A blog post

Talking heads revisited

Posted on the 08 November, 2012 at 7:17 am Written by in Music

Although I listened a lot to Talking heads when their music appeared in the late 1970s, I was already in my late twenties, and my main or “formative” experience was from the late  1960s, so this was a kind of repeat of what I had heard before. It was only gradually that I came to realize, a better kind of repeat.

At the time, I had my musical radar open, and got their debut album “77” quite soon, but it was their follow-up “More songs about buildings and food” that really gripped me, beyond my first-round music socialization. I was amazed by the combination of “strange” and “melody”, even pop-hooked melody.  Along with quirky but understandable lyrics – “I just want to be with the girls”.

For some reason, I lost interest in Talking heads in the early 1980s, and never listened so much to their other albums.

Time for a change.

I’ve bought “Remain in light” in the 2006 remastered edition (Rhino), and am sorry I missed it in the first place.

Like “More songs”, “Remain in light” is fresh and interesting, today.  The first is still in a kind of “Americana”, it is within the bubble or gum wrap of commercial ‘pop’, the second more into ‘world music’. Together they make a  shining path in the development of popular music.

Why do I like this music? My premier honor does not go to Byrne’s vocals or Harrison’s keyboards, or to others, although they are all very good. It goes to the bass playing of Tina Weymouth. She deserves a position in the hall of fame of rock music.  This “verve” lady plays a great and deep bass, better than almost all I know of, when it comes to making the bass integrate with the ensemble effort, slowing it down, moving it up, based on melody,  a greater sense of the whole, not just rhythm. Yes, her bass and the band playing can sound repetetive and tiring at times, but I think this is much due to the role she was given. When she is offered the chance to break loose, she is great. Her bass is the overlooked structure of the Talking heads’ success.

I was not aware of her later career with the Tom Tom Club. A new live CD sounds very good – to be checked out.