15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This is the album on which the Talking Heads came into their own. Sure, 77 was charming, in its faux-naïve, art-school way, but More Songs finds the band pushing their eccentricities to new, harder-edged heights, the signature cat-scratch guitars scuffling around crisp, martial beats. Brian Eno’s production punches up the drums and bass for a weird fusion of funk, punk, and New Wave herky-jerk that almost 30 years later still sounds fresh and new. As repetitive and rhythmically complex as dance grooves, the music is twitchy and buoyant, the lyrics weirdly abstract, like corporate reports written by a non-native speaker: “A straight line exists between me and the good things. I have found the line and its direction is known to me,” Byrne sings on “The Good Thing,” talking about math, or God, or who knows? “Found a Job” layers cynicism and sincerity in a song about a couple who finds marital bliss through TV, while the band’s curiously stiff-legged take on Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” nonetheless builds up a genuine head of gospel steam. Weirdest of all, David Byrne actually sings on “The Big Country,” a pastoral vision of America as seen from the window of a plane, the satirically twangy guitar broken by Byrne’s nasty rebuke: “I wouldn’t live there if you paid me. I couldn’t live like that, no sirree!”

EDITORS’ NOTES

This is the album on which the Talking Heads came into their own. Sure, 77 was charming, in its faux-naïve, art-school way, but More Songs finds the band pushing their eccentricities to new, harder-edged heights, the signature cat-scratch guitars scuffling around crisp, martial beats. Brian Eno’s production punches up the drums and bass for a weird fusion of funk, punk, and New Wave herky-jerk that almost 30 years later still sounds fresh and new. As repetitive and rhythmically complex as dance grooves, the music is twitchy and buoyant, the lyrics weirdly abstract, like corporate reports written by a non-native speaker: “A straight line exists between me and the good things. I have found the line and its direction is known to me,” Byrne sings on “The Good Thing,” talking about math, or God, or who knows? “Found a Job” layers cynicism and sincerity in a song about a couple who finds marital bliss through TV, while the band’s curiously stiff-legged take on Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” nonetheless builds up a genuine head of gospel steam. Weirdest of all, David Byrne actually sings on “The Big Country,” a pastoral vision of America as seen from the window of a plane, the satirically twangy guitar broken by Byrne’s nasty rebuke: “I wouldn’t live there if you paid me. I couldn’t live like that, no sirree!”

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