Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings And Food
To be sure, More Songs About Buildings And Food largely repeats the achievements of Talking Heads: 77, but as they say, God is in the details. The addition of Brian Eno as producer was an inspired one, as he enabled the band to delve into more complex rhythms, shifting the emphasis to Tina Weymouth’s bass and Chris Frantz’ drums and kick-starting the sonic evolution that would define the next stage of the band’s career. Nearly every track is couched in a dance groove and a short, measured guitar riff, and where all of 77‘s songs were fairly conventional in terms of structure, “Found A Job” ends in a two minute jam. But it’s not just Eno’s production: David Byrne remained as odd and compelling a frontman as ever, turning in performances more manic and unhinged—”Artists Only” is practically a nervous breakdown committed to tape—than anything on the Heads’ debut. And since so much of this record gets by on groove, the songs wouldn’t even have to be as hooky or as well-written as they are to be successful. Yet Byrne triumphed here, crafting an ebullient misfit-in-love song on the galloping “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel,” adding to “Tentative Decisions”‘ analysis of male-female relations on “The Girls Want To Be With The Girls” and giving humorously shrewd career advice on “Found A Job.” But it’s the last two tracks that made More Songs About Buildings And Food the breakthrough it was. The unexpectedly brilliant cover of Al Green’s “Take Me To The River” manages to stand alongside the original, a sentiment echoed by the public, who made it Talking Heads’ first real hit. And then the country-tinged finale, “The Big Country,” not only showed off the band’s versatility but proved that Byrne was only getting better. In his most sophisticated set of lyrics to this point, he imagines himself on a plane, looking down on the lives of rural farmers and suburbanites with both scorn and envy. It’s a fitting conclusion, pointing to the next stages of the band’s journey, where they would continue to push themselves into headier territory.