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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Fear Of Music

Talking Heads

1979

Fear Of Music

Album Summary

Fear of Music is the third studio album by American rock band Talking Heads, released on August 3, 1979, by Sire Records. It was recorded at locations in New York City during April and May 1979 and was produced by the quartet and Brian Eno. The album reached number 21 on the Billboard 200 and number 33 on the UK Albums Chart. It spawned the singles "Life During Wartime", "I Zimbra", and "Cities". Fear of Music received favorable reviews from critics. Praise centred on its unconventional rhythms and frontman David Byrne's lyrical performances. The album is often considered one of the best Talking Heads releases, and has featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.46

Votes

5957

Genres

  • Post Punk
  • New Wave
Reviews
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View Author
Tue Feb 16 2021
5

Similarly to what I've said about other artists, I feel that David Byrne is being very true to himself in his music. I don't know if he could do any differently. And that is a great benefit to us all because he is such a unique thinker and performer. We're so lucky that Talking Heads came into existence alongside/inside the punk scene in NYC where there was a great shift happening in music. Almost like a new opening being torn that they were able slide through among the chaos. They don't fit the stereotypes of a punk band but they were defiantly themselves and I think that's the bravest and most difficult thing you can do as an artist and you have to respect that. To me Talking Heads is one of the finest examples of a band that is able to walk a line between pop music and experimentation with grace and style. I identify with the music of Talking Heads/David Byrne more deeply than I do with most music. He chooses subject matter and emotions and ways of expressing them that are staring us in the face all the time but somehow we don't recognize them as something that would be able to constitute a song. One of his many incredible gifts. He had the perfect band to support him and the perfect producer at the controls in Eno here.

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Wed Feb 10 2021
2

Never really felt the need to listen to some Talking Heads deep tracks. I feel justified in that now.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
2

Seems like this is the Talking Heads album you’d pick if you didn’t want to like or recognise any of the songs.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
1

Difficult to listen to sober.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Sexy, weird, nerdy, wobbly but stunningly beautiful. This album is timeless but also a beautiful representation of the fusion intelligent music can bring.

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Sun Apr 25 2021
5

"This white boy can freak it!" - Brian Eno

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Tue Oct 19 2021
4

A spooked ostrich in a house of mirrors.

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Fri Dec 25 2020
5

Best talking heads album!

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

David Byrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

Fabulous album. My brother had this on vinyl back in the day. When I bought my first car I figured its CD Player needed a friend so I bought F of M on  CD. In retrospect it’s quite amazing how creative this is. How could a group led by a pasty white boy make Zimbra? There must have been something in the water at Mud Club? Life During Wartime is a classic. I recently thought Taking Heads (or perhaps Weird Al) should remake it as Life During COVID. “Have sanitizer, some toilet paper to last a couple of days. But I got no face mask, ain’t got no haircut, ain’t got CERB from CRA.” This trips off the tongue  quite easily. Unlike Side 1, there are a couple of mediocre songs on side 2 but not so much to move it off a 5

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Mon Mar 15 2021
4

Groundbreaking album by Talking Heads. Fear Of Music is spectacular art, giving foreshadow to the diverse creativity that David Byrne expanded into the 80z and beyond.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
4

Another classic Brian Eno record, this time featuring Talking Heads.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
2

It's funny to listen back and realize what was considered 'good' music back then. Repetitive, off-key, monotonous vocals; Clangy but cheesy guitar riffs. To be fair, it's still better than the over-produced, auto-tuned garbage that we are forced to listen to today. Stand out tracks: Drugs, Life During Wartime.

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Sat Feb 13 2021
5

Love love love David Byrne

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

Зашло!

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

NIce

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Mon May 03 2021
5

Every Heads record back in this period sounds like a complete different band, and it's amazing they caught mainstream success. Wish I could have seen them live once. Basically you'll have equal numbers of people saying this, "Remain in Light," and "Little Creatures" is their best album, but 2/3rds of them are wrong. This is the one, just because coming out in 1979 it doesn't really fit with punk, disco, new wave or rock, but yet it does.

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Sun Jan 17 2021
5

I had heard some talking heads tracks before but never sat and properly listened to them till now. I love the lead singers atonal wails, and each track on the album paints a landscape of a dreary industrial area with an unusual element to keep me interested. Favourite track is either air or the dancing for money outtake. I’m not sure why they never finished dancing for money with proper lyrics because it felt almost finished but it made me smile to see the creative process raw like that

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

This could definitely use another listen just to pick up on some more of the lyrics.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Timeless.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

I really like the Talking Heads and know they've had a lot of influence on other bands that came about later. I don't know if this is their first album but I think it's pretty early so I can see how this would be completely different than a lot of other stuff that was going on at the time.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

still sounds as fresh as when I first heard it. Eno can found all over the place. masterpiece

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Sun Feb 21 2021
5

Great album for chilling

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

With this album, TH started to separate themselves from the other "New Wave" bands. The Eno production was quite different from their earlier efforts, I Zimbra gives us a glimpse of the direction they were heading & the guitar licks on songs like Mind & Drugs where unlike anything I'd heard at that time - almost percussive. The lyics were amusing as always. All songs are not 5/5 but the great ones carry the rest.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Excellent, know this album inside-out.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
5

Production: 15/20 Songwriting: 16/20 Innovation: 15/20 Bangers: 20/20 Emotional response: 16/20 =82 Yes please

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

right when TH hit their stride to become probably the best band of the era. weird beats and instrumentation, peak Eno ethereal production, and David Byrne delivering some of his best and weirdest vocals and lyrics. I Zimbra and Animals stood out to me as forgotten gems off this one.

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Mon Feb 15 2021
5

I can imagine a large portion of first time listeners tuning out early on this album through not wanting to persevere with the somewhat ‘different’ sounding melody & vocals...they would be doing themselves and this whole album a huge disservice. As well as all the great music they would also miss the chance to go about their day whilst wearing a pair of cans & and appreciating the beautiful artistic and upbeat mastery of this whole album. They’d never know they missed out on such a caring and tender song like ‘Heaven’ for example. They would have no clue how much they would’ve felt like spontaneously breaking into dance will listening to ‘Mind’. Most of all they would miss going about their day with a music induced smile as a result of listening to these tracks. There truely is something for everyone here. Sometimes you just have to dig that bit more or scratch further away at the surface to reveal some hidden gems in life...this album is full of them. Five Stars!

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

One of the greatest albums ever made. I need to upgrade my vinyl version.

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

Hadn’t listened to this album before but really liked it. The Talking Heads are amazing.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

For me a perfect album has one or 2 tracks that grab you and pull you in. Then the more times you listen the more tracks pull you in until every track is a classic. This is one many albums like that that talking heads produced in their all too short career.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

A great listen

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Sat Jul 17 2021
5

Very enjoyable. It was extremely catchy and forward thinking. I love David Byrne's voice and songwriting, and Fear of Music was a great step in the direction of Remain in Light. Highlights: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8.

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Sat Jul 17 2021
5

This album is great. It gets weirder and weirder the farther in you go, but they play into it and play into it extremely well. The vocals are great, the instruments are interesting to listen to, and no moment of music is wasted. This was worth listening to. Favorite track: I Zimbra

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Each track is able to invoke a certain kind of strangeness in my imagination that is controlled just as equally between the lyrics, the vocals, and the melody. The latter of which due to Eno's excellent production work that compliments Byrne's style. "I Zimbra" is a great opener that gives us a taste into the type of experimentalism we're dealing with. But it is "Mind" that establishes this constant anxiety and desperation in the protagonist. Someone who is helpless to change his lover's mind. Someone frantically looking a place in the city. Someone obsesses with some urban unrest. Someone stuck living in the highlights of his past. Someone at the mercy of air itself. Each song's lyrics and music builds up to an increasing level of disorder. And then we reach "Heaven" to calm us down in self-reflection. But not for long as we jump into what I find to be the strangest track, "Animals." Not sure if there's something deeper going on due to how much the lyrics seem to only be applicable to literal animals, but it reflects a severe level of psychosis bringing about the kind of absurd level of anxiety we saw in "Air". The next track "Electric Guitar" is probably my least favorite but I really enjoy that scifi atmosphere. I found the last track interesting as the instrumental opening puts us into this trip sequence. The protagonist tries explaining what he sees, but he's so far out of it he can only make out few details. My personal favorite is "Mind", but I found all the first side to be most imaginative. It makes me excited to give a deeper look at their other albums.

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Tue May 18 2021
5

This album is fearless. David Byrne is unafraid to toss in disco influences with rock influences and create something new but coherent. His frantic lyrics and singing add a sense of manic urgency to this album. This music is off-kilter, yet still finds a groove.

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Sun Aug 22 2021
5

Excelente disco. Sin duda para escuchar antes de morir

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Sat Sep 04 2021
5

This and they are genius! So ahead of the curve it’s unreal!

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Sun Oct 03 2021
5

10/10 why didn’t I start listening to these guys sooner?! this album is FUCKING AWESOME! definitely gonna check out this bands other stuff.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
5

David Byrne. Genius.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
5

Oh this is one of the best albums in the list. The music. The lyrics. All great from start to finish. Too bad one cannot give 10 star!

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Things what I did done learn from the 1,001 Albums: Part 4 - Talking Heads are really bloody good. No idea why I paid them so little attention before. If they were a football team, they would be Brentford (a breath of fresh air) as opposed to Burnley (Aimee Mann - a bit dull), Norwich (The Incredible String Band - really, really shit) or Man United (any jazz - loads of fellas doing loads of different playing with absolutely no cohesion).

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

It's Talking Heads. It's one of 3 consecutive masterpieces. (Though, here's a fun little tidbit about me, it's my least favorite of the 3 consecutive masterpieces!)

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

Loved every minute of this.

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

I had always heard of the Talking Heads as being the “type” of band I would like, but never really listened to them. This album is really cool, and definitely seems like it was ahead of its time. Would have fit right in in the 90s. Some really good tracks on here.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

rad

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

Album to become unhinged to

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

-"Cities" has some great back bass and groove, but I do prefer the more intense live version on 'Stop Making Sense" -"Life During Wartime" is an awesome song -The end bit of "Animals" is really cool, with the layers and layers of David Byrne singing -Memories Can't Wait is pretty cool like psychedelic stuff kinda -Just generally solid, even if the live versions are way better

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

2nd best Talking Heads album. Damn near perfect. 9-10/10 1. Life During Wartime 2. I Zimbra 3. Memories Can't Wait

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

Talking Heads liebe ich, schöne Melodien, gute Texte

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

great album so much energy, i guess cocaine

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Sun Jan 23 2022
5

You know what I love about Talking Heads? They completely existed in their own musical headspace. This is a band that basically invented their sound as they went along, frequently wandering into uncharted territory. They could draw on what was hip at the moment musically if they felt like it, but bend it into their own weird concoctions. Their music was off the wall, lyrically complex and sometimes pretty challenging. This is wickedly smart music that is also incredibly engaging and fun to listen to. There really is no other band like the Talking Heads and I live on this music. Fear of Music has everything you want or need in a Talking Heads album, full of funky grooves, offset with a little punk-tinged terseness and grit. The band is in top form with jagged, urgent guitars, frenetic drumming and some seriously funky bass. Byrne's singular vocal style lilts from whimsical to menacing and even melancholy in a sometimes surprising but always entertaining fashion. Not every song on this album is an easy listen, but the band is able to strike a balance between being adventurous and being fun, which is really hard to do. They get even better at it on the albums that come after this one. Fave Songs (All songs from most to least favorite): Cities, Life During Wartime, Heaven, I Zimbra, Mind, Memories Can't Wait, Air, Paper, Animals, Electric Guitar, Drugs

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

Great! I didn't know this album from Talking Heads, but I loved it!!

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Mon Feb 07 2022
5

I think it's their best album.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
5

One of my faves- minimal and sparse at times, other times jagged and claustrophobic. Always driving rhythms and progressive. Still listen on the reg. Pulled me out of a really bad headspace at Bighorn 100, mile 72-ish. Highlights: Mind, Air, Cities, I Zimbra

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

loved it. talking heads 77 is better but this turned me on to a whole bunch of songs id never heard.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Talking Heads are an all time great. This album is a masterpiece.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

It's Talking Heads. I am not qualified to judge, these people are legends.

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Sat Mar 26 2022
5

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around. This is just another awesome Talking Heads record. It might be my third or fourth favorite Talking Heads record depending on the day but it's still a great time.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
5

Jagged and edgy and lived in

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Sat Apr 23 2022
5

It's very difficult to give an impartial review on one of my favourite bands. An influential masterpiece, unlike anything else released at the time.

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Mon May 02 2022
5

not the best album but good

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Tue May 10 2022
5

"The better the singer's voice, the harder it is to believe what they're saying" - David Byrne. It doesn't ring entirely true, but goes a long way towards explaining Talking Heads' approach to music: capture a flash of inspiration, cling to the authenticity of it, worry about everything else afterwards. To me, "Fear of Music" (what a title) is when all the components of this brilliant band come together for the first time. David Byrne's unique and neurotic worldview was projecting out to everything around him, the band were starting to explore new ground and styles musically while retaining a sense of spontaneity, and Brian Eno's partnership with them was soaring to new heights. The concept of "Fear of Music" - detachment from any sense of stability, and paranoia concerning just about everything - unravels beautifully across the set of songs. We're treated to what is, in effect, a Talking Heads rulebook containing the following insights: Love is as weak as paper. Heaven is a con. Don't trust animals, they're laughing at you. Don't trust electric guitar, it's breaking the law. Don't trust the air you breathe, it can also hurt you. Bim blassa galassasa zimbrabim! Musically, they're on stellar form: Byrne and Jerry Harrison's jagged and brash rhythm guitar, Tina Weymouth's bubbling, disco-esque basslines, and Chris Frantz bringing rock-steady drum parts. Some occasional stuttering keyboard accompaniments go a long way, as does Eno's cold production. Even including the weakest link "Electric Guitar", every track is either lyrically striking, irresistibly danceable (a frenzied strut, but danceable all the same), or at least ear-grabbingly intriguing. The coda of "Animals" holds a special place in my heart. Robert Fripp's guitar cameo in "I Zimbra" is dizzying wonder. The build-up in "Memories Can't Wait" is triumphant and disturbing at once. "Heaven" sounded a lot better four years later on "Stop Making Sense", but it's still a melodic gem. Every track is completely original and arrestingly immediate. They would move onto more ambitious work immediately afterwards, but "Fear of Music" shows the band absolutely mastering three-minute songcraft.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

Wow! I’ve always meant to listen to the Talking Heads and I’m glad this 1001 album endeavour finally forced me to. This is the first album I’m giving 5/5 because I will definitely listen to it again. When it finished playing, I let it start again. Loved it from start to finish.

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Tue May 17 2022
5

Офигенный альбом. Предтеча Discipline группы King Crimson. То, что доктор прописал. То, что я очень люблю.

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Thu May 19 2022
5

This ain't no party

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Maybe my least favorite Talking Heads album. But then it has some of their all time best songs on it, like Heaven and Life During War Time? Ah well 5 stars I guess for these fuckin' guys.

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Wed May 25 2022
5

Great start.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
5

One of my favorite Takling Heads releases. I definitely think this is the album where they truly came into their own. It's darker and more experimental than their earlier stuff, while retaining the pop sensibilities. Eno's production is fabulous as well.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
5

This has been a favorite of mine since highschool. Pretty experimental like on the first track with the nonsensical language.

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Sat Aug 13 2022
5

cool

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

This album makes my bussy bop. Love it.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

Already love Talking Heads, but I've never heard this album. It's really nice, and my favorite track was Heaven

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

Banger opener

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

У нас уже был на прослушивание самый первый альбом TH, и он мне не понравился Не могу сказать то же самое об FOM — он огненный!

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

In their top 3 for sure but not my favorite Talking Heads album. That said, 5 stars!

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

One of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands. All of the quirkiness and clever lyrics.

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

Fantastic album and their best IMO.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

Art Rock meets African rhythms? What's not to like?

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

A really good album..

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

Like it for being mentally active😅

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

What I love about Talking Heads is that it's a band that can reconcile the weird, literate, often pretentious, but clever music with fun, radio-friendly, catchy music, all without ever losing their identity. This album achieves that, somewhere between enjoyable and funny (Animals is hilarious), and unsettling and nervous. The title is really fitting, as it's just about fear. Fear of achieving perfection, to urban life, to the air we breathe. 21/10/22

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Fri Nov 11 2022
5

Yes! Never heard this before but quite brilliant. I knew Cities though, best song from a great record.

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

i really really like this i loved Cities and added it as the first song in Songs About Cities just a good vibe and cool sounds. i want to listen to this stoned

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

David Byrne for life!

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Thu Nov 17 2022
5

Loved it. I liked the talking heads already but this album was new to me. Def don't make them like they used to

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

A masterpiece, just fantastic

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Yay Talking Heads! A lot of love for this band but have listened to big hits and watched random live performances rather than listening to full albums like this. It's a really strong and classically unusual/exciting/unique opening track, It's really nice to have that African-disco inspired opener. Love that the album is quite punchy at 40 mins and the variety with it chopping and changing between tracks a lot. It holds my interest well. I love the description I will pinch from Wikipedia of "gritty weirdness". As always I really love the influence/appearance of Brian Eno in the production of the album. I LOVE where they found inspiration and the fact that their songs are written about unusual objects or based on non-sensical poetry rather than the usual themes of love drugs etc etc and it makes it very interesting to read up on the inspiration behind the songs and lyrics. Really enjoying the disco vibes throughout, super fun and dancey. Some really clever moments like the breathy vocals which sound like the word "air" at the beginning of Air.

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Wed Nov 30 2022
5

My all-time favorite Talking Heads album.

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Sat Dec 17 2022
5

hell yeah

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Tue Dec 20 2022
5

Huge fan since 77. They always surprised with every album, this one especially.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
5

Man, how have I slept on Talking Heads for so long??? What is wrong with me? '77,' their debut album, was good, but I'm glad it's the first one I listened to, because everything I've listened to since, including the fabled live album 'Stop Making Sense,' has been fantastic, and this album is no exception. Weirdness accentuated by David Byrne's unusual voice, the album strikes a great balance between the weird and the catchy. 'Heaven,' 'I Zimbra,' and 'Life During Wartime' were standout songs for me, but the entire album rocks from start to finish.

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Sat Dec 24 2022
5

i cheered, i shouted, i fist-bumped the air beautiful

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

Arguably their best album.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

Yeah, liked this more than "More Songs About Buildings And Food" - there seemed to be more oddness? Like, most songs had moments or features that made me go "Ooh, that was weird, I dig it!" Fave track - "Heaven" and "Drugs" I reckon!

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

So unbelievably creative and fresh. And so unbelievably influential. I love it

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Fri Oct 09 2020
4

Not really my thing but I can see what people like about it

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Fri Jan 08 2021
4

Will start this on 8th Jan, listened to Nowhere by Ride on 7th Jan

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Tue Mar 02 2021
4

What I expect from Talking Heads pretty much. Solid.

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Sun Jan 17 2021
4

Enjoyed :)

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