Top 100

#99 Fear of Music – Talking Heads (1979)


Track Listing:-

  1. I Zimbra
  2. Mind
  3. Paper
  4. Cities
  5. Life During Wartime
  6. Memories Can’t Wait
  7. Air
  8. Heaven
  9. Animals
  10. Electric Guitar
  11. Drugs

At number 99 we have an album that is decidedly bleaker than 100. Talking Heads then, I have to admit I know very little about this band. The only Talking Heads songs I know are the famous songs ‘Psycho Killer’ and ‘Once in a Lifetime’ although I dare say there probably are songs by them I’d know if I heard them.

Firstly, this album is a real odd collection of songs in the sense that no song seems to sound like the other, that is rather peculiar as most albums to tend to have a certain style. The album kicks off with ‘I Zimbra’ which put me in mind of the kind of sound Foals are aiming for most of the time. The lyrics er… make no sense whatsoever and the tune sounds like something they have just recorded on the spot, the whole album has that feel to it in fact.

The bass lines on the album are very interesting, especially on ‘Mind’ but in general they do tend to stand out as opposed to being in the background helping to drive the songs.

I would play this album in a dystopic future, where it would be perceived as a feel good album, but it is incredibly bleak sounding but also incredibly loose and they sound like a band expressing their freedom without outside pressure to conform to what the mainstream would have wanted at that time but not too different to a ‘New Wave’ sound.

The best track in my view is ‘Heaven’ which is a little more melodic and stripped back, and David Byrne sounds incredibly haunting in an understated kind of way, their vision of heaven however probably wouldn’t be somewhere I’d want to go, I want lots of things to happen, like being able to ride Unicorns and play the guitar while chewing on a custard donut with Jimi Hendrix.

There are a lot of disco sounding rhythms peppered throughout the album, particularly on ‘Life During Wartime’ which sounds almost funky and is reminiscent of the kind of theme tune that would be on an old PC game called ‘Transport Tycoon’, anyone remember this game, if you can you’re a bona fide geek and no mistake!! I can imagine myself building some railway stations and linking a coal mine with a power station while listening to a tune like this.

This album was definitely an interesting listen, not sure whether it’s music for a sunny March Saturday afternoon while watching Lincoln City vs Forest Green Rover on mute, but I think it may be better for a wintery Wednesday afternoon walking home from work listen.


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