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Talking Heads Stop Making Sense album cover
4.55 | 33 ratings | 2 reviews | 70% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Psycho Killer
2 Heaven
3 Thank You for Sending Me an Angel
4 Found a Job
5 Slippery People
6 Burning Down the House
7 Life During Wartime
8 Making Flippy Floppy
9 Swamp
10 What a Day That Was
11 Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place)
12 Once in a Lifetime
13 Genius of Love
14 Girlfriend Is Better
15 Take Me to the River
16 Cross-Eyed and Painless
17 Cities
18 Big Business
19 I Zimbra

Line-up / Musicians

Jerry Harrison
Tina Wemouth
Chris Frantz
David Byrne

Releases information


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TALKING HEADS Stop Making Sense ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(70%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

TALKING HEADS Stop Making Sense reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Definitely a cult movie of mine that I saw countless times in second-run or local movie houses, even if it changed me lots from my other faves such as Zep's Song Remains, Floyd's the Wall or Pompeii and more. Indeed I wasn't much a "New Wave or Post Punk" fan at all, but I always appreciated back-then TH's music and Byrne's incredible stage presence abd psychotic dances did impress me quite a bit. Various opinions of this show abound, including detractors saying that it was majorly touched-up and even played back, but nevertheless the "plot" of this concert is rather original and fairly well carried through, if you care to enjoy yourself and not nitpick on details.

The construction of the concert plot has David Byrne opening solo on acoustic guitar, accompanied with a beat/boombox for rhythm, with the classic Psycho Killer, a real hit, enhanced with Byrne's manic and frantic moves and now-perfected stage presence, but behind him, the roadies are getting busy . As the second song happens, Byrne is now accompanied by a now-long haired Tina Weymouth on bass on the more forgettable Heaven (there is an hidden back up vocal for the chorus), and the drum sets gets rolled on stage. Thank You For sees drummer Frantz jumping on drums and lead a wild beat allowing David and Tina strange manic moves. For the fourth track, Harrisson joined and David has switched for an electric guitar, and the normal quartet is now complete. Harrisson goes for the rolled-in keyboards, while two back up singers appear and a bongo player lights up Slippery People, one of the fantastc highlights of the recent superb SiT album, and the set takes on an infernal ethnic tinge and intense stageshow.

The show keeps going, with the bongo player switching to a rolled -n full percussion set, and leaving the front space to a guitarist (that will often take over Byrne's or Harrison's guitar parts) for Burning Down The House (which they're about to do), as David will soon enhance the now-curtained stage with bizarre hand-held stage effects. Indeed with the much-enhanced (they're now 9 on stage) Life During Wartime, David is freed from guitar and leads the band into a jogging session and the real show is about to begin. After the average Flippy Floppy and suit changes comes the enormous Swamp, another Fantastic SiT track, where Byrne pops from behind the drums (Tina is now on keys) and present a psychotic march than can remind a certain Reich. The carefully-placed spotlights at the foot of the stage give frightening aspects to the band member's faces during the noisy What A Day, and the play on shadows on the back curtain is rather successful. A lampshade reunites all of the front musos for Na´ve Melody for an intimate family shot and David's tango with the light fixture over Africabn rhythms. Byrne's spastic dance and act during Once In A Lifetime is another live attraction. A brief Tom Tom Club (Tina and Chris' side project) distracts a bit (while giving Tina a vocal & dance spotlight), but gives David a chance to rest and change. Effectively David's return as a over-sized suited gentle giant for Girlfriend Is Better (this is where the Stop Making Sense line appears) and a toying walking spotlight man, before the real show-stopping and extended Take Me To The River track gets close to the concert's finale. And with the great updated Cross-eyed, the show ends in a fury, Byrne taking the final guitar solo .

Definitely one of the best live ideas for concert, maybe not quite Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps and Road Eyes, but definitely as entertaining; Note that ex-Zappa and by-them King Crimson man Adrian Belew once participated to the TH's extended line-up, but he's not present here and will be seen on a more Frippian soundscapes, but definitely brought there some ideas from his NY adventures. Anyway this movie was probably not simple to make as the song sequences had to match the movie reels, and Jonathan Demme did a superrtb job, despite some obvious tricks and cuts. I think I saw this movie in second-run movie house some 10 or fifteen times back in the early 80's and still love it today.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of rock's great concert films

From the barefoot Byrne's acoustic opening of Psycho Killer to the literally aerobic pace, to the magical onstage transformation into another band, Stop Making Sense is a rock and roll classic. Jonathan Demme's acclaimed film was shot over 3 nights in Los Angeles in late 1983. Byrne wanted the film to be like none other and pulled out all the stops in the look and pace, and no doubt he contributed many ideas to Demme in the direction. With a fantastic set-list, the performance is buoyed by the incredible physical energy the band puts into the show, often jogging in place, running all over the stage, and jamming as if their lives depended on it. This film could very well have you dancing in your living room and has to be one of the greatest college party background films. My personal favorite was the track "Cities" for its adrenalized pace and quirky joy. Late in the show Byrne leaves the stage and allows the band to morph into the ultimate cocaine beach-party known as the Tom Tom Club, the Weymouth-Frantz side project that had a much more bubbly and lighthearted sound than the Heads. They perform "Genius of Love" before changing back into the Heads, and frankly, they should have had more time. While every track is worked into a wonderful performance with great background vocals and instrumental prowess, another favorite to be mentioned is "Once in a Lifetime." Here Byrne goes a bit "out-of-body" and manages to transfer his oddly disconnected aura to the viewer, with the charisma of a powerful old-school preacher. I always felt this was the end of the Talking Heads soul and emotional relevance. Yes, they continued on for a while, but they never had the same spark as they did at the moment of this climactic concert. A great film and a must-see for all rock fans.

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