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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Talking Heads - "Speaking in Tongues" (Sire, 1983) [key tracks: Burning Down the House, Girlfriend is Better, This Must Be the Place]
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"Down in the basement, we hear the sound of machines. I'm driving in circles, I come to my senses sometimes. Why start it over? Nothing was lost, and everything's free... I don't care how impossible it seems."
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Just a refresher for those of you newer to the site: here is how the thing works. Ideally it is a 3 paragraph "wham bam thank you ma'am"... an intro (you are reading it), a record review, and a paragraph unrelated to music (the fossil of my previous blogs and journals). Between the intro and review, I will be posting in reverse order my top 50 favorite songs. I won't comment on the songs until we get closer to finishing, and the songs will rarely have anything to do with my album choice. For you nay-sayers who said you couldn't come up with such a list, maybe you were right. I finalized my list this weekend and I realized a lot of great bands were left out. I made a list... 62 bands that are either epic or important to me and they are not on the top 50 list. So with that, we play.
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Carl's Favorite Songs - #47 - Never Been Any Reason by Head East
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Ah, the Talking Heads. Smarter than you. More artistic than you. And yet their music is infinitely accessible. The biggest single of their career opens this LP, "Burning Down the House." There can;t be many of you who haven't heard this song. In MTVs early days, it played non-stop. Its been played on retro-radio, soundtracks, and a pop culture reference since its release. This album sort of marked the Talking Heads' jump into mainstream. Hard to believe that they were integral in founding American punk... when punk was a person not a genre/sound. Their sassy intelligent art rock challenged all of the conventions of pop radio, and yet made fans of even the most material Material Girl. Little did top 40 radio realize, that this music was at once giving the finger to format, and embracing the ability to create within conformity. While not my favorite Talking Heads album, it is perhaps the most cohesive. David Byrne takes on new characters for each song, all of which he would flesh out for the subsequent tour (chronicled and glorified by the Demme film "Stop Making Sense"). The album ends in one of the strangest moments of Talking Heads history... a love song. "This Must Be The Place (Native Melody)" is perhaps the most heart tugging, honest love song ever, and it just comes out of nowhere from among a track listing full of TV preachers, UFOs, singing arsonists, and social criticism. Bryne's disjointed "art-nerd" persona may have equated the Talking Heads to a cousin to Devo to some, but one glimpse at the lyrics on "This Must..." will dissolve such a notion. "Love me 'til my heart stops, love me 'til I'm dead." It's all we really want. One last comment, check out the minimalist, goofy art work. All of the Talking Heads albums lack truly memorable cover art, yet everything was very elaborate and intentional. In the words of my father, "I'll never get art."
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What is joy to you? For my friend Andrew, it's his wife (literally, her name is Joy). For me, its simple things... like rearranging my bookcases, drinking a good root beer, playing Guitar Hero, and joining an online book club. One of the best moments of my recent years was key to me keeping my sanity... I took a class at IWCC called "The Nature of Evil in Literature." The professor was oddly qualified for the job, which was a welcome surprise (it was IWCC after all). My classmates were typical community college knotheads, and I gleefully crushed every one of them every chance I had on the message boards (you perhaps can;t appreciate the level of moron that takes classes at K-Mart U, I mean IWCC). As for my discussions with the professor, I actually learned a lot about literature and myself (no small task). So when I saw that Barnes and Noble had online book clubs, and there is one currently doing Paradise Lost, I had to join. I also joined one that does a different Shakespeare play every month... I couldn't be more pleased. Now I just need to find time to read, post, and reply... Anyone else here into book clubs or discussion boards?
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Horns up!

1 comment:

jes said...

that's the beauty of art;)