third fave album after SiT and RiL.

The deluxe double-disc remastered version includes a bunch alternate versions of studio tracks from the album sessions, the first being an earlier version of Stay Hungry, all of them non-essential but not hindering with the disc's progress, but adding 0 supplementary value to the album. The second disc a mixed audio/video DVD, where the album gets a 5.1 audio mix and two film footage, the first being a good work-out version of Found A Job from a semi-packed NY concert hall, the other being a hand-held single camera shoot from an outdoor California concert of a sub-par Warning Sign. In both cases, the crowds are not exactly ecstatic as they would two years on, with the extended line-up. Don't get me wrong here, even with this good pop/rock album, we're light years away from a "prog" album, so you should move cautiously with this band on PA, because I cannot guarantee that a prog fan will automatically like it, even though it's brilliant at times.

Review by Rune2000
4 stars More Songs About Building And Food is just that; a great follow-up to Talking Heads 77'! Some people even consider it to be superior to the debut album thanks to the new enhancements that Talking Heads achieved in their sound. I, on the other hand, think that it's almost as magnificent except that the band clearly wanted to do something different at the end of the album. It's not that I don't appreciate Take Me To The River and The Big Country, they are great songs in their own right, but the contrast they create here is just impossible to ignore! The first 3/4 of the album are groovy and arty while those last two songs are set to me in a complete chill mode.

Songs like Thank You For Sending Me An Angel, I'm Not In Love and I'm Not In Love sound like they might, just as well, have been on the debut album thanks to that same easy-going style with David Byrne making another controversial appearance as the lead vocalist. These are also easily the highlights of the album! Artists Only and Warning Sign show the band experimenting a bit with their sound towards the more rhythm-based direction that will later define albums like Fear Of Music and Remain In Light. Come to think of it, Talking Heads is probably one of the best examples of a very linear development in a band's sound where each new element, of a new release, can easily be traced to the albums that proceeded it.

There is no reason for me to waste more of you precious time since all you actually need to do is simply listen to this album, especially if you've already enjoyed any of the other Talking Heads releases. To me, this is simply their next best album, surpassed only by the sheer energy of their debut.

***** star songs: Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (2:12) With Our Love (3:31) Warning Sign (3:54) I'm Not In Love (4:34) Stay Hungry (2:40)

**** star songs: The Good Thing (3:03) The Girls Want To Be With The Girls (2:38) Found A Job (5:01) Artists Only (3:35) Take Me To The River (5:03) The Big Country (5:33)

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars If any one impression stood out for me the first time I listened to this album, it's this: "Man, these guys can be DORKS." I mean, take something like "The Good Thing" - good melody, but a really plinky sound, and what is WITH lines like, "As we economise, efficiency is multiplied"? Gah!

Fortunately, the album has plenty of strengths to make up for the occasional bursts of dorkitude. The best news of all is that Eno is onboard as producer. This means, as in all of Eno's best work, that the sound is both one that cannot naturally be created "live", and at the same time one that never feels technophilian or artificial. In this case, the main augmentation comes to the guitars - the guitar patterns on the debut may have been clever and somewhat innovative, but they were nonetheless limited by the fact that they were from just two people playing with few overdubs. Here, though, these two-man innovative patterns are combined with goodness knows how many overdubs of themselves, but instead of making the sound bigger a la Phil Spector, Eno keeps the guitar sound relatively contained but makes the sound go nuts within that containment. All sorts of ever-chugging rhythmic insanities occur on this album, making sissy guitar tones seem cool in their own way. In any case, if you're a big fan of the sound of Talking Heads, this will have a good chance at being your favorite Heads album, if only because that sound is just totally omnipresent.

Alas, as great as the sound is, only about half of the songs stand out significantly for me. "With Our Love" and "Found a Job" are, to me, the best examples of the Heads' sound here (best as in "most good," not as in "quintessential"). The former, aside from the guitar stylings, also has a GREAT upward-sliding bassline that pops up in some great places (that creates my favorite sound on the album), not to mention that it's neat the way Byrne's ramblings resolve with something as classy as the "chorus" that ends with the title (well, there's also the way he quietly says, "gui-tar!" at 2:28, heh). The latter is just as good, though, with the first few seconds just about defining "Talking Heads" for me, with Dave simulating a snippy conversation between a couple before offering "commentary," all over the usual great basslines and guitar what-not's. And don't forget those Caribbean vibes over the guitars in the last half!

The other notable tracks bookend the album (one at the beginning, two at the end). The opening "Thank You For Sending Me an Angel" really does (as suggested by some others) sound like a cross between the rest of the album and the Beatles song "Get Back," with David proclaiming his love by rambling such amorous nuggets as "With a little practice, you can walk like, talk just like me...". The band's cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," the album's penultimate track, is friggin' great, if only for the novelty value of finding out what a regular, solid soul groove sounds like when filtered through coked-out art school dweebs. On the other hand, what comes after isn't as good; the last track, the countryish "The Big Country," is amusing because of David's almost self-parodic elitism, but the actual music isn't much as far as quality country goes.

As for the remaining tracks, um ... "The Good Thing" is alright, complaints about dweebishness aside, "The Girls Want to be with the Girls" is a good lesbian anthem (I really like that goofy organ that pops up under the guitars from time to time), and ... the other tracks are good. When I remember at all how they go, I'll be sure to let you know! Seriously, though, the sound is great, but the songs have a tendency to blend together here even more than on the debut. Regardless, I like the album way more than not, and definitely recommend it to anybody who enjoys the next two efforts.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ....and enter Brian Eno. This sophomore release was bound to attract someone as visionary and musically proactive as Brian Eno. David Byrne and Eno immediately struck up a solid rapport and his influence just begins to show it's face on More Songs About Buildings and Food. Not slap in your face stuff, but enough influence to increase the overall tempo of the TH sound, more textured and layered sound. A heavier feel to it. A slightly more serious project.

Again this release is consistently solid throughout and the songs range for the most part between three and five minutes. Check out the excellent " Artist's Only", Byrnes theatrics on " Stay Hungry", their version of Al Green's " Take Me To The River" and the highpoint on the album the end song " The Big Country". Naturally evolving for their follow up Fear Of Music, the jigsaw pieces fit ever so nicely. Excellent music from innovative musicians.

Review by ExittheLemming
4 stars Burying the Hatchet in a Severed Head

'I was a peculiar young man, borderline Asperger's, I would guess' (David Byrne)

I used to have a recurring dream where I was trapped in a phone booth with someone who looked uncannily similar to David Byrne from the Once in a Lifetime video. What expensive Freudian analysis would have made of my repeated pleas for Dumbarton's most celebrated son to stop punching Tina's buttons ! is anyone's guess. (My ex-wife is called Tina for any Prog loving psychiatrists out there but has never been to the abattoir of mirth that is Dumbarton in Scotland) Byrne left the 'wee country' when he was just 2 years old and I think we can safely dismiss that tenuous claim of his lineage being Scottish as flimsy at best. He remains a British citizen on paper still, but has an American upbringing and cultural vantage point unequivocally from that of Uncle Sam's roomy yet precarious lap. We were puzzled by the Talking Heads in the UK when they appeared. The hateful NME luvvies described them as 'Noo wave R'US' for which we translated as 'Punk with fries' but found none of the bludgeoning aggression or buzz-saw rhetoric that animated the cartoon genre from our side of the pond. These critters were erm.... articulate and sensitive without a trace of PVC, solvent abuse or diaper fasteners to be seen. Like Television and Patti Smith they had a bohemian artistic bent that the likes of the UK Subs, the Clash and the Vibrators distinctly lacked. Being but spotty callow youths we naturally concurred those from CBGB's gave us the heebie-geebies and dismissed stateside new wave as slumming hippy apostates who had dropped out of college but remained in the barber's chair. Shame really, as we missed out on some of the finest music to escape from the arse-end of one of the most dyspeptic decades in cultural history. (Burp...pardon)

This is brilliantly off kilter but plain vanilla rawk that despite the vaulted ambition of the honcho 'Head' is never allowed to lapse into conceptual art-wank. Byrne is protected from this fate rather paradoxically by the limitations of his collaborators i.e. Chris Frantz was a drum machine before there were drum machines and Tina Weymouth thinks and plays bass like a contrapuntal soul reeds-man. (She also appears to have a mild intonation problem in the upper mid range of her chosen Hofner axe, but that might just be my ears playing up) All of this really ain't a bad thing as it can't be an accident that when the husband and wife rhythm section became increasingly marginalised during the 'world music' phase of Talking Heads, David's song-writing retreated behind a mask of inane ethnic contraband. Harrison was recruited from the Modern Lovers and his contribution to the textural consistency of much of this material cannot be overstated. His guitar and keys are always unobtrusive but help put some flesh on the skeletal songs and soften those jagged edges that came across as 'disjointed amateurism' rather than the intended 'edgy' from the debut album.

If there is one thing that the American psyche seems to lack, it's an appreciation and utilisation of irony as an artistic device. David Byrne bucks that trend in spades on most of the early Head's output (see Don't Worry About the Government for one of the most inspired instances of its use) There is a subtle and stealthy irony throughout More Songs About Buildings and Food that always struck me as one the main reasons this band were viewed with such cautious enthusiasm by the rank and file anti-establishment. The latter want to smash the system Man, the Talking Heads advised us you ARE the system Man.

The Byrne voice is a remarkable phenomenon to be sure being alternately: neurotic falsetto, Linda Blair baritone or whining nerd excoriating the jocks for their tormenting as if his bruised tonsils roamed a huge cranium on giant crutches with eyes on stalks. He sounds skinny, in the same way Tom Verlaine and Patti Smith's art is borderline bulimic or like the dweeb bookish loner, almost paralysed with shyness who bought a subscription to Charles Atlas with the sole intention thereafter, of beating up Charles Atlas. Even Byrne's love affairs are conducted in a white lab coat and clipboard to hand:

Stay Hungry, move a muscle, pull it tighter, make a motion, double beating, palpitation, stay hungry

The mood on the Big Country is a carefully and ingeniously crafted juxtaposition of ironic affection and dispassionate loathing but couched in a vocal that is perhaps the most overtly sincere on the album:

I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean I guess those people have fun with their neighbours and friends Look at that kitchen and all that food, look at them eat it I guess it tastes real good I wouldn't live there if you paid me, I wouldn't live like that no Sir-ee I wouldn't do the things the way those people do, I wouldn't live there if you paid me

The fact that Byrne does live there and is afforded this objectivity from his fleeting vantage point (from an aeroplane) merely serves to heighten both the desperation and frustration imbued in a disaffection with consumerism and 'mall mentality' which pains him to acknowledge he is a product of. The chord progression used here is the same as that of As Tears Go By but slowed right down to a sleepy Nashville slope utilising prairie slide 'geetar' and all manner of other sly American cultural audio clues embedded in a very cinematic sound picture.

That Byrne is keenly aware of his public persona as being the 'thinking man's' madman is manifest in Warning Sign where I suspect he betrays his guilt at feeling secure behind the mask but fears being trapped forever in the same role like a method actor with amnesia:

Warning Sign, warning sign, I hear it but I pay no mind Hear my voice, hear my voice it's saying something and it's not very nice pay attention pay attention I'm talking to you and I hope you're concentrating I've got money now, I've got money now, c'mon baby, c'mon baby

For me this is a band at their creative and emotional peak. After Fear of Music the internal harmony between the Heads shrunk in direct inverse proportion to the groups global sales figures. Weymouth and Byrne were often dubbed 'the loggerHeads' and you suspect that the squabbling partners stayed together to avoid imparting lasting psychological damage on 'the kids' a.k.a. their lucrative back catalogue. Even by the standards of Rock's many bitter partings of the ways, the Talking Heads split was perhaps even more acrimonious than most as illustrated by Tina's look back in anger:

'a man (Byrne) incapable of returning friendship'. (ouch) 'Cutting off attachments when a thing/person is perceived to have served its purpose or there is a perceived threat to ego is the lifelong pattern of his (Byrne's) relations' (ouch x 2) 'It's not about nice with David. He's a very controlling person, and it wasn't until our third record, Fear of Music, that I just said, "David, leave me alone. Please!" I never minded what Chris would tell me, because even though he could make me mad as hell, we could communicate and work it out. But with David it's all or nothing, total aggression or total meekness. So I always tried to act like a very gentle older sister with him. I could yell at Chris, but I could never yell at David. I often kept Chris from punching David, which I now regret because I think David could have used a good spanking' (seconds out)

Although the foregoing remarks were made against the backdrop of litigation being served by Byrne on his remaining band-mates which forbade them from touring and recording as 'the Heads', it does seem readily apparent that David often gave cause to be viewed by those closest to him as an incredibly driven, stubborn, cold and autocratic artist:

Pretty Soon now I will be bitter (You can't see it till it's finished) I don't have to prove that I am creative, all my pictures are confused and now I'm going to take me to you

For the sake of balance here it should be borne in mind that neither Weymouth or Frantz are exactly 'squeaky clean' either as Adrian Belew, uncredited and unpaid for songs that appeared on the Tom Tom Club's debut album, will testify (or rather won't - to their unacknowledged relief he chose not to pursue legal action)

There is scarcely any filler or weak tracks on this enduring album and it's hard to imagine post-punk without the significant contribution of the Talking Heads. Their prescient influence can be discerned in XTC, Magazine, Devo, Wall of Voodoo and even further into the future with the likes of the Pixies.

Yeah but is it 'Proggy' matey?

Not strictly no, but when Byrne's menu still had a healthy selection of art-rock on a bed of R'n'B sourced dance music to choose from, it was one of the best places to eat in town (before the waiters started to outnumber the diners that is: see Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues)

Review by Bonnek
3 stars The band pushed the formula of the debut into a direction that pleases me much more. The vibe is still funky and up-beat but somehow the nervous tension works better then the debut. The music can hardly be called threatening of course, but still there's something brooding under the surface that makes it so much more appealing.

The songwriting consists of witty art funk punk pop songs with lots (I mean LOTS) of vocals. The two following TH albums would bring the music more to the fore but here it's clearly about lyrics, lyrics and lyrics. Sometimes I'd wish Byrne had keep his wordflow a bit better under control. Of course, you have to take the trouble investigating the lyrics to be able to find the deeper meaning of it all, but for a lazy listener with complete lyrics-disinterest like me, some of the quality of this album clearly eludes me.

Still, even when ignoring the words, and even if I miss the entrancing grooves they developed on the two following albums, this collection of songs is simply great. It's a fresh and enjoyable feel-good album where the artsy Roxy-Eno-Bowie rock is coupled to a dot of punk and an infectious Carribean coctail-party atmosphere. A nice listen to balance all the Enslaved listening of the last few weeks! 3.5 stars

Review by Warthur
4 stars Fresh from producing Devo's innovative debut album, Brian Eno put his New Wave-friendly production skills at the service of Talking Heads for their second album, a wonderful blend influenced by genres from reggae to punk to country and incorporating a little of everything in between, all at the service of David Byrne's quirky art rock compositional approach. A happier album than the debut (there's nothing as dark as Psycho Killer, and Take Me To the River is positively joyous), More Songs About Buildings And Food is a triumph of artsy guitar rock that would be a formative influence on almost all alternative rock bands with an eye for the artistic and progressive to follow.
Review by ZowieZiggy

This is by far my fave from the band.

Unlike many reviewers, I discovered them at the time of release and also witnessed a concert of them in Brussels in 1978. So, my feelings might differ of some other reviews?.

Actually my feeling about this great album hasn't change througout the years (some 40). From the opening track up to the closing number it is just a passionate succession of gorgeous songs.

I can't really make a difference between the first great songs of this album. The beat is consisting, melodies are top notch and lyrics (lots of them !) are rather interesting. Seven ofn these great ones are on par.

I have been listening to this great album countless times when I discovered it. And at this time of my review, Ihave to admit that the same feeling apply. Nessdeess to say that some tracks (two) which were never my cup of tea remain so ('' Found a Job'' and '' Take Me to the River''). They are ones of the longest ones of this offering and I never liked them.

While the closing starts though, I am just voiceless. This has always been my faveTH tracks. Such a beautiful melody, such a good rhythm , such a pleasant environment.

Each time that I listen to this great song, I just fall in love?.

GREAT ? Yes ! Superb ? Yes ! Five stars ? Yes !

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The TALKING HEADS had three years to craft their debut album "Talking Heads 77" since its formation in 1975 but only a year to conjure up a sophomore follow-up for a record company that wanted to cash in on the momentum of the attention getting but no so successful first release. While "Talking Heads 77" had impressed the critics with its bold amalgamation of funky rhythms and pop sensibilities all decorated with art rock angularities and punk infused attitude, the album failed to chart any higher than the #92 slot on the Billboard album charts but nevertheless with tracks like "Psychokiller" which displayed a firm grasp of walking the line between the cleverly infectious and the morbidly morose, the TALKING HEADS proved that they could be trusted to sally forth and gestate an even better batch of tracks for the next act.

By chance, none other than former Roxy Music and renowned producer Brian Eno was scouting the Big Apple in the late 70s to help nurture new talent to stardom and came across David Byrne and company. The result of the collaboration was exactly what was needed to direct the TALKING HEADS sound to the next level. Eno had a keen ear for crafting a band's sound into the right arenas that would resonate with the public and is most likely the reason the album caught on and launched the band into a much wider audience. Eno directed bassist Tina Weymouth to beef up her bass chops which gave the album a much funkier edge than the debut. Byrne was also instructed to sharpen his guitar strumming which allowed the punk infused energy to diffuse in ska rhythmic pulses which when accompanied by the off-kilter tempo changes and unorthodox avant-garde tendencies guaranteed an infectious delivery system.

MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD built upon the latent potentials in the caterpillar stages of the TALKING HEADS and propelled them into the world of butterflies. While the debut album cover art was a rather bland blank canvas of red, the band was allowed to strut its Rhode Island School of Design roots and delivery an eye-catching collage of 529 polaroid photos that displayed the four band members with no band name or title. While a purportedly risky move for a newbie band trying to break into the mainstream, Eno's music industry connections and keen eye for the current trends guaranteed that the TALKING HEADS were well-crafted into the next best thing. And so it was. This sophomore album was a major hit and broke the top 30 album charts in both the US and UK. This was partially due to the band's single, a cover of Al Green's "Take Me To The River" also cracking the top 30 singles charts and peaking at #26.

In addition to the better production and mixing, the album also benefits from Brian Eno himself joining in as an extra musicians by adding a wealth of synthesizers, pianos, guitar parts and backing vocals that were absent from the debut. These new attributes aligned with the tighter performances and more fine-tuned compositions guaranteed that MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD was at an industry standard that set it apart from the more relaxed garage band ethos of the debut. Overall the album is much more energetic with Byrne's vocals taking on a wider range as well as his guitar duties finding him crank out a heavier punk infused delivery of playing. This is also true of Jerry Harrison's keyboard playing and an obvious energetic uptick of Chris Frantz on drums which found more inspiration from world rhythms especially from Africa. Tracks like "Stay Hungry" demonstrate just how much the musicians had evolved since "Talking Heads 77."

With a tighter and heavier rhythmic section, the classic TALKING HEADS sound was complete and the band would record two more albums with Eno which spawned the even more successful and critically acclaimed followup albums "Fear Of Music" and "Remain In Light." While it's almost certain that Eno's intervention is what brought the TALKING HEADS into the limelight with his firm control over the details that created a more disciplined sound, it cannot be denied that Byrne's extraordinary songwriting skills and quirky vocal and guitar deliveries weren't the standouts of this TALKING HEADS experience. Overall, this is a huge step up from the debut however it does lose some of that innocent charm that made "Talking Heads 77" so unique in its own right.

4.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars More songs about building and food was the second album by the band Talking Heads. The album marked the beginning of the bands collaborations with Brian Eno. More songs about buildings and food has an evolved sound from the bands last offering, Talking heads: 77 and it is not only because Brian ... (read more)

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