INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Ultimate Classic Rock JULY 21, 2013 - by David Lifton
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO - TALKING HEADS' MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD ALBUM RELEASED
As the saying goes, artists have their entire life to make a debut album, but only a year to record the follow-up. But Talking Heads managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx on their second album, More Songs About Buildings And Food, which was released in July 1978.
The New York quartet had come out of the box a year earlier with Talking Heads: 77 with a mixture of funk, pop and art-school abstractions, all shot through with a dose of downtown-punk energy. Although impressing critics, the record failed to chart, and its single, Psycho Killer, reached only Number 92 on the Hot 100.
But More Songs About Buildings And Food reached the public, in part thanks to a cover of Al Green's soul classic Take Me to the River. The single got as far as Number 26 on the Hot 100, showing the world that the bridge between Memphis and CGBG takes a detour through the Rhode Island School of Design.
Just as importantly for its long-term prospects, the album began the band's association with producer Brian Eno, a former member of Roxy Music who was concurrently working with David Bowie on what would be known as the 'Berlin Trilogy.' Eno pushed Tina Weymouth's bass, which drove many of the songs against David Byrne's scratchy electric guitar, to the front of the mix.
Given the backlash against disco that was taking place at the time, it was a risky decision to emphasize the funk in their sound, but it worked, particularly on the Found A Job and Artists Only, Eno would go on to produce the next two Talking Heads albums.
The album's cover, a photo mosaic of the band comprised of five-hundred-and-twenty-nine Polaroids, showed their art-school training hadn't gone to waste. Neither the band's name nor the album's title appear on the cover - another risky decision, especially given the poor commercial showing of the debut. But people were still able to find the record: It peaked at Number 29 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually
A year later, Talking Heads would begin their exploration of world rhythms that exposed them to an even wider audience. But on More Songs About Buildings And Food, they proved themselves to be a band that was in it for the long haul.