ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Hardcore fans may say that this album is when Talking Heads sold-out, but that’s not really a fair assessment. On previous albums, David Byrne and company had previously concentrated on art-rock including African rhythms, with the occasional instrumental track. After breaking through to the mainstream with their Top 10 hit Burning Down The House, Talking Heads released the live album Stop Making Sense which seemed like a way to simultaneously summarize and wrap up the early part of their career.
The next phase would begin with 1985’s Little Creatures. This album marks the shift toward fully-realized songwriting. The lyrics seem more mature and are the focus here. The music seems designed to serve the lyrics now as opposed to before when they seemed to use lyrics as icing on top of their music cake. And the music is very accessible, basically pop) which alarmed some longtime fans. But this is pop in the best sense of the word. The production is superb and allows Byrne’s stories about the strengths, weakness and quirkiness of the human condition to shine through. The title track is affirming with “Stay Up Late” as kind of a sequel, both of which celebrate the wonder of pro-creataion. On the surface, “Television Man” celebrates escapism but dig deeper and you find Byrne striving to distinguish perception from reality. And “Road To Nowhere” is a cautionary tale implores us to wake up and pay attention to the world. This album should’ve been a huge commercial success, but somehow it peaked at a lowly number 20 on the US charts. Every song could’ve served as a hit single, but again (in the US at least) radio was lukewarm to Talking Heads in the mid-80s. The highest any song could reach was number 54 on the Hot 100 singles chart. But, over time, the public seemed to warm up to this sound and by the 90s these songs were entrenched as radio recurrent staples. This is ear candy with substance – a classic pop album that will surely earn new fans for generations to come.
[ review by Bangwave’s Tom Stark ]
Track Listing (favorites in bold)
- And She Was
- Give Me Back My Name
- Creatures Of Love
- Lady Don’t Mind
- Perfect World
- Stay Up Late
- Walk It Down
- Television Man
- Road To Nowhere
Literate Bright Confrontational Lively Sparkling Cheerful Detached Freewheeling Playful Quirky Rousing Somber Tense/Anxious Whimsical Wry Summery