Little Creatures

Little Creatures

David Byrne describes Little Creatures as a collection of “very conventional songs,” but compared to 1985’s biggest rock songs—“The Heat is On,” “The Power of Love,” “We Built This City”—it’s plenty weird. There were still new musical modes for the veteran band to explore: The Americana feel on “Creatures of Love” comes from Eric Weissberg’s steel guitar; “And She Was,” a bouncy tune about levitation, incorporates what singer Byrne calls a “white gospel choir,” as well as some unexpected power chords; and “Road to Nowhere,” which Byrne describes as “a resigned, even joyful look at doom,” features a Cajun-sounding accordion from Jimmy Macdonell of the NY zydeco band Loup Garou, plus another gospel chorus. The songs are conventional mostly in the sense that they’re about things: “Creatures of Love” celebrates sex, “Stay Up Late” celebrates babies in a daffy way (“Little pee-pee, little toes”), and “Television Man” celebrates television and the people who love it. “Something has been changed in my life,” Byrne mutters, as though in a trance, in “Give Me Back My Name,” as Tina Weymouth plucks a twitchy bass line. Throughout, Byrne emits a feeling of lyrical giddiness that almost makes it sound like a different band. It’s the simplest, clearest, least complicated Talking Heads album, partly because Chris Frantz’s resounding, bedrock snare and bass drum are mixed almost like a lead instrument. Rappers and younger American bands like R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü were now in the vanguard, and Talking Heads were happily in the autumn of their career.

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