Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Talk Talk

Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Talk Talk It's My Life album cover
3.19 | 192 ratings | 20 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dum Dum Girl (3:52)
2. Such a Shame (5:43)
3. Renée (6:23)
4. It's My Life (3:54)
5. Tomorrow Started (5:59)
6. The Last Time (4:24)
7. Call in the Night Boy (3:48)
8. Does Caroline Know? (4:41)
9. It's You (4:42)

Total Time: 43:16

1984 Canada LP different version:
4. It's My Life (6:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Hollis / vocals
- Paul Webb / bass
- Lee Harris / drums

- Robbie McIntosh / guitar
- Tim Friese-Greene / keyboards, producer
- Ian Curnow / keyboards
- Phil Ramocon / piano
- Henry Lowther / trumpet
- Morris Pert / percussion

Releases information

ArtWork: James Marsh with KB4Ai (design)

LP EMI ‎- EMC 2400021 (1984, UK)
LP EMI America ‎- ST-17113 (1984, Canada) W/ extended version of "It's My Life" (6:14)

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7 46063 2 (1985, UK)
CD EMI ‎- RETALK 101 (1997, Europe) Remastered by Denis Blackham and Phill Brown

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy TALK TALK It's My Life Music

TALK TALK It's My Life ratings distribution

(192 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

TALK TALK It's My Life reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
2 stars It feels quite strange for me to give a TALK TALK album a low rating, but it's obvious this one lacks the maturity of Colour of Spring and their future work. If you, as I did, are coming from having heard that later work, expect this to bear little relationship to their future work, except perhaps a bit of a tie to Colour of Spring. Still, there are some very interesting flashes of TALK TALK's future promise, even in this early work, that can't be denied. What causes it a problem, though, is the fact that it's very clearly stuck in the middle between the decent pop rock of The Party's Over and the new direction of Colour of Spring, and measures up rather mediocre. I wouldn't call it bad, but this is probably the last album you should get to complete your TALK TALK collection.

MARK HOLLIS' vocals, as always, never fail to impress. Expect them to sound more like Colour of Spring or The Party's Over, rather than the delicate stylings of his self-titled solo album, or Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. What is quite peculiar compared to any future album (but evident also on The Party's Over), is the sheer amounts of more negative, aggressive emotions that he pours into his voice on certain songs, such as the anguish of "Renée", the biting "Call in the Night Boy", and the angry, almost screamed "It's You". I have to admit, it's pretty interesting to see a vocalist who can perform well with such opposite stylings.

The strongest tracks, with the most indications of TALK TALK's future directions, were the darker, more mysterious tracks, which was, in my opinion, what the 80s sound did best, rather than the happier, poppier stuff (think of PINK FLOYD's "Yet Another Movie" and "Sorrow", ROGER WATERS' "Home", PETER GABRIEL's "San Jacinto", or Mister Mister's "Broken Wings"). "Renée" in particular has a brass arrangement that hints at HOLLIS' later uses of the instrument. "Such a Shame" has a wonderfully haunting synthy intro and although the end is executed in a somewhat clunky manner, it definitely is evidence of creative thinking on TALK TALK's part. The clear star of the album, however, is "Tomorrow Started"--dark and mysterious, and by far the most sophisticated, with trumpet work that hints at Miles Davis as well as the sound of the Far East.

Probably the songs that were singles were the least enjoyable to me and the most dated-sounding, although none of them were totally devoid of interesting items. "Dum Dum Girl", unsurprisingly, wasn't exactly the sharpest track on the album, but listenable, and I liked the chorus. "It's My Life" had a rather unfortunate synth effect in it, although the chord progression was all right...overall, this track was a bit too poppy for me. Similarly, "The Last Time" was another weaker point--a bit too Eurythmics, but the multitracked vocals were pleasant to listen to. "Does Caroline Know?" was slightly dated as well, but again the vocals made up for it. Even with these, given the choice, I'd much rather listen to TALK TALK's variety of synth pop than almost any other group's.

Review by Matti
3 stars 80's pop at its nearly best! Even though I prefer the later Talk Talk's deeply innovative artful style, I enjoy also the upbeat songs like 'It's My Life' and 'Dum Dum Girl'. They were miles ahead of Duran Duran or Human League - in fact to categorize earlier Talk Talk as mere 'synth pop' is unfair. They had a good deal of originality to start with, the sound and overall appearance just took more time to fully mature. And yes, Mark Hollis has a unique voice.

On the second album side there are some tracks that to me are a bit boring and monotonous ('Call in the Night, Boys' is better as a spacey piano version on some TT compilation, and 'Does Caroline Know?' could have remained as a perfect single b-side). But apart from the energy-surge of the hit tracks, this album's highlights are 'Renée' and 'Tomorrow Started', both sad and very atmospheric. Trumpet solo in the latter is actually quite jazzy. Also featured is the (Brand X etc) percussionist Morris Pert. This music may be more or less 'synth pop' or 'new wave ' but very well played and intelligent with many levels to be found in it. A minor classic of its era.

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here is a nice bit of '80s pop, or is it? It's got the familiar sounds, but there is more going on here (we would soon discover that there was actually a lot more going on). These guys started out much like their synth contemporaries, but there was something a bit different. There was an elusive quality that was hard to put your finger on. This second album showed tremendous evolution, and foreshadowed things to come.

There are plenty of elements of good alternative pop here. It begins with "Dum Dum Girl," and has the well known classic "It's My Life." It is some of the other songs that bear closer examination.

"Such a Shame" sounds very close to prog in the beginning.

"Rene" has some wonderfully rubbery bass, and percussion that you might expect to find on a Peter Gabriel album.

"Tomorrow Started" sounds like a cross between Nat King Cole, and Brian Eno.

"Does Caroline Know" has got a serious calypso influence.

At a glance, this album may seem conventional. Take the time to listen again, and listen closely. In a way, this is a form of proto-prog. It is the foundation, upon which they would build up to greater achievements. It's also a very good album. Because it's not actually prog, I can't say it would do anything to truly round out a collection. So I can only give it three stars here.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was Talk Talk synth pop at it's best. A highly consistent affair of great pop tunes showing more maturity than their debut album with classic tracks like ' Dum Dum Girl', the bass driven ' Such A Shame', the melancholic ' Tomorrow's Started' and the commercial ' It's My Life'. This was when Mark Hollis really stretched his vocal range with his distinctive tone. His voice became more of a soft warble on the last two studio classics so it was good to hear him stretching his vocal chords a bit before the abstract and the wonderfully obscure Spirit Of Eden came out. A really good studio release.
Review by Prog-jester
3 stars This is still a fine Pop album as “The Party’s over”, but two songs are stand-out tracks. First is “Renee”, one of the best ballads I ever heard, so moving and sincere, full of latent passion and cry-bordering Hollis vocals. Second is “Tomorrow Started”, with those two desolate desperate ringing notes in chorus – a nod to what TALK TALK is going to become. Actually, even here TALKies are already influental - take crazy trumpet solos from "Tomorrow Started" and compare it to half-noticeable trumpet collage in RADIOHEAD's "How to Disapperar Completelty" second chorus (my fave song from them). Got the picture now? ;)

Other songs (including hits like “It’s my Life” and “Such a Shame”) are well-done, but second side (after “Tomorrow Started”) sounds a bit boring, too usual, too synth-pop-like…Good but forgettable 80s’ pop tracks. Still not recommended for those TALK TALK newbies, who decided to pick them after seeing “Spirit of Eden” or “Laughing Stock” positive reviews. But if you want to have a relax-dose of 80s pop-MUSIC, early TALKies is the best thing you can experience. Limited recommendation :)

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second album from Talk Talk was a jump forward in the bands career and sound. The compositions are a bit stronger than on the debut, but the music is still synth pop in the vein of Depeche Mode and New Order. The prog rock leanings would first start on the third album The Colour of Spring. Wether you like this kind of music or not, it´s hard not to be fascinated by the profesionalism that Talk Talk showcases here. The compositions are good and the melancholic vocals from Mark Hollis begins to be defining for the sound of Talk Talk.

Songs like Dum Dum Girl and Such a Shame and It´s My Life are instantly recognizable and hit material in my ears. I know this is a naughty word to prog heads but in this case it´s what I think the debut lacked. There were simply not enough memorable songs on that one.

I have to note the very beautiful cover art which would suggest that this is a neo prog band, but don´t be fooled. This is eighties synth pop with a melancholic mood and it has nothing to do with prog rock.

All in all a very enjoyable album, which I can only give 2 stars though as it has almost nothing to do with prog rock. But just wait for that third album, boy! did things change for the much better with that one.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A template for sophisticated pop

Two years on, and Talk Talk return for their second album with an enhanced line up. The most significant change is the arrival of keyboard player and producer Tim Friese-Greene, who replaces Simon Brenner.

While still firmly rooted in the 80's synth pop scene, "It's my life" offers definite indications of the prog direction which the band will follow in due course. There is a certain deceptive simplicity here which disguises some far more complex thoughts and ambitions. The singles and potential singles are still very much in evidence, but even these simply ooze class and refinement. Take "Such a shame" for example. On the face of it, a melodic pop song with a killer hook. Dig just a little deeper though, and we find a carefully crafted number with superb instrumentation and a vocal performance that others can only aspire to.

Songs such as "Dum dum girl" (dumb name!) and the title track follow a similar pattern. I do not pretend for a moment that they are in any way prog, but they will appeal to many of us who enjoy prog.

"Renee" is probably the clearest hint of the direction the band will soon find themselves embarking on. This downbeat, melancholy number features Mark Hollis in the style he suits best, the floating synths and beautiful melody combining to create something unique and powerful. "Tomorrow's started", which was released as a single in Holland, has a similar feel.

Some of the later tracks on the album are less successful, with the likes of "Call in the night boy" tending to recycle the same ideas one too many times. This is though another fine effort by Talk Talk, and one which offers a template for sophisticated pop.

The remastered CD sounds excellent, but is once again devoid of bonus material. This becomes even more frustrating when the booklet actually includes an illustration for the non-album single "My foolish friend" released in 1983.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars "It's My Life" is slightly better than their debut album.

Fully electro-pop oriented, it holds several fine melodies and one song which is burned in my memory. Probably for ever.

Typical sound of the eighties, but with some feeling. My fave out of this album is their hit-single "Such A Shame". I remember that I couldn't have enough at the time. Often aired on the radios, it was always a pleasure to listen to this jewel of a melody. Such a shame it doesn't have any relation with prog.

This album is full of catchy, even poignant ("Renée") songs. Much better keys than before, it contributes to provide a nice feeling and a song as "It's My Life" is of course always pleasant to listen to, that's not the problem. Synth pop at his best, that's what it is.

In those days, there were not many interesting stuff going on in my musical life, and I have to say that I have listened to many bands representing this style of music. And to be honest, "Talk Talk" was one of the best one available.

It is true to say that listening to this whole album might lead to a certain boredom feeling. The melancholic and uniform tone of voice of Holis might even increase the feeling. Ambient at times ("Tomorrow Started"), this work is somewhat too much of the s(h)ame.

The B-side of this album was really not on par. It holds several average (It's You) to even weak numbers of which "The Last Time" and "Call In The Night Boy" are probably the worse one available.

On a prog scale, this album is worth one star. But since I rated "In Rock" with five, I will just consider this album on a pure and global musical angle. Half of it is good, half of it is weak. Two stars.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The early Talk Talk albums contain a few stand-out gems, but they also tend to have a great deal of lesser tracks as well.

Such A Shame and It's My Life are two true Talk Talk classics and there isn't really much more to say about them since you've probably already quite familiar with these compositions! Having said that there are a few other nice moments like the songs Does Caroline Know? and Tomorrow Started but I personally think that they work a lot better in their stripped down versions on the live recording called London 1986.

Unfortunately all is not hunky dory with It's My Life since it also features some extremely dated material like It's You and Call In The Night Boy which make this album pretty average to say the least. The album barely fits into the good, but non-essential category although the highlights definitely manage to spare it from a complete disaster.

***** star songs: Such A Shame (5:43) It's My Life (3:54)

**** star songs: Dum Dum Girl (3:52) Renée (6:23)

*** star songs: Tomorrow Started (5:59) The Last Time (4:24) Does Caroline Know? (4:41) It's You (4:42)

** star songs: Call In The Night Boy (3:48)

Total rating: 3,59

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One would wish all artists in the hit parade could write quality pop like Talk Talk did on this album.

The band had grown up since the debut and had become more serious about everything, especially composition and production are a huge step up. The album has classic hit parade anthems like Dum Dum Girl, Such A Shame and It's My Life. Also The Last Time and Call In The Night Boy probably fit in that list but are obviously way too happy for me. With Renée and Tomorrow Started, the album has two songs that absolutely floor me. They do not only have a sincere deep melancholy, but also the musicianship and arrangements are much more sophisticated then anything they had done so far. This has nothing ado with synth-pop anymore.

Things were turning in exciting directions for Talk Talk. Their professionalism and integrity would make them do another big jump ahead on the next album.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The culmination of Talk Talk's synthpop period, It's My Life doesn't offer many hints of the intriguing, genre-defining post-rock experiments to come, though they're there if you know where to look (pay particular attention to Henry Lowther's contributions on trumpet, especially on Tomorrow Started, for instance). What it does accomplish, though, is establishing a melancholy mood that isn't interrupted by anything resembling an upbeat track. Even the title track, which was a reasonably successful single, is as much a lament as a celebration in its tone. A charming album, though it's much stronger if you remember to approach it like it is its own thing rather than expecting something along the lines of Laughing Stock.
Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars It's My Life is a great example of how artistry isn't exclusive to the "prog" genre. Strictly speaking, this album is synth-pop coming out the new wave movement of the early '80s. In some ways this release fits right in - lots of synth, a strong British vibe, and a catchy veneer. But while more mainstream groups like Duran Duran or Flock of Seagulls focused on hooks and melody, Talk Talk crafts songs that are more like portraits, each one lush with sound and nuance that grows with each listen.

While there are some songs here that are stronger than others, such as the excellent, noir "Renee," the entire album oozes class and depth. The keyboardists do an outstanding job of creating layers of sound, all of which has a professional polish that is devoid of some of the cartoonish qualities that plague many synth-heavy compositions. Paul Webb's bass is some of the strongest pop work I think I've ever heard; his lines are thick and heavy and engaging. Thanks to the excellent production we can hear every note of him, and of the rich keyboards. The overall effect is impeccable.

Hollis' voice adds an unique air of melancholy to the mix. He sounds very real, not playing for hooks or the dance floor, which I suppose is a compliment that applies to the entire band as well.

All in all one of the better pop oriented albums I've discovered here at Prog Archives. It's My Life is considerably more enjoyable than most of the '80's content put out by more well-known prog bands during the same time frame (such as Yes' 98015 or Genesis' Abacab). Not so highly recommended as Talk Talk's amazing later output, but still a great addition!

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars TALK TALK didn't set the world on fire with their debut album "The Party's Over" but it did gain them some success with a top 40 hit in the UK as well as a hit album in New Zealand. Joining the ranks of the synthpop rich New Wave scene of the MTV early 80s, Mark Hollis and his band attracted enough attention to keep the momentum going. Two years after their debut, they unleashed a sophomore followup in the form of IT'S MY LIFE which continued to ride the 80s New Wave where they fine tuned their unique sound that cross-pollinated the art rock of Roxy Music with the synthpop of bands like Duran Duran and the Human League as well as the New Romantic sounds of bands like Spandau Ballet and ABC. While the debut focused more on catchy upbeat synthesizer laced pop hooks, IT'S MY LIFE focuses more on the New Romantic strain of the New Wave 80s with those same crooning vocals that emphasized a sense of melancholy.

While more renowned in the 21st century for their innovative post-rock origins of their later albums, TALK TALK were also quite the masters of producing slickly produced New Wave pop with nine tracks of soulful catchy grooved tracks that took carefully construed compositions and added the proper elements to craft some of the best of the genre. IT'S MY LIFE exercised the approach of the debut with fretless bass, rich atmospheric keyboards, infectious melodic hooks and heartbreaking emotional tugs. This second album was a huge hit in many countries including Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany but also faired well in their native UK and just missed the Billboard Top 40 album charts. The title track and "Such A Shame" were relatively well received singles but TALK TALK ultimately failed to hit the same big time as other bands were experiencing during the New Wave 80s which is probably why they would transmogrify their sound significantly on the following "The Colour Of Spring."

IT'S MY LIFE has an uncredited performance by Mike Oldfield's bass player, Phil Spalding who sat in for Paul Webb on the track "The Last Time." The band, while still showing no clear signs of their post-rock future, do however implement a more sophisticated sound that in hind sight offers a glimpse into a more advanced musical approach. Although IT'S MY LIFE is merely credited to the team of Mark Hollis (vocals, guitar), Paul Webb (fretless bass) and Lee Harris (drums,) there are an additional seven guest musicians that play keyboards, piano, guitars, percussion and trumpet. As on the debut, the percussion is quite varied and offers a nice mix that deviated from the standard drum machine dreariness that many contemporary bands in the New Wave world were implementing. The trumpet on the title track, "Tomorrow Started" and "Renée" indicates a desire for a jazzier approach to the music and by following this route would lead to the extended jazz-rock turned post-rock of the albums "Spirit Of Eden" and "Laughing Stock."

While many New Wave fans can't stand post-rock and vice versa, i personally find both sides of TALK TALK's journey to be brilliantly composed. A telltale sign of a musical genius is the ability to transcend genre restrictions and Mark Hollis demonstrates equal brilliance on these early New Wave synthesized first pair of albums that display some of the best offerings that the subgenre cranked out. While clearly steeped in the synthesizer rich synthpop that launched their career, the baby steps for upping their game were planted on IT'S MY LIFE without sacrificing the catchy melodic hooks so abundant on "The Party's Over." I'm not really sure which of the first two TALK TALK albums win me over the most because each has its own charm but if the New Romantic aspect of the New Wave scene is your preference then you can't really go wrong with this one. This would be the last New Wave album for TALK TALK and starting with the next album, the band would opt for a more art rock approach with even more baby steps into the fledgling universe of post-rock.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars With their second album, Talk Talk become adults and Mark Hollis establishes himself as a class songwriter, with the help of Tim Friese- Greene, who become his partner, and the fourth member of Talk Talk. This Lp is not only synth pop: it is a research of new sounds.

The first song, "Dum Dum Girl" is good pop music with great attention to rhythm and melody (vote 7+). "Such a Shame", 5:42, entirely composed by Mark Hollis, is the masterpiece of the album. Slow start with great rhythmic progression, with tribal accents, percussive strophe and refrain of great class, with keyboards to paint a beautiful melody; a fading end that for the first time shows the taste of Hollis for the dilated sounds, which continue with inertia (vote 8,5/9).

"Renée" is another long song (6:22) by Mark Hollis and again it shows a wonderful melodic refrain. The songwriting of Mark Hollis is here of the highest quality, comparable to the eighty's rock songwriters (vote 8).

"It's My Life", the hit of the album, by Tim Friese-Greene and Mark Hollis, contains strange sounds, similar to the barrito of an elephant, good rhythm and engaging refrain, which remains in mind and will become a generational anthem (vote 7,5/8). With this song close a first spectacular side: both for the melodic inspiration, both for the sophistication of the sounds and for the songwriting no other group of synth-pop reached these peaks.

Side B open with another masterpiece by Hollis: "Tomorrow Started" (5:58), which presents a beautiful melancholy and languorous melody (thanks to the sound of the trumpet), which stands out for its exceptional keyboard arrangement; Hollis creates here an extraordinarily evocative, unforgettable atmosphere (vote 8,5). Then, suddenly, the magic disappears. The last four songs are not very inspired and are all fillers. "The Last Time" is one of the worst of the album, a tasteless pop synth (5,5/6), "Call in the Night Boy" seems to raise the quality of the album (7+) that instead falls with "Does Caroline Know?" (vote 5,5). The final "It's You" by Hollis (vote 7) closes a second side not up to the first where the Talk Talk have regressed to the style of their debut.

The album, as a whole, represents a big step forward for Talk Talk on the path of sound research that will soon lead to the post-rock masterpiece of Spirit of Eden.

Medium quality: 7,306. Vote album: 7,5. Three stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Talk Talk's second album is good but ultimately forgettable eighties fare, the songs usually starting out good but being brought down by lots of flashy choruses. Dum Dum Girl is possibly the best example of this to start, with some great slightly atmospheric verses but collapsing when it gets to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2964936) | Posted by alex_newgrass | Saturday, October 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great synth pop with genuine prog credentials. This is the band's second album, and it contains a great collection of songs which are, to me, far more interesting than those on their subsequent album "The Colour of Spring". I consider that this album represents the high point in Talk Talk's out ... (read more)

Report this review (#1566979) | Posted by _Mike | Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If there are defining moments in a band's life, Talk Talk had two within the space of a year. The first came in Milton Keynes ona rainy October afternoon in 1982, when they supported Genesis/6 of the Best - the reunion in aid of Peter Gabriel's ill-fated WOMAD. I was there, I was one of the pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#98289) | Posted by squonkuk | Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars As an album I find it rather boring, but the individual songs are actually quite good, the sounds on the album come over like a cross between Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, with soft intimate sounds on songs like Renee and my favourite song Tomorow Started and more upfront pop-pieces, like the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#95404) | Posted by tuxon | Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't see why the low ratings for this album. Of course, it's not prog at all but it is very good pop/rock music. The band's style has evolved from straightforward synthpop to more evolved pop/rock, probably with the addition of producer/keyboardist Tim Freese- Greene and a bunch of good gues ... (read more)

Report this review (#75879) | Posted by zaxx | Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Talk Talk!!! Begining with Talk Talk (the song) ... boy what a great pop!!! Listen to the arrgements and the guitars and the whole concept (even when it's not a conceptual album). This is One of my favorites albums EVER!. Is not as dense as Colour of Spring which is more experimental, it´s ... (read more)

Report this review (#31116) | Posted by | Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of TALK TALK "It's My Life"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.