4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fear Is The Key,
This review is from: Fear of Music [CD + DVDA] (Audio CD)
In the early days of the New York New Wave, Talking Heads were scorned by many of their cooler than thou contemporaries because they were "nerds". But their debut album showcased a fresh, immediate sound and the nerds were well on the way to becoming cool themselves. 'Fear of Music', their third album, fulfilled the vast potential demonstrated on their previous releases.
Rumour has it that when Sire signed them David Byrne made Tina Weymouth re-audition for the position of bass player. Whether that's true or not, if the band (not just Weymouth) had technical limitations their creative vision was virtually boundless. On this album the spiky urgency of before has a new sure-footedness. Tracks like 'Cities' and 'Life During Wartime' for example motor forward with a well-oiled self-assurance to complement that spikiness.
Other tracks like 'Drugs' and 'Heaven' strip the sound to its bare essentials, thus bringing to the fore Byrne's edgy vocals exploring themes of urban dislocation and paranoia. But despite all this unease this imperfect modern world is celebrated too because Heaven is, as Byrne observes, "a place where nothing ever happens".
Right down to its mostly one-word song titles, 'Fear of Music' is a minimalist masterpiece. Talking Heads made many other great albums but even if they hadn't this alone would have ensured their place in rock history.