Day 140: Talking Heads – Fear of Music

18 Jul


What exactly is going on here?  How exactly am I listening to an indie pop rock band with a modern sound, but also listening to a thirty-year-old record?  I am fairly confused.  Old music isn’t supposed to sound like this!

Maybe all of my cherished indie bands aren’t as creative and original as I’ve come to believe.  I mean, if Talking Heads was releasing records like Fear of Music more than three decades ago, we sure haven’t progressed all that much musically since.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m writing this at one in the morning, but I just can’t get over how modern this sounds.  It’s amazing.

Oh, have I told you that it sounds like it was recorded recently?  Because it does.

But seriously, word count worries and sleep deprivation aside, Fear of Music is pretty solid.  For those modern-indie inclined readers, think of  Arcade Fire and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.  A combination like that has no other option than the following: be really good.

It’s late (or early, depending on your perspective), and I refuse to look up the name of the vocalist, but he gets all of the props that I can muster.  I was under the impression that every front man from the 70s had a pitch-perfect voice, but I guess I was wrong.  This dude doesn’t have a bad voice, but it’s definitely not immaculate.  He even does a bit of sing-talking throughout Fear of Music, something that I’m always a fan of.  The instruments sound like a modern indie rock band.  Good night.


10 Responses to “Day 140: Talking Heads – Fear of Music”

  1. Yuanny Dollar July 19, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Swole Ear, good morning. This is pretty interesting. First, his name is David Byrne. Second, the bass player — a woman — Tina Weymouth. No, your little Brooklyn foursomes weren’t the first to break the gender barrier either. Before someone else weighs in, I know she isn’t the Jackie Robinson of female bass players in guy bands, but the point is that it isn’t that radical today if they were doing it in the mid-70s. As for the Talking Heads, they are an Art Band, not an Indie Band. I never really liked them and a recent softening on my part is just nostalgia, I’m sure (the same goes for R.E.M. (still annoying to type). However, many people I respect revere them, so I’m willing to acknowledge that they are a great band, just not for me (and Psycho Killer is a great single — even I acknowledge that). I guess, you now fit into that group. Now you need to see the movie — Stop Making Sense. They will tell you it is the best concert movie ever, but they are forgetting The Last Waltz and The Song Remains the Same. Get some sleep.

  2. David Chops July 19, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Alex and I KNEW you were going to like this album. It is nice to be right every once in a while. For me, Talking Heads peaked on their next album, Remain in Light. I think that Alex leans to this one but he is still young so what does he know. Once in a Lifetime is as good a song as anybody did in the 1980s.

    As for the DVD, I have never been a big fan of concert flicks. Stop Making Sense is about as good as any. Song Remains the Same, on the other hand, should only be viewed for laughs after reading Hammer of the Gods and as a lead-up to a viewing of Spinal Tap. More double-necked guitar solos anyone? Senor Dollar may not have pointed you to the best DVD which could be Rise, Ride, Roar that came out this year and documents David Byrne’s tour of his musical collaborations with Brian Eno in 2009. I have not seen the DVD but the show was excellent.

    • Yuanny Dollar July 19, 2011 at 7:01 am #

      Sorry. The Song Remains the Same captures an era and the fact that people parody the era doesn’t change anything for me (I will never forsake Zeppelin, or Skynyrd for that matter), but I forgot about Under Great White Northern Lights. That is my favorite concert film of the moment even though it was shot in Canadia. Have you seen it Choppy?

      • David Chops July 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

        Nope. But I did see “It Might Get Loud” with Jimmy Page, Jack Black and Das Edge. And I thought Page was lame. Edge was not great either, come to think of it.

        “Chronicled an era”? Did you read Hammer of the Gods? Which era are we talking about? The post-Beatles era where Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath engaged in an assinine competition to see who could go deaf first while bare-chested and wearing a crushed velvet Lord Fauntleroy suit? Feh!

  3. Yuanny Dollar July 20, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Of course I saw It Might Get Loud on the first day of its theatrical release. I liked Die Edge better than I thought I would, but I expected to loathe him as you can only loathe a man who plays in a band with Bono — truly one of the most repulsive people on the planet — and calls himself The Edge. Jimmy Page was exactly as I wanted him to be. Jack White (you said “Black”) was a hoot and did nothing to diminish my opinion of him. I am not a rock literature scholar like you, so I haven’t read the book, but, yes, that era. Those Zeppelin songs were brilliant until In Through the Out Door, and they still convey a time and a feeling.

    • B. Frank July 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

      In Through the Out Door is positively brilliant. Even the cover art is spectacular (with that Rashomon thing and the embedded water colors -I know you hipsters know what I’m talking about). Zep was still pumping out the metal with tongues in cheek, and could even do an LP cover that would keep you busy for hours. A fitting swan song…

      • Yuanny Dollar July 22, 2011 at 4:16 am #

        Sorry my friend. When I heard Hot Dog, quietly, in the background, I heard the sound of years of artistic credibility being flushed down a musical toilet. What were they thinking. It is a sucky album and ended their real career with a preposition rather than an exclamation point. It isn’t as bad as Rocky Racoon, but almost.

  4. Joe Quigley July 20, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Did you know that David Byrne skipped the second grade?

  5. Jose Dinero July 20, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    I have heard that, but I believe he repeated sixth grade three times.

  6. Alex July 30, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    If you like Byrne’s vocals (or Talking Heads in general), check out this band called Yacht. The similarities are pretty evident, especially in the song “Psychic City”, and they’re a lot of fun to listen to.

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