Talking Heads Fear of Music Turns 40

IMG_3104It’s the first solidifying album of Talking Heads, 70s and 80s New Wave Art House band. Their second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, was a step away from the debut record, in that they were starting to find their feet. The band, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison, decided that the record should not just be a bunch of singles, or singles driven. The next one needed to have more of a theme going on, and actual direction. They also wanted to produce on their own and have more control over the project. This would prove to be an error as they bit off a bit more than they could chew.

After original demos were not going so well, they called back legendary Brian Eno to produce and help get the record on track. It appears that the teenage independence wasn’t working to their advantage. It’s a good thing they did. Fear of Music became Talking Heads transitional album, taking them from their beginnings into young adulthood and expanding audiences.

Fear of Music is still not a polished product, that’s exactly why it’s my favorite Talking Heads album. It still has that angst going on, that reality of life not being what the Great American Promise said it should be. It’s messy and strange. The first Single did not perform well on the charts, however it has been a cult classic, “Life During Wartime”. I always felt that this song was a great discussion of a dystopic future after the apocalypse. Themes of the late 70s and early eighties were surviving the years long cold war and living with Thatcherism and Reaganism on the horizon. George Orwell was being read again, and the fact that this time period should have been the best of times, it was only so for the privileged few. One of the reasons this song is still valid today. It contrasted with “Heaven”, the bands iconic slow favorite. It’s a story about a place you can go, a bar, a place where you know everyone, and can feel you can go.

There are many great songs that talk about the shock of life and reality after you grow up and the teen years fade away. I like to think of this album as an intro to adulthood record. It’s also one of the records my crazy art teacher in high school drummed into our heads while we threw paint at each other. I guess that left an impression.

RSD Black Friday Finds 2018

RSD Black Friday Finds 2018

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Press The Eject and Give Me The Tape on Vinyl

It was 4:30 am and I could feel a sore throat coming on. Of course, I have to go stand in line. It’s raining. Its Record Store Day: Black Friday. Because one day a year going nuts on RSD wasn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the folks at RSD got together and decided what better way to save an industry, make an unofficial holiday out of it. It’s great because you have several bands releasing or rereleasing classics and improved versions of an album. And now its on Black Friday as well.

I was on the hunt for Press The Eject and Hand Me the Tape by Bauhaus. This live record had only been available as a free second LP with the Limited Edition of their 1982 release “The Sky’s Gone Out”. That was many years ago. Later it was released as a single album. It also had not been officially released in the US until now. For the 40th anniversary colored vinyl releases, a limited edition colored vinyl was available. I was lucky, I got one of the few copies that had showed up. I also picked up Bauhaus Bela Sessions. I was very tired and feeling ill, and slowly weaving back out of the store when at the end, I spied a classic from my childhood: Talking Heads “Remain In Light album. And it had a limited edition, 5500 run on ruby red release.

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I first listened to┬áthis record when I was in high school. My art teacher had been telling us to listen to Talking Heads, we didn’t get it. He was obsessed about it. It was the beginning of the 80s and I had been just discovering punk and other post-punk bands on late night college radio a few years before. He played the record for us and some others daily. It was edgy, experimental sounds, and lyrics that touched me. I┬ábecame hooked on it. When I saw the record in the store, all the memories came flooding back, the art room, stinking paint, air hoses that leaked from the airbrushes, and talking music with other students and the art teacher. It’s one of the only real memories I have of those insane years called high school. It’s what was so great about art class. You could listen to music and make a creative mess and sing and dance. So, yes, even though it was a stretch for cash, I picked it up. It was also nice playing a copy without all the scratches and clay dust covered grooves. I guess sometimes the adult comes out and wants the clean vinyl. But the memory of playing this and hearing it again on red vinyl no less, was just priceless.