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Starting at the top. A stellar debut,
This review is from: The Party's Over (Audio CD)
I remember sitting on the floor one evening in 1982 watching MTV when this new video came on that caught my attention. People had no mouths, others were in white suits, the drummer was swinging his head left to right, batting his little pony tail back and forth while creating this awesome drum hook. The band and song were called 'Talk Talk', and I fell in love. Each time the video aired I got all excited, but I could never find their then-new EP at my local store, which was really just a 5-song taste of their upcoming full length LP. But I was only 12 years old and only had one record store to choose from. The video eventually dropped from MTV's rotation and my mom dumped cable, because I wouldn't let her watch a movie without me having to switch it to MTV numerous times throughout. Bad kids.
By 1984, we had cable again and Talk Talk re-emerged on MTV with their new song and album 'It's My Life'. But in addition to this video, MTV also started playing some previously unseen version of their first video 'Talk Talk'. This video opened with a spinning record and showed the band in cages. I fell in love all over again, and wouldn't let the album elude me this time. After all, I was now 14 and had expanded my record shopping to the next town. But even then I had to special order a copy of the LP The Party's Over. When it arrived, I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to get it onto the turntable after all this time.
Wow, what can I say. The album was an instant favorite for me. Talk Talk's sound at this time consisted of voice, keyboard, bass and drums. That's right, no guitar. And it was a wonderful change to the Heavy Metal garbage MTV was mixing in with the New Wave videos at the time. I remember my immediate favorites from The Party's Over being those with more heavy drumming, such as the intense and catchy classic 'Hate', as well as their UK hit single 'Today'. The album continued to grow on me with the upbeat 'Another Word' and the somber 'Have You Heard The News?'. Even the 6+ minute title track was stunning, as it slowly builds to a shiver-inducing end. Eventually, all the songs would grow on me, save their debut single, the weak 'Mirror Man'. But 8 out of 9 tracks is pretty impressive.
Though I also bought the It's My Life LP in 1984, it had little impact on me, aside from the singles. It would be nearly 30 years before I owned the CD and discovered that, though very different to their debut, It's My Life also had some great songs. By their third album, The Colour Of Spring, there was little excitement left. Then came Spirit of Eden, and I was completely bored. So for me, Talk Talk was one brilliant debut album, a pretty good second album, and little else. Their intentional changes in sound seemed to almost sabotage their success, yet their following still remains quite strong, as indicated by this latest (2012) repackaging of this, and their other EMI albums. Good for them.
And for the collector, I would also recommend the Asides Besides compilation. Though it's always been advertised as a "Limited Edition", it's still available 15 years after its release. It contains the mediocre 12" mixes of 'Talk Talk' and 'Today', but also contains the excellent B sides 'Strike Up The Band' and '?'. Both are essential extensions of The Party's Over sound. The only track from this era that I don't think ever made it to CD was the 12" version of 'It's So Serious'. It's got a much better mix than the album version, and even an extra verse. Well worth seeking out.