Artist – Album: Talking Heads – Speaking In Tongues
Released: 31st May 1983
Sounds Like: Funky!
Talking Heads never were ones for sitting still. After releasing 1977’s stunning debut album Talking Heads: 77, the group rethought its art punk sound and teamed up with Brian Eno to produce More Songs About Buildings and Food, a much more varied album with elements of funk, pop, country and reggae along with the American punk vibe. Fear of Music followed in 1979 and brought with a newfound danceability (in a certain sense, this ain’t no disco) and, by 1980, they’d taken on the dance thing whole hog and combined it with afrobeat influences to create Remain in Light. Throw in spin off group The Tom Tom Club’s self titled 1981 release and it’s quite a journey to have taken in a short space of time for the New Yorkers.
After taking a brief break, the band reconvened to reassume their amorphous state, and, in 1983, they released an album that it’s impossible for one to sit still to. Speaking in Tongues is possibly their funkiest release and it also stood as their commercial breakthrough, boasting amongst its ranks the opener and big hit ‘Burning Down the House’. Although not quite as good as Tom Jones and the Cardigans shiny cover (I’m joking), that track sets the bar high and yet the quality on the rest of the record rarely slackens.
‘Making Flippy Floppy’ is groovy and nonsensical, whilst the gospel tinged ‘Slippery People’ is captivating. Hidden away right at the end is ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’, a playful love song with the charming goofiness that its naive title would suggest, and actually, very discreetly, one of the best songs to come out of the dirge of a decade that was the eighties. At times the rest of the album can be a little unmemorable, but in the moment it all sounds great and it stands as strong continuation of the Talking Heads rich run of impressive albums.
Albumaday... rating: 7/10
1. Burning Down the House – 4:00
2. Making Flippy Floppy – 4:36
3. Girlfriend Is Better – 4:25
4. Slippery People – 3:30
5. I Get Wild/Wild Gravity – 4:06
6. Swamp – 5:09
7. Moon Rocks – 5:04
8. Pull Up the Roots – 5:08
9. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – 4:56
Listen to ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMawfL1lE4k