INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Wondering Sound JANUARY 11, 2010 - by Douglas Wolk
TALKING HEADS: FEAR OF MUSIC
An artistic breakthrough and a full-bodied, headlong plunge into funk and mental dissociation
A full-bodied, headlong plunge into funk and mental dissociation, Talking Heads' second collaboration with Brian Eno was an artistic breakthrough - the album on which they stopped trying to rebel against the archetypes of rock and started seeing how far they could take their own eccentricities (David Byrne's adenoidal gulp and cracked naïvété) and gifts (especially Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz's rubbery thump). A hot-on-the-one setting of a Dada poem by Hugo Ball leads it off, and makes it clear that they're trying to come up with a fresh approach to lyrics. For the rest of the album, Byrne writes and sings from the perspective of some kind of alien groping toward understanding human customs - cities, paper, electric guitars. The album's centerpiece is Life During Wartime, an apocalyptic fantasy about the band's entire subculture becoming meaningless, but its secret gem is Heaven, whose affected oddness loops all the way around until it becomes genuinely poignant.