ARTIST: Talking Heads
TITLE: Talking Heads: 77
YEAR RELEASED: 1977
CHART ACTION: #97 US, #60 UK
SINGLES: Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town, Psycho Killer (#92), Pulled Up
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: New Feeling, The Book I Read, Don’t Worry About the Government
LINEUP: David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Intelligent and arty CBGB band records an album full of inventive, observational songs backed with a spare production highlighted by Weymouth’s bass lines.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The songs are off-kilter, as are the vocals and lyrics. That’s the charm of this album, though. Nothing was really straight-forward even when it seemed so. Love songs have a twist and turn, there are songs about everyday life, such as reading a book or visiting someone at work.
Byrne’s vocals are the thing that stands out at first. A high warble that can at times go manic (like at the end of “Pulled Up”) or mysterious. Then when you hear the songs again, you notice that Frantz and Weymouth are locked in as a rhythm section, and Weymouth’s bass becomes a melodic anchor allowing the guitars to be mostly rhythm or melodic riffs.
It’s an excellent debut and is the basic building block for the Talking Heads. No matter what they would add to their mix, this is the sound of the band at its essence.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Byrne, Frantz and Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design. Harrison was in the Modern Lovers and joined the band right before they started to record.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with singles and outtakes.
GRADE: A: It will take a few listens since it is slightly out-of-mainstream but once you get their direction of this album it will reveal its secrets.