Talking Heads are pretty much my favourite band of all time so it is nice to be able to post something by them – plus I wanted to end the week on as happy a tune as possible. Obviously they are very well known and their popularity had a surge with the renaissance of post punk/punk funk via bands ranging from Franz Ferdinand to Friendly Fires who, on their first album, sound like they were heavily influenced by ‘Remain in Light’ era Talking Heads. Recently bands like Local Natives, MGMT and The Arcade Fire have covered their tracks proving that their stuff continues to be relevant.
Yes, their well-known tracks like Psycho Killer, Once In A Lifetime, Burning Down The House, Road To Nowhere etc are brilliant, but the thing about their back catalogue is that, in my view, it is one of the most consistently brilliant and original there is yet some of their early stuff is maybe over looked and not that well known by most. They have always been ahead of the curve, covering many genres and incorporating world music into their work from as early as their first album. I think that their later albums – Remain in Light through to Little Creatures – have always got the most attention due to the hits they contain, but I think that their first 3 albums can at least match them and at times betters them.
The album I was listening to today, 77, is one of my favourites and was their first release (it contains Psycho Killer). What I find interesting about this album is the context in which it was released. While there are some similarities between their work and that of say Blondie, of the well documented CBGB’s scene that they were a part of, to me they were very different, even down to their prep school clothing – perhaps, if you were there, there may be less of a discrepancy. When you listen to 77, on tracks like ‘Tentative Decisions’, you can hear the influence of other music going on in New York at the time such as disco, (see the almost house like piano ending). At the same time, more classic influences, such as soul, find their way into other tracks. Considering the core of the album is drums, guitar, bass and vocal (the lyrics are brilliant) and that the album is 35 years old it is amazing how fresh it still sounds. I do believe that if you had never heard of Talking Heads and were played this album you could absolutely believe that it was brand new.
The track I have gone for is ‘Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town’, which is the opener. I love the lyrics, I love the soul guitar riffs, the funk bass and to finish it off, the calypso steel drums. It always gets a few plays and always has me smiling and strutting along. I think it is a perfect track to start the weekend.
Picture from LastFM
Playlist Friday 11th May 2012
Today was just me and my son storming in to work and nursery. As I left the office I grabbed the above album to play in the car as I had nothing else. Plus, i didn’t want to be fumbling through my MP3 player as I drove and didn’t fancy shuffle. Also, my son has been getting into this album. He is a bit obsessed with cd players and music (they have one at nursery) and when mucking about with an old cd player at home, this album was to hand, so I stuck it on and he had quite a boogie. So, on it went this morning and he chuckled away as his father sung most of the album very badly indeed. A good start to the weekend.
Playlist: Talking Heads – 77 (Album)