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Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978) & Fear of Music (1979)

August 4, 2017

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Fabulous logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 552 & 553 /1001]

In a way, because I’m in the ‘getting-to-know-you’ stage with so many of these new-to-me albums, it feels a bit like the early stages of dating.

And through that lens, More Songs About Buildings and Food feels like a successful second date.

Successful in that:

a) Well, to begin with, there was mutual interest between fans and the band in a second date/album

b) As the album name indicates, it’s More of what worked the first time out…220px-TalkingHeadsMoreSongsAboutBuildingsandFood

c) …but instead of being all about the initial bold moves to get noticed, more effort was put into attention-sustaining (rather than just attention-grabbing), leading to a more polished & cohesive, if less individually memorable, experience

d) By adding Brian Eno, it looks like the budget increased, which is likely an advisable strategy for a second date

e) After the first two Talking Heads albums, to borrow the name of the eighth track here, I’m not in love…yet.

But so far so good and, at the risk of being too forward, I’d be happy to keep seeing them.

At the very least, I’d like to stick around to see if the third time’s the charm.

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“I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious”

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With Fear of Music, to borrow a line by Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.

For one, by picking this one up on vinyl, I’ve started to invest some money in this relationship (in addition to the previously invested time and energy).

Now that we’ve hit date number three, as foreshadowed by the album art, they’ve gotten a bit darker, more complex.

On our first two dates, they seemed more playful, more upbeat.

And on this record, it sounds a bit like the band is consciously playing hard to get.Talking_Heads-Fear_of_Music

Fear of Music reminds me a bit of In Utero, another third album that seemed like it was fearful of including too many Radio Friendly Unit Shifters (in Nirvana’s case, see the ironically-named track Radio Friendly Unit Shifter).

However, if it continues its In Utero parallels, Fear of Music will probably end up being my favourite Talking Heads recording.

Even though this date wasn’t as instantly fun, I wouldn’t be surprised if I look back on this third LP as my turning point from being a casual to a committed fan.

So yeah, I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.

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Verbalize the Positive

More Songs has a particularly terrific front cover – I gather it is made up of 529 Polaroids.

Well done by artist Jimmy De Sana!

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From → 1970s

17 Comments
  1. I think (maybe) Fear of Music is my favourite TH album. Didn’t Eno do well?

    • He did!
      It’s funny, I was not an Eno enthusiast until recently but the more I hear his work, the much more enthused I become!

  2. I’m enjoying reading about your courtship with Talking Heads. I have a good feeling about you two (well, you five).

  3. Fear of Music is the point of no return. That’s you hooked. Pretty incredible album… probably their best. Certainly my favourite.

    • I think that was a Phantom of the Opera song, past the point of no return – I’m fine with being in that situation here!

  4. I’ve haven’t ventured past the “Greatest hits” yet. I’m downloading these for my walk today.

  5. Two reviews for the price of one! You’re going to make that target for sure Geoff

  6. Life During Wartime and the cover of Take Me to the River are fantastic. Thus ends my knowledge of either album.

  7. Ages ago a (now-ex) girlfriend made me a mixed tape of these guys from her albums. Remember those days? Why do they seem so innocent? Anyway, I dug what I heard, though I couldn’t tell you what was on it, now, and I don’t think I have that tape anymore. Anyway, this is yet another one of those bands I meant to get to more seriously but never quite seem to do so. I’m glad your dating hasn’t been a total disaster! 😉

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