More Songs About Buildings And Food (Remastered) Talking Heads

Album Info

Album Veröffentlichung:


Label: Warner Music Group

Genre: Pop

Subgenre: New Wave

Interpret: Talking Heads

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  • 1Thank You For Sending Me An Angel02:11
  • 2With Our Love03:30
  • 3The Good Thing03:03
  • 4Warning Sign03:54
  • 5The Girl Wants To Be With The Girls02:38
  • 6Found A Job05:00
  • 7Artists Only03:34
  • 8I'm Not In Love04:43
  • 9Stay Hungry02:39
  • 10Take Me To The River05:02
  • 11The Big Country05:30
  • Total Runtime41:44

Info zu More Songs About Buildings And Food (Remastered)

David Byrne's resemblance to Anthony Perkins would be remarkable even if he hadn't called attention to it by entitling a song 'Psycho Killer.' Onstage, his head lurching to a rhythm his rigid body doesn't recognize, Byrne is a dead ringer for Perkins' Norman Bates: clean-cut, boyish (his songs are full of boys and girls but bereft of men and women) and batty. Movie critic Robin Wood's comment on Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic, Psycho, applies equally well to the music of Byrne's band, Talking Heads: 'It is part of the essence of the film to make us feel the continuity between the normal and the abnormal: between the compulsive behavior of Marion [Crane] and the psychotic behavior of Norman Bates.' Or, as Tony Perkins tells Janet Leigh shortly before slaughtering her in the shower: 'We're all in our private trap.'

For Talking Heads, the trap is the Cartesian disjunction between mind and body, and rarely — if e'er — the twain shall meet. Byrne's own head is distanced from his body by a long elastic neck, and he sings as if he were being strangled by a tightly knotted tie (from Brooks Brothers, no doubt). His high-pitched voice seems to emanate entirely from his straining vocal chords, not at all from his diaphragm. Quite literally, Byrne is a Talking Head. And his group's compulsively rocking beat — martial yet nervous, halfway between a goose step and St. Vitus' dance — is exciting, but seldom sexy and never cathartic. Though rock & roll usually celebrates release, Talking Heads dramatizes repression. If they're an anomaly, they're also one of the very best as well as most interesting American rock bands performing and recording today.

On More Songs about Buildings and Food, David Byrne sings the word feelingssssss with a puppy's yelp that turns into a snaky hiss. Even the ostensibly jubilant 'Thank You for Sending Me an Angel' hurtles to an abrupt coitus interruptus: 'But first, show me what you can do!' If, in one song, Byrne chides the girls for ignoring the boys ('Girls, they're getting into abstract analysis'), in most of the others, Byrne himself seems frantically to be staving off amorous involvement: 'I've got to get to work now' (the traditional male equivalent of 'Not tonight, honey — I've got a headache'). Indeed, the word work recurs throughout the record as the singer both pushes and parodies the Protestant ethic. (Not since the Four Freshmen has there been a group as Protestant and downright preppie as Talking Heads.) Love wreaks havoc on the rational, workaday world, and David Byrne's comic cold shoulder recalls the more strenuous resistance of Joni Mitchell, so many of whose songs have expressed a similar fear that love will deflect her artistic career.

Love and work, of course, is what Freud said all of us need, but on More Songs about Buildings and Food, Byrne appears able to imagine the proper equilibrium only in 'Found a Job,' wherein a bickering couple's relationship improves while collaborating on television scripts. He sings about this improvement with considerable sarcasm, though, and elsewhere on the LP, love and logic are at loggerheads. The tension between the two, like the similar tension Bryan Ferry creates between sentimentality and sophistication, is excruciating, and when it snaps in the album's final song, 'The Big Country' (a title taken from a line in Ferry's 'Prairie Rose'), Byrne is bounced into the void. Flying over the United States, he looks down with regret and revulsion at life below: 'I wouldn't live there if you paid me.' Yet, at the same time, he's 'tired of traveling' and wants 'to be somewhere.' Like a hijacked airplane that no nation will permit to land, the singer seems doomed to fly until his fuel is exhausted and he plummets to a fiery death.

Sound gloomy? Well it would be if Byrne didn't see hilarity in tight-assed hysteria and laugh at his Puritan pratfalls. Or if coproducer Brian Eno, once Bryan Ferry's colleague in Roxy Music, hadn't crammed so much humor and energy into each song. The cerebral, brittle sound of Talking Heads: 77 has been fleshed out with supple synthesizer fills, and Chris Frantz' drums and the synthesized percussion leap boldly out of the mix. Almost every cut has a percussive gimmick — handclaps, clattering rim shots, a heavily echoed backbeat — that rivets the attention, punctuating the melody or hammering home the words.

These arrangements bustle without sounding cluttered. Whenever the agitated jangle of guitars starts to nag, it slips into something mellifluous. Thus 'The Girls Want to Be with the Girls' shuttles back and forth between the staccato attack of a mid-Sixties garage band and the playful lilt of a nursery rhyme. 'Stay Hungry' manages to meld James Brown, the early Beatles ('Things We Said Today') and a 'progressive'-rock synthesizer. The eclecticism of More Songs about Buildings and Food — its witty distillations of disco and reggae rhythms, its reconciliation of 'art' and punk rock — is masterful, The music represents a triumph over diversity, while the words spell out defeat by disparities between mind and body, head and heart.

This, presumably, is why Talking Heads make music — and superb music at that. Because talk is cheap. (Ken Emmerson, Rolling Stone Magazine)

David Byrne, vocals, guitar
Jerry Harrison, guitar, keyboards, background vocals
Tina Weymouth, bass
Chris Frantz, drums
Brian Eno, synthesizer, piano, guitar, percussion, backing vocals

Producer: Brian Eno and Talking Heads
Recorded at Compass Point Studio, New Providence, The Bahamas in March and April 1978

Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums Of All Times: 383/500

Digitally remastered

At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. When they released their last album about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmic worldbeat explorations and simple, melodic guitar pop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Heads became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s, while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of their music can seem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for its own good, at their best Talking Heads represent everything good about art-school punks.

And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate on making music. The next year, the band won a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In 1976, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, a former member of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, was added to the lineup. By 1977, the band had signed to Sire Records and released its first album, Talking Heads: 77. It received a considerable amount of acclaim for its stripped-down rock & roll, particularly Byrne's geeky, overly intellectual lyrics and uncomfortable, jerky vocals.

For their next album, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, the band worked with producer Brian Eno, recording a set of carefully constructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as touches of surprisingly credible funk. On their next album, the Eno-produced Fear of Music, Talking Heads began to rely heavily on their rhythm section, adding flourishes of African-styled polyrhythms. This approach came to a full fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced by Eno. Talking Heads added several sidemen, including a horn section, leaving them free to explore their dense amalgam of African percussion, funk bass and keyboards, pop songs, and electronics.

After a long tour, the band concentrated on solo projects for a couple of years. By the time of 1983's Speaking in Tongues, the band had severed its ties with Eno; the result was an album that still relied on the rhythmic innovations of Remain in Light, except within a more rigid pop-song structure. After its release, Talking Heads embarked on another extensive tour, which was captured on the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense. After releasing the straightforward pop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, True Stories, the following year; the band's next album featured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which marked a return to their worldbeat explorations, although it sometimes suffered from Byrne's lyrical pretensions.

After its release, Talking Heads were put on 'hiatus'; Byrne pursued some solo projects, as did Harrison, and Frantz and Weymouth continued with their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they had broken up. Shortly thereafter, Harrison's production took off with successful albums by Live and Crash Test Dummies. In 1996, the original lineup minus Byrne reunited for the album No Talking Just Head; Byrne sued Frantz, Weymouth, and Harrison for attempting to record and perform as Talking Heads, so the trio went by the Heads. In 1999, all four worked together to promote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense, and they also performed at the 2002 induction ceremony for their entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through the 2010s, Byrne released a number of solo and collaborative projects. Tom Tom Club continued to tour, while Harrison produced albums for the likes of No Doubt, the Von Bondies, and Hockey. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music)

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