ARTIST: Talking Heads
TITLE: Fear of Music
YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #21 US, #33 UK
SINGLES: I Zimbra (#28 Dance), Cities, Life During Wartime (#80 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Memories Can Wait, Heaven
LINEUP: David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz with help from Brian Eno
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Another big leap forward, as the Talking Heads play with rhythms and sounds from outside the normal rock element.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Talking Heads could have recorded variations of their first two albums and gone along quite nicely, thank you, but David Byrne was always wanting to expand his sonic palette and utilize sounds and rhythms not usually associated with popular music.
Mostly it’s successful, with songs about cities, heaven, newspapers, nuclear war, electric guitars, crimes against the state, and a Dada tone poem. The band, along with Brian Eno, follows along with an expanded range of sounds, funky rhythms, and experiments. Even with the melancholy nature of the lyrics, the playing is joyous and light, except when it needs to be heavy and foreboding (as in “Memories Can Wait”).
There’s only one track that doesn’t work – the album closer “Drugs”, though I get what they were after. It wouldn’t be the last time that a Talking Heads album closer misfired.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The basic tracks were recorded in two days in Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz’s loft.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, an outtake and some alternate versions of tracks.
GRADE: A: Another masterwork by the Talking Heads, who were just on top of their game.