Tuesday, January 23, 2007

album of the day

Fear Of Music by Talking Heads.

It's always nice to revisit stuff you used to listen to when you were much much younger and realise just how brilliant it is - it makes you realise just how right you were all the time, no matter what everyone else said.

This is a good example: I got into Talking Heads after buying the single Road To Nowhere after it was a hit in 1986, and gradually worked my way back through the back catalogue to the start of their career in 1977. My very brief summary of their career goes like this: the first album is OK, and the last 3 are OK too, but the sequence of four in the middle that goes More Songs About Buildings And Food, Fear Of Music, Remain In Light and Speaking In Tongues is where the magic really happens. And Fear Of Music is The One, if that's as many as you're after - the received Rock Critic wisdom is that Remain In Light is The One, but I disagree; Fear Of Music marks the bridge between the punky New York white-boy quirkiness of the early albums, and the massive polyrhythmic Afro-funk collective they turned into later on (watch the DVD of Stop Making Sense to see what I mean). And it has proper songs - for all the greatness of the next two albums, a lot of the tracks are just grooves with lyrics stuck on top, not songs. Whereas Fear Of Music has I Zimbra, Cities, Life During Wartime, Memories Can't Wait (covered by Living Color - remember them?), Heaven (covered - bizarrely - by Simply Red; I know you remember them) and the splendidly deranged Animals: "animals think they're pretty smart: shit on the ground, see in the dark". Great stuff.

And...just to plug Amazon again, not that Jeff Bezos needs the money: all four of these albums are available for £4.97, so you can have all four classic mid-period Talking Heads albums for less than 20 quid. If I didn't own them all already I'd be in there like a rat up a drainpipe.

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