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SPEAKING IN TONGUES

Talking Heads

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Talking Heads Speaking In Tongues album cover
3.71 | 48 ratings | 3 reviews | 13% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Burning Down the House 4:00
2 Making Flippy Floppy 5:53
3 Girlfriend Is Better 5:45
4 Slippery People 5:03
5 I Get Wild/Wild Gravity 5:14
6 Swamp 5:09
7 Moon Rocks 5:42
8 Pull up the Roots 5:08
9 This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) 4:56

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Wally Badarou Synthesizer
- David Byrne / Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals
- Chris Frantz / Synthesizer, Drums, Vocals (bckgr)
- Jerry Harrison / Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
- Tina Weymouth / Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Vocals (bckgr)
- Raphael Dejesus / Percussion
- Nona Hendryx / Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
- Richard Landry / Saxophone
- Dollette McDonald / Percussion, Vocals
- Steve Scales / Percussion
- Lakshminarayana Shankar / Violin
- David Van Tieghem / Percussion
- Alex Weir / Guitar, Vocals
- Bernie Worrell / Synthesizer


Releases information

Sire records LP # 92-3883-1 Germany

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Warner Off Roster 1990
Audio CD$2.48
$1.59 (used)
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TALKING HEADS Speaking In Tongues ratings distribution


3.71
(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(13%)
13%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TALKING HEADS Speaking In Tongues reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

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

With their fifth album, our Babbling Heads are on top of their game (bettering their previous RiL album) with the marvellous pop/rock masterpiece Speaking In Tongues, where they manage the rare feat to write an album-full of clever pop tunes that would climb the charts on a few occasions, yet still be sufficiently adventurous to interest the more discerning music fans. Still with the original quartet (even if the previous album had been extended as far as a nine-piece, many of whom return here), SiT was released more than two years after RiL, but the present retains much of its former direction, still under African influences, but now enlarging it to the Caribbeans.

Most likely if you were anywhere close to a radio around that early 80's period, youi'll find that a good deal of this album quite familiar, because six of the album's nine tracks got regular airplay on the Hertzian channels. Opening on the chart-busting Burning Down The House (with its companion videoclip, a hit on MTV) epitomizes the album's excellent pop formula with plenty of minor innovations and small finds, such as Frantz's brilliant drumming and the descending drum rolls during the instrumental breaks. Flippy Floppy would be a stand out track on any other SH album, but here it pales a bit, especially that the whole first side of the album is filled with very catchy tunes like dancey Girlfiend, the jumpy Slippery People (with those superb enhanced chorus vocals), and the lower-profile Wild Gravity.

The flipside is a tad less familiar, even if it opens with the disturbing (and slightly slimy) Swamp and those chilling chorus, reminiscent of a sinister Reich (enhanced on stage with a martial military march). Brilliant stuff. Moon Rocks is less immediate as the fake Caribbean steel drums are too repetitive and irritate (a bit) by the fourth of the five minutes. Pull up The roots has awful synth sounds of the early and mid-80's, Frantz probably being absent that day to prevent these from happening. The album closing Place (Nave Melody) is a much smoother tune, which returns a bit to Caribbean1 rhythms.

SiT was the only vinyl I ever owned from the TH, so I had to borrow all f the previous album to review them and fell onto the remastered double versions with a 5.1 DVD plus clips, but I haven't found this one getting the same treatment, which would be a shame if it didn't. An outstanding pop album whose content which would fill much of the SH's future film project, the absolutely wonderful Stop Making Sense movie by Jonathan Demme and become the group's career-defining icon. Sadly though, this album and that movie would have the TH reaching their apex, but finding it impossible to main on top, and the group would slowly lose its momentum and suffer from internal frictions, as well as the Frantz/Weymouth hubby and wife team's increased involvement in the Tom Tom Club side project. Be warned though, that no matter how brilliant a pop album this might be, it's nothing "prog", despite its presence on our ProgArchives.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#298028) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Three years after the release of Remain In Light, Talking Heads finally returned to the studio and recorded the album that their new fan base was so eagerly awaiting. Unfortunately the band played it safe with Speaking In Tongues without pushing the band's sound even further into the direction that was paved by its predecessor.

It gets pretty clear from the first soft tones of Burning Down The House that this album is not going to be another Remain In Light since the groove has clearly taken over most of the space that was previously occupied by off-the-wall experimental approach. Making Flippy Floppy starts almost like Born Under Punches, but soon transforms into another timid performance that lacks anything that can resemble quality songwriting. Girlfriend Is Better slightly more interesting since it plays its hand straight without trying to do anything beyond the straightforward tune that it actually is.

After a performance of Slippery People, which wouldn't even make it as a b-side on Remain In Light, things get more interesting with the funky groove of I Get Wild/Wild Gravity, but Swarm quickly returns the music back to basics. I really like the main beat of Moon Rocks and the synthesizer sounds during the chorus sections, but there is no denying that this is a pretty straightforward song even by Talking Heads standards. Pull Up The Roots might not be as bland as Making Flippy Floppy, still it's easily the second least memorable track of the album that is only here to fill out the album space. Finally This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) returns the material to the level of musicianship that perfectly merges the band's pop orientation and their experimental drive, with a clear and very memorable melody and an easily recognizable beat.

It's pretty clear that Speaking In Tongues is not one of my favorite Talking Heads albums. My main concern with this record is that the band were clearly playing it safe this time around with a definite nod at their newly established fan base. The next album would make this change even more clear, the only difference is that Little Creatures isn't pretending to be anything more than a pop album that it is.

**** star songs: Burning Down The House (4:02) Girlfriend Is Better (5:43) Slippery People (5:06) I Get Wild/Wild Gravity (5:17) Swamp (5:13) Moon Rocks (5:46) This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (4:56)

*** star songs: Making Flippy Floppy (5:54) Pull Up The Roots (5:10)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#298164) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 09, 2010

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Musically the band could not get tighter. Their combined efforts worked seamlessley from beginning to end. Speaking in Tongues is one of the finest albums to have been released in the 80's. Brian Eno had moved on but the band did not need him. The template for warm hypnotic percussion fills, frenzied guitar riffs and just awesome bass from Tina Weymouth makes this album an excellent statement for ' uplifting 1980's' music. Often the stigma around the 80's is that it has dated more readily than say the 70's decade. This could be true and Speaking In Tongues, if it has any floor has dated ever so slightly. But it would, because it is their most commercial release, their most danceable release. Therein lies that point. " Burning Down The House" starts the album off with incredible frenzied guitars, balzing synth work from Bernie Worrell. And Byrne at his best vocally too. In fact the session players on SIT is worth mentioning because if you always reflect on the best of times for any group, the guest musicians are of the highest calibre at their peak times, Nona Hendryx, Bernie Worrell, Lakshminarayana Shankar , Alex Weir, Steve Scales and the rest. " Making Flippy Floppy" is a great visual and aural work of art. Check David Byrne in his big suit on videos if you can. The energy and vibes are just awesome. " Girlfreind Is Better" is also an excellent single off the album with great synth work again. " Swamp" has Byrne at his most menacing and theatrical and the repetitive groove created makes this song one of the highlights on the album. Last but not least one of the nicest love songs ever written " This Must Be The Place ( Naive Melody)" has Byrne reaching out from the innermost depths of his soul, vulnerbale and beautiful. Lyrics like .." I'm just an animal looking for a home, share the same space for a minute or two and you love me till my heart stops love me till I'm dead...." says it all really.

Who says the 80's was a poor decade....pffft! Far from it. Four and a half stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#301913) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 03, 2010

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