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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food CD (album) cover


Talking Heads


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3.84 | 142 ratings

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4 stars While Talking Heads' debut was certainly a success in a number of ways, not only landing a huge hit with Psycho Killer, but immediately establishing a compelling approach and sound, it's really their 2nd album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, where the band properly found that stride of releasing total masterpieces. With that said, their sophomore album in general feels rather different in a few key areas to the rest of the band's output. Everything here just feels as if it's far more grounded, with the more personal, introspective approach to lyricism rather than the often broader or more abstract subject matter, or at least presentation of those topics, making it quite powerful and impactful in many instances. Combine this with the other decisions such as the greater focus on guitar or how the majority of the songs are shorter and feel more about capturing a mood as opposed to a full fledged song, and you've got yourself a truly excellent and fascinating listening experience.

Thank You For Sending Me an Angel immediately represents this shift in approach by almost sounding as if it's starting in the middle of the song during a particularly climactic moment, with driving drums pairs with the bouncy guitar and bass especially giving off this vibe. Really energetic opener that never feels as if it slows down in the slightest, which is most clear in the way that even the little guitar solo is used to simultaneously support the rhythm and stand out in its own way as a neat little moment of technicality. This sort of seemingly unchanging steadiness to each individual track on the first side contributes to the band feeling as if they have near boundless amounts of energy to bring to the table, almost as if the album will just never stop going this hard. What's most impressive in this regard is how it translates so neatly into the 2 mid paced songs on this part of the album, The Good Thing and Warning Sign. The way The Good Thing slowly escalates is a significant reason for this, and makes the more intense, frenetically played conclusion feel perfectly natural. Warning sign is even more effective at crafting this sort of latent energy with the way its slower melodic elements are contrasted by a faster paced, underlying rhythm from the guitar. It also helps a lot that this is such a charming and catchy song, though you could say that about the majority of them here.

The album isn't only about these short bursts of energy however, with a few longer songs finding their way onto More Songs About Buildings and Food as well, as can be seen with the side 1 closer, Found a Job. While certainly similar in vibe to everything preceding it, the different sections of the track feel more clear-cut and and obvious. Once again the guitar really is the star of the show here, with the way it perfectly plays off the rhythm, feeling both tightly regimented yet very fun and groovy, with the interactions with the keyboard further elevating things to the point of being one of the band's greatest instrumental moments. And if that wasn't enough, what follows is the fantastic one-two punch of Artists Only and I'm Not In Love. Artists Only feels as if it is able to represent the experience of the creative cycle both through its lyrics and music itself. I'm quite a fan of the way this so harshly can switch gears while remaining cohesive, with stretches of driven energy being balanced by moments of off kilter instrumental madness, before quickly picking itself back up and sounding as if it will keep trying the same thing yet again. It hits the point where it almost feels as if it's desperately working towards some sort of goal by the end, making for some nice parallels to the lyricism. I'm Not In Love on the other hand is not something I can as easily express my feelings on, it's just a song that really gets it, hard to explain it much more than that, it just works remarkably well on a personal level for me. That said, what I can easily say about it is the way that nothing stands still at any point makes for a sight to behold in its own right, like, wow there's so much greatness bombarding you in this one song.

The album ends things well with a couple of of more grounded, long songs that feel like a good way to calm things down to a near halt, and are overall just very chill ways to end things after such an album. Of these I definitely like Take Me to the River a bit more, with its iconic hook and awesome keyboard elements giving it a lot of really fun sections that know how to get stuck in your head for ages. Overall, this album is what I'd consider to be a resounding success, further refining Talking Heads' sound, while pushing them in some different and interesting directions, all when ensuring that the album itself is constantly fun and interesting. This is where the band became something truly special to me, and the fact that they'd comfortably top this a bit later is totally insane. Not the first place I'd send someone in the Talking Heads discography, but undoubtedly a remarkable album that is essential listening.

Best songs: Thank You for Sending Me an Angel, Found a Job, Artists Only, I'm Not In Love

Weakest songs: Stay Hungry

4.5 stars rounded down

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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