Fear of Musicby Talking Heads
By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did.
- Release Date:
- Warner Bros / Wea
Performance CreditsTalking Heads Primary Artist
David Byrne Background Vocals
Brian Eno Synthesizer,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Robert Fripp Guitar
Julie Last Vocals,Background Vocals
Sweetbreathes Vocals,Background Vocals
Ari Up Percussion,Conga
Gene Wilder Percussion,Conga
Technical CreditsDavid Byrne Composer
Jerry Harrison Composer,Contributor
Talking Heads Producer
Brian Eno Producer
Chris Frantz Composer,Contributor
Rod O'Brien Engineer
Tina Weymouth Composer,Contributor
Rod O'Brian Engineer
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I bought this album back in 1979 when it was new, taking a chance on Talking Heads (it was a cool cover, I had heard "Take Me to the River") and it proved to be a well spent $4.99 + tax (LPs were that much back then). Full of inventiveness, experimentation, weirdness, darkness, and danceability. Just the thing I needed (along with the Cars, Joe Jackson and Devo) to further distance myself from Queen, ELO, and especially Kiss at the time. Highly recommended!
So far this is the best surround-sound mix of any album I've heard to date -- it's worth investing in the DualDisc of 'Fear of Music' to, as the sticker says, 'surround yourself with Talking Heads' ... it's like hearing it for the first time, the mix is that good. Some tracks like "Electric Guitar" sound even better than I remember them from the 1979 LP or the long-time issued Sire CD.