Published: Jan 31, 2012
A post-it note: Listen to Talking Heads!
I never do.
And this is dumb, because of the all bands that made New York home base in the late 1970s and 1980s, they’re my favorite. Yours, too, perhaps, if you can remember that wonderful blend of art school attitude, a distinctive dance beat, and lyrics wrenched from everyday American life, then twisted into taut, blank, surrealist absurdity. The New York Times described what the Heads did as “intelligent music for a mass audience.” If you’ve ever tried to produce smart anything for a mass audience, you know it’s easier to pass Donald Trump’s ego through the eye of a needle.
And these were these preppy white kids!
Let’s look at two videos. First, the great Al Green, singing one of his big hits, “Take Me to the River.”
Next, the Talking Heads do their version.
this ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now
Transmit the message, to the receiver,
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
you don’t even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
everything’s ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime,
I might not ever get home
“The Best of Talking Heads” will cure you of whatever resistance you have to this group. There are other compilations — I’m sparing you the one that costs $30 — but this, with 18 songs going for $10.68, is reasonably definitive. [To buy the CD from Amazon, click here. For the MP3 download, click here.]