on 17 February 2006
Most of what has been written about this series, starting with the Brick box set has focused on the 5.1 DVD remixes. Since I don't have a surround system, here's a few words on the CD in package.
Firstly, the CD in this CD+DVDA set is a completely separate disc to the DVD. No double-sided, incompatible with lots of things, dualdisc. Secondly, it has 4 bonus tracks unlisted by Amazon. They are: Stay Hungry (1977 version), I'm Not in Love (Alternative version), The Big Country (alternate version), and Thank you for sending me an angel (Country Angel version).
It would be fair to say from the get go that the bonus tracks are not why you want this CD. Stay Hungry and The Big Country sound here as rejects from TH '77. The Alternate version to I'm Not in Love is a novelty version (at least today it sounds it) with massive flanging and phasing effects all over certain instruments. The only thing among the extras worth hearing more than once is the Country Angel version of "Thank you for sending me an angel". It's like the original version, but the with the country elements turned up. It works fine, though I still strongly prefer the original.
The cover says the CD is remastered. In most cases this means that some mastering engineer has slovenly run the tape through a savage peak limiter, screwed up the volume by 5-10dB, and instant remaster! This remaster though is an entirely different animal. While it is louder than previous masters (about 3dB louder than Sand in the Vaseline and 7db louder than the original MSABAF CD), the big differences are in two areas: the bass and the details.
This CD has MUCH more bass than the original. On "Take me to the river" I measured an increase of 10dB at 55Hz and 20dB at 30Hz (set to an equivalent volume at 1kHz). The treble is slightly dropped to, though this is only 1-2dB.
The result is a much weightier, more modern sound. This no longer sounds like lightweight pop, it's getting bolshie and powerful. The music is immensely engaging (it always was of course) in a new way. It drives, it hits, it moves.
The other thing is the details, and here I am starting to wonder if something more than remastering has gone on, cause I'm hearing so much new music. I suspect these things were always there because when I go back I can hear the things I am hearing for the first time on the early pressings, but now there are stereo placements and details, especially I am guessing Eno's input, that stand out much more clearly. And this isn't just the volume making them stand out since I have adjusted for that. There is space here I have never noticed - and the space gives room for instruments to appear more clearly. David's voice is very clear in the mix, and his manic intensity is even more powerful than ever.
And all this is before you even get to the DVD! my money was rarely better spent.
on 15 June 2007
This is the essence of Talking Heads, Okay, so I know Brian Eno's on board now and it changes their sound dramatically from 77 but it's still tight and in control. I saw them touring this and it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to - they could pretty much do it live. Typical quirky songs, neat guitar phrases, I love Tina's bass,however much everyone else disparages it. If you only get one Heads album I'd recommend this one. Later stuff can get a bit overindulgent and too much studio production. 'Buildings' still retains it's soul, energy, integrity and essence. Screw loose and fancy free.
This album is simply amazing. Tina Weymouth on bass, Byrne belting out his sometime strangulated lyrics and the whole produced with energy by Brian Eno. It doesn't get much better. Punk rock, country, reggae are all there along with inspired lyrics. Impossible to define, this second album is a masterpiece, showcasing intelligent music. Another classic I've rediscovered thanks to bargain £1.99 mp3 download.
on 15 March 2002
For me, this is the most infectiously joyful album in my collection. I have never heard anything else that comes close to the sustained adrenalin rush of these short, sharp pop masterpieces flying past one after the other. I find it nearly impossible not to jump around the room when this album is playing loud. Love it!!
on 1 May 2001
More songs about buildings and food.....and artists, abstract analysis, office jobs, bodybuilders, restaurants, Al Green - in fact America. More songs about America and how weird normal can be.
Talking Heads were always the epitome of late 70's USA cool. They were funky, self contained, literate, fun and soooo normal (The drummer was married to the bass player...!)yet it all worked. What an alternative to the UK New Romantic scene...
Centred around David Byrne's astonishing lyrics, they wove a heady stew of clipped funk, classic soul and sparkling pop all shot through with an avant garde edge that made sure they sounded like no one else on the planet.
From here on it was 'Fear of Music' which introduced African polyrhythms for the first time and then onto the their career peak 'Remain in Light' - still the greatest LP ever released. This one's great too - buy it, dance to it, think about it.
on 24 January 2006
There are two bands for whom Brian Eno can lay claim to some responsibility for their subsequent greatness. Everybody knows about U2 but his involvement with Talking Heads as producer started with this album. Both bands had the potential for what they became but Eno opened up a whole new area of posibilities and added an extra bit of cool although I guess U2 needed that far more than Talking Heads, 77 is still a great album albeit with a slightly more limited sound pallet than from this album onwards. This was the third Talking Heads album that I bought (as I did not get into them until Fear of Music came out when I bought 77 then FoM then this album) The funkiness of this album is brilliant. Byrne's lyrics just go into so many areas that other songwriters normally do not go to but there is a huge resonance with things thant concern many people. It is amazing when you hear a song voice ideas that have gone on in your head but you never thought anyone else would take the time to voice. There lies the genius of Byrne's lyric writing, he does not necssarily look for the big ideas to inspire a song but looks at the mundane or seemingly insignificant and manages to pull it off, never sounding forced or falsly whacky in that "We're all mad in here!" way that some do. Brilliant! I would have to contradict one reviewer of Fear of Music who says that it is THE Talking Heads album; I would argue that this is THE album. Artists Only, Stay Hungry, Found a Job, The Girls Want To Be...I'm Not In Love. every one a winner!
on 29 August 2001
Iinitially discovered Talking Heads in the late 80's with Stop Making Sense and the worked back through their catalogue.
Talking Heads do tend to attract all kinds of in depth (almost pretencious) comment and they certainly do have an incredible amount of depth to them, however never forget the pure and near perfect pop. Check out "Found a Job" and "Thank You For Sending Me an Angel." This is beautiful jangley guitar stuff. It makes you want to play air guitar, but without he Axe Master stance. And with a few qualifications.
Can't get enough.
All the Talking Heads trademarks are here, where they still sound fresh: unusual song structures, weird lyrics, pained vocals and jagged rhythms, forever establishing their unique style. My favourites include The Girls Want To Be With The Girls, I'm Not In Love, Take Me To The River (sounding like some type of anthem) and the wonderful The Big Country. I have not yet investigated their debut album, but this charmed me way back in 1978. I rated them in the same league as Television, Patti Smith, Richard Hell and the Voidoids - music with poetic substance - as opposed to the 3-chord punk wonders. Yes, this music has stood the test of time.
on 16 August 2008
I think I first bought this album in 1979, having been fascinated by hearing Eno's subterranean production on the single of 'Take Me To the River'. I can safely say it changed my life as it inspired me to form a band a become a musician. It's difficult to describe how unique they sounded in the late 70s, when it was all Les Pauls turned up to 11. The only band to compare with them were probably XTC (who they actually toured with).
Tina Weymouth always seems to come in for some slightly sexist flak, but her bass was the propulsion behind the whole unit. When they go off into the funky workout at the end of 'Found A Job', I'd defy anybody to keep still.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that the scratchy Fenders and driving basslines were their weird, angular take on Memphis soul - a kind of black music for very white people. I still regard it as the quintessential Heads album, with the original four-piece firing on all cylinders and aided by the perfect choice of producer. They may have pushed the envelope a little more on subsequent albums but I love this collection of disciplined, grooving pop songs.
Buy it, kids, and be as inspired as I was.
on 24 January 2014
Excellent Remaster! Everything you loved in the old one, but more-so!
Deeper Bass, more three dimensional sound, less flat. Still snappy and awesome.
Awesome for the kids too… no "bad words"