Their debut recording, Talking Heads: 77, established this New York foursome as a lean, somewhat quirky bunch of CBGB-based rockers, and the album's highlights -- the dementia of "Psycho Killer" and the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of "Don't Worry About the Government" -- offer a hint of the great statements that would follow. More Songs About Buildings and Food was the first of those. Working with producer Brian Eno, the band turned a corner in their sonic development, with the ambient guru bringing an oblique depth to their sound -- from the distant sirens of "Warning Sign" to the heavier end of Tina Weymouth's bass and Jerry Harrison's Eno-accented keyboards. David Byrne's manic singing lifts "The Girls Want to Be with the Girls," "Artists Only," and "The Good Thing," while the unabashed contempt in his voice makes a pointed contrast to the upbeat music on "The Big Country." Byrne's biggest feat, however, is imbuing Al Green's "Take Me to the River" with an ambivalence and uncertainty not often found within a gospel framework. While not exactly the Shape of Art Rock to Come, this album set the tone for several powerful records from the group.
Performance CreditsTalking Heads Primary Artist
David Byrne Synthesizer,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals,Synthesizer Percussion,Synthesizer Drums
Jerry Harrison Organ,Synthesizer,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Brian Eno Synthesizer,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Chris Frantz Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Tina Weymouth Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Tina & the Typing Pool Background Vocals
Technical CreditsDavid Byrne Composer,Artwork
Talking Heads Producer,Audio Production
Rhett Davies Engineer
Brian Eno Producer,Audio Production
Chris Frantz Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
More Songs About Buildings and Food based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Let me get my negatives out of the way first: The dual discs can be a problem and this has been my worst experience. I had to return the first disc because the CD didn't play, and second time tried 4 computers before being able to rip the songs into my Itunes library. Second, minor point, this album as great as it is, is not Remain In Light or Fear of Music, which for me have stronger songs and really develop the sound that they created on this record. Having said that, the sound is really clean on the remastered production - much improved from the muddy sound that I remember on my older copy of the collection, 'Sand in the Vaseline'. The songs themselves are strong - the great songs for me are Thank you for sending me an angel - the album opener that has this wonderful urgency about it, so much to say and so little time - the Big Country, Good Thing, The Girls Want to be with the Girls and of course the classic Al Green song, 'Take Me to the River'. Only 2 songs on this album made it onto the current best of album which perhaps speaks to the relative strength of the songs. It seems repetitive, if you've seen any other reviews to mention the influence of Brian Eno. I am not sure exactly what he does but his influence on Talking Heads, David Bowie and more latterly Coldplay and U2 has been undeniable - all of these collaborations have arguably yielded some of these artists' best work. On this album the rhythm section of Michael Frantz and Tina Weymouth is very prominent - it sounds more like a band than David Byrne and associates. The comparison between the '77 take on Stay Hungry and the regular album version highlights the more expansive, urgent and danceable sound. All this complements David Byrne's very thoughtful lyrics. Remain in Light and Fear of Music evolve this wonderful sound and contain some really memorable music. If you are new to this band I'd recommend checking out one of those CDs. The compilations may work for you, but if I was starting from scratch I would download some key tracks from the first 4 CDs (the 3 I mentioned plus Talking Heads '77) and put them on shuffle. If you are rediscovering the band as I have through the remastered releases, while the early albums bring back good memories, most important is they sound very fresh and relevant to me. Final note - Michael Stipe writes an awesome short liner note, and to paraphrase him this is great music for the heart and the brain.