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Talking Heads - Talking Heads: 77 CD (album) cover


Talking Heads


Prog Related

3.64 | 160 ratings

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4 stars Talking Heads is usually a group that you wouldn't expect to see in Prog Archives, but when it comes down to it, they were an innovative band with shows that had a lot of flair and showmanship that leaned towards the flamboyant hijinx of Queen, David Bowie and Genesis. While it's true that the music took most of it's inspiration from the David Bowie side of things, the Glam Rock attitude has always found it's home in progressive rock anyway. As far as the ingenious side of things, David Byrne, Tina Waymouth, Jerry Harrison and Chris Frantz took a combination of their punk, pop and art rock backgrounds and melded them together perfectly. With this combination, they rose above the punk revolution and the disco fad and helped shape the music of the 80s, at least the new age side of things.

Seeing as they are considered a Prog Related band, they don't have to have their music always dependent on progressive techniques and such. But they do have tie ins to the genre, namely the ingenuity and showmanship as mentioned earlier, but also personnel tie in, like Byrne working with artists like Robert Fripp and exploring African music, but also Adrian Belew who would work with the band later, and also Brian Eno, who would produce and influence their music after their first album. Jerry Harrison also had a penchant for doing upbeat music with an artsy vibe that helped shape the slightly different textures that the band would explore. All you have to do is listen to some of his solo albums like "Casual Gods" to understand how his sound brought that different edge to their upbeat, poppish and sometimes danceable music.

Their debut album "Talking Heads: '77" shows the band without all the bells and whistles of later albums, but also demonstrates how they could make pop music into an art form, make it infectious and give it an attitude that would stick out from the norm. The music is mostly happy, but the lyrics could be satirical and have a bite to them. Byrne's voice has become an 80's staple, but it carries the right attitude and humorously over the top vibe that was perfect for this band. In the meantime, the other musicians were able to create some exciting grooves, and yet kept the sound minimal, yet infectious. Their ability to provide the right flourishes in the right places was uncanny, especially since they were not really accomplished musicians, but they knew when they had the right sound, and that ability would grow the longer they worked together.

Talking Heads '77 has many highlights that become more apparent the more you listen to it. I know that many people have the same problem with the album I had when I first heard it, and that is, the album grows on you over time so that as you become familiar with the songs, they all take on lives of their own. Everyone loves "Psycho Killer" of course, but as shown in the original performance of the single, it didn't catch on right away, but came a favorite over time. That is the case for all of the songs here, they take time to grow on you. My personal highlights for this album are "Uh-Oh Love Comes to Town", "New Feeling", "Happy Day", the multi-themed "No Compassion", "Don't Worry About the Government", and of course "Psycho Killer". That is more than half of the tracks, and the remaining tracks are great also.

The 2005 CD reissue of this album also had 5 more bonus tracks: the single that wasn't on the album "Love = A Building on Fire", "I Wish You Wouldn't Say That", the acoustic version of "Psycho Killer", "I Feel it in My Heart" and "Sugar on My Tongue". All of these tracks make it worthwhile to search out the reissue.

This album is a great album, especially considering the fact that it was their debut album. It isn't perfect, in fact most of their albums aren't perfect when it comes to progressive music, except for the live album "Stop Making Sense". But the music of Talking Heads has always intrigued me and I find that their music always has a way of making me feel good.

TCat | 4/5 |


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