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

Talking Heads 77

Talking Heads

1977

Talking Heads 77
Album Summary

Talking Heads: 77 is the debut studio album by American rock band Talking Heads. It was recorded in April 1977 at New York's Sundragon Studios and released on September 16 of that year by Sire Records. The single "Psycho Killer" reached number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.55

Votes

11651
Genres
Post Punk
New Wave

Reviews

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Day 14 of Albums You Must Hear Before You Die! Again, I’ve gotten a debut album from a band that defined a generation, and went on to create some of the most iconic music of the 1980’s. Talking Heads released 77 in 1977 and helped to usher in the New Wave genre, the love child of Punk Rock and Pop. While most of the biggest hits for Talking Heads will come from later offerings, 77 is a gem of an album. Lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter David Byrne has one of the most recognizable voices of the New Wave era. Byrne’s vocals aren’t the most powerful but they mesh beautifully with the music. Talking Heads, especially in 1977 didn’t follow any of the trends stylistically of the time. No radical wardrobe, Mohawks, piercings, spiked dog collars or make up. This band wore well fitting polos and slacks in most live performances that I could find from 1977-80. Maybe thats why some referred to the art grads in Talking Heads as “art fags”. My favorite song from Talking Heads is Burning Down The House, which is not on this album, however, my second favorite song is actually on this album, and that song is Psycho Killer. This song really showcases the abilities and potential of Talking Heads. Simple, yet deep and funky bass, prominent kick drum, and nearly primal vocals. It also takes on the prospective of a character in a fictional story, (Not the Son Of Sam serial killer like many suggested) something that Talking Heads becomes known for. I feel like the band not only shined the best on this track but probably had the most fun making and performing. Tentative Decisions has great use of marching percussion. The Book I Read has great rhythm guitar. The band gels well on this one and is a very chill song. The ever changing tempo of No Compassion keeps it interesting. The closing track Pulled Up seems like a song of gratitude and it showcases their signature sound. Talking Heads seemingly came out of nowhere in 1977 but they sure stuck around for a while and I’m glad they did! I was very impressed with the bass player Tina Weymouth, who joined the band before even knowing how to play bass guitar. This band didn’t try to blow anyones socks off or create a fake persona. They were themselves and it paid off. When music videos became a thing, these “art fags” were really able to shine with some of the most creative visuals in music. The only negative thing I have to say about this album is there a few filler songs that I wanted to skip over. Maybe that will change on future listens but upon my first spin of 77 I knew which songs I liked and which ones that I didn’t because, they felt lazy. I’m looking forward to more music from this band. Share your thoughts, opinions and memories below!!

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Mon Mar 29 2021
2

I expected more from this album. The big single from it ("Psycho Killer") is a crusher but, sadly, the rest of the album doesn't live up to that track. It feels ... lazy. And not in the good, "gonna sit on the couch with a bourbon and a good book" kind of lazy. The whole album feels phoned in. Boring. It's only saved from a truly failing mark by "Psycho Killer" being so damn good. It's like they poured all their energy into that one song and had nothing left for the rest of the album. Disappointing.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

Oh my God. Oh my God. Thought the only weakness in this album was the incessant AYAYAYAYAYA which is used quite a bit but it's sort of like a joke that is used too much that it becomes funny again. AYAYAYAYAYA goes in and out of fashion in this album and then back in again. It kept me on my toes and I love this so much. EVERY. FUCKING. TRACK. So much softer, subtle and ever changing than I expected. So much more interesting than anything I've heard before from them. Major heart eyes and aubergine emoji. A new favourite indeed.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

The first time I heard the Talking Heads was their smash hit Psycho Killer, which I didn't much like. It struck me at the time as a novelty tune, goofiness for it's own sake, and I wasn't amused. But unlike many other groups, Talking Heads is best understood in the context of their albums rather than their singles, and so it is with Talking Heads '77. It turns out that front man David Byrne's dyspeptic yelp is of a piece with his elliptical musings about emotional states and offbeat philosophizing. Although Talking Heads is lumped in with punk and new wave, it doesn't have a lot in common with either. For one thing, the songs are a lot more complex musically than most punk and new wave. For another the rhythm section of Tina Weymouth on bass Chris Frantz on drums is frequently funky, drawing from pop, R&B, and Latin music. Taken together, these elements result in music which is as brainy as it is fun. And finally, Psycho Killer reveals itself as simply the most outré and extreme of the songs on Talking Heads '77, and frankly, the least interesting of the bunch. Taken together, Talking Heads '77 is a consistently terrific album and as clear a statement of purpose as you could want from a band's first album.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

How do you categorize Talking Heads? Funk? New wave? Avant-pop? There is something unsettling about this album. David isn’t completely happy. Perhaps even angry. But he’s having fun anyway.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Talking Heads is one of my all time favorites, but 77 has never been my favorite of theirs. Going into this, I was prepared to give it a 4, due to its low ranking among my own Talking Heads cannon. But listening to this with critical ears, it is really a great album. There are some all time favorites in here, like Book That I Read, Psycho Killer, and Sugar On My Tongue. Byrne's style isn't fully developed yet, but the band is already firing on all cylinders. Talking Heads is already an excellent band by '77.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Beautiful, high energy without ever getting manic. Big sax in First Week/Last Week is so good. The mix on the acoustic version is sick too, his voice sounds unreal.

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Sun Apr 11 2021
5

With melodic, bright tunes and the usual anxiety ridden lyrics, TH sounded quite different from their “punk” contemporaries, the Ramones & Clash, for example. I always felt Psycho-killer sounded out of place, musically and lyrically, on this album, or any TH album, for that matter, but you can’t begrudge them for recording a hit & signature tune. I had decided in advance that I’d give the first 4 TH albums a 5, but after re-listening to 77, I waivered. Then I listened again this morning and decided that with songs like “New Feeling” and “Don’t worry about the government” and especially “No Compassion” I’m back to 5.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
4

Great album. Love the steel drums. Psycho Killer and Pulled up are my favorites off the album. Probably a 4.4 to give room for Talking Heads later albums

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Thu Aug 19 2021
4

Man. Where do I start. The Talking Heads opened me up to a whole world of music that I would have considered too jokey or gimmicky until I took the plunge. They really were an entry point for me to 80s new wave and post-punk music. I came to this record after I had gotten into the live performance "Stop Making Sense" and the studio albums "Speaking in Tongues" and "Remain in Light." There is a live double album called "The Name of this Band is Talking Heads" and that's where I first heard the song "The Book I Read" which is a standout on this record and even better live (like most Talking Heads songs). And, that's one of the many things that makes Talking Heads unique: They're an incredible studio band (thanks Brian Eno!) but are also transcendent live performers. When I listen to this record now, as a Talking Heads fan, it feels very quaint. Like they were all just learning their instruments. It isn't quite "there" yet, and I guess that's charming. But I'd rather listen to most of their other records (which better be on this list, dammit!). Highlights: "Psycho Killer" of course; "The Book I Read" and the opener "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town." And, David Byrne was a charismatic frontman even from this first record - love his lyrics and delivery on every song. What an arteeeeest.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

Short, strained, weird, are just a few of the words to describe vocals on this album. Lyrically, there is not a discernible theme unless that theme was to have no theme, to stay as out of a rut as much as possible... a glaring success. Fun, immediately gratifying, welcomely disruptive, are just a few ways to describe how this album is overall. No commitment required to actually listen to it, but interesting enough to hear it all the way through rather than skipping. Punk, pop punk, this punk, especially from the early days, is not a flavor for everyone. However, like most genres, the acquired taste happens over time and for this listener, that time is now for punk in general. Talking Heads embraces the silliness, encourages a certain type of freedom, and asks the listener to not worry about committing to this album any expectation of profundity. Musically, the album doesn't have the disarray or chaotic elements usually associated with anti-establishment expectations. The compositions are well-timed, clean, and downright professional at times while still maintaining that blatant disavowal of what could only be described as mainstream. Vocals, while weird and, again, seemingly about nothing, astonishingly fit. This listener cannot speak to how this album resonated with anyone in 1977, but for 2021 this album is definitely for the older soul, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's good --- perhaps relieving to engage with something that is serious about not being serious, letting their vision be left to the listener's own sense of comprehension, or not. No pressure.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
1

This is technically music. I tolerate small doses of Talking Heads, but that's about it. David Byrne sings like he's injured. It's weird that they are an American band, I always assumed they were British because they sound so posh. The instrumentals are decent, but I was bored almost immediately. If only you could've seen my face when I heard the weird shriek on "The Book I Read," and when I heard David Byrne imitating Beans on "First Week." I hate to say it, but this is below the Butthole Surfers album to me. Favorite tracks: Uh-Oh, Loves Comes to Town. Album art: Whole lotta red. Two albums this week with mostly empty, red covers. Might be a subliminal message to listen to Playboi Carti. Anyway, this one is stupid compared to the Gang of Four album, I don't care if it came first. 1.5/5

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Mon Mar 01 2021
1

I listened to this while shopping and I gotta admit I felt like it was a 2 track album. 2 longs songs that did not seem different from each other nor keep my attention. Nothing to write up on this album.

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Thu Mar 30 2023
1

i heard good things about talking heads so i went into this with high hopes this album sounds like you gave a bunch of tribute bands the challenge to make a completely new song using Psycho Killer as their inspiration holy shit this album sounds the exact same throughout and it sucks major balls

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Tue Mar 23 2021
5

The style, substance and musicality of this record... brilliant!

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Thu Nov 05 2020
5

Sounds as fresh as the hype promised. I'm not exactly speechless, but my enjoyment is almost entirely non-verbal. Christgau's impressions seem pretty close to truth here.

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Fri Mar 19 2021
5

Otro disco de los 70’s que no se siente de los 70’s, sino más bien como de los late 90’s. No sé por qué no había escuchado de este grupo o escuchado las canciones, ya que son bastante buenas. Agregué tres a mi lista: • Psycho Killer • Love Comes to Town • Don’t worry about the government El “feeling” del álbum me recuerda al que tienen las canciones del “Awesome Mix” de Guardianes de la Galaxia.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Cool album lots of interesting sounding songs

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Already one of my favorite albums. Great start!

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Yet another wicked album- classic psycho killer track but upbeat vibes on the whole album. Love it

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Decisions, decisions, decisions... a big theme throughout. This album feels like it needs a few more listens to really pick up every detail. David Byrne has a unique voice. Tina Weymouth crushing it on the bass.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Imprescindible para entender la música post punk y el arribo de la música pop moderna

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Wed Apr 07 2021
5

Guay. Sus canciones parecidas a Bowie. Suenan muy parecidas a Phsyco Killer.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

A classic and stands the test of time, maybe even improved with age

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Wed Feb 17 2021
5

Q. What does Shack eat for supper? A. Lamb Chops!

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Wed Feb 17 2021
5

In my youth I once snuck into the Sydney Opera House to watch David Byrne sound checking. He didn't play any of these songs so this anecdote probably doesn't have much relevance here. Great album though.

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Sat Mar 27 2021
5

My favorite talking heads album

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

a classic and awesoeme debut

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa better.

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Sun May 09 2021
5

A great first album. Weird but catchy and lively songs. Not too heavy. And there's a reason why Psycho Killer is a hit. Got me to listen to other Talking Heads albums.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

really amazing album, great cohesion and songwriting. their music only gets better after this point

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Tue Aug 24 2021
5

"Psycho Killer Qu'est-ce que c'est Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away oh, oh, oh" Heads, Talking

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Tue Aug 31 2021
5

Goed album. Niet verwacht dat ik alle nummers zo tof zou vinden.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Decided I’m a guy who really likes Talking Heads now, saved to my albums

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

Had forgotten how good this album was

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

What a cool band the Talking Heads were. Their albums have this consistent sound that is definitively Talking Heads, but they are all different, and all great in their own ways. This album doesn't sound dated at all, despite being nearly 45 years old 5/5

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

Classic album. I need some Talking Heads vinyl stat. I love the guitar work in particular.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

Psycho Killer made me rethink the kind of music that I considered "my music"

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

Finally! I was going to sue this whole generator if a Talking Heads album didn't come up on here. They are one of the best bands in the history of music. It's a delight to hear the whole album where they debuted. David Byrne is a global treasure. The whole band deserves all the accolades, but Byrne owns the vision.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

I went into this one loving the album, but I listened to it for really the first time through a critic's lens and I am torn between 4 and 5 stars. I think it is definitely my favorite one so far, but I don't know if it is the complete top top of my ranking system. I think it is a 4/5 among my favorite albums and the albums I listen to, but it is probably a 5/5 with random albums, so I think I have to give it the full 5 stars. From the get-go, the driving funk bass with random piano and guitar riffs is really cool, and the tempo changes driven by the drums throughout are so well done. David Byrne also has one of my favorite voices ever because he makes screaming sound good. The back half with a lineup of The Book I Read, Government, First Week, fucking psycho killer, AND pulled up is truly an incredible stretch, and the album takes me back to dancing with my family in the living room, rediscovering it in high school, and my brother screaming Talking Heads lyrics at me throughout #TinaWeymouthStanClub

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Sun Dec 05 2021
5

Though they are still not at the height of their powers here, this early, more stripped down version of the band may be my favorite incarnation in many ways. I think it's because you can focus so clearly on the songwriting itself, rather than it being somewhat buried in the dazzle of the production and arrangements as would start to happen on later albums. Love it all.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

i don't have time to write this but it was fun lol

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

As a debut album it is wildly successful at telling us exactly who Talking Heads are and what they’re all about. David Byrne is the chosen one of the new wave art punk revolution. I love the quirky POV of this album, and the playfulness in the lyrics. I’m just such a sucker for weirdo misfits that put humour into their work. Stellar record, just love the shit out of this band for daring to be so authentically different and carving their own path.

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Mon Jan 03 2022
5

4/5. Heard it before but a few great tracks on this debut. Kayleigh and Andy did karaoke to Psycho Killer.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

Talking Heads is another band I've listened to plenty but haven't listened closely. Great album. The band had their "sound" down from day one. All the tracks are fantastic. Favorites - Psycho Killer (of course), Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town, No Compassion ("they say compassion is a virtue, but I don't have the time"), Pulled Up. Just so good. Easy 5.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

A very important album released when punk and New Wave were on it's verge, contrasted by the threat of disco taking over the airwaves. The Talking Heads, lead by David Byrne emerged from the New York city punk scene playing the dingy clubs such as, CBGB's and Max's that formed a music community of talented and previously unheard artists. The beauty of the first Talking Heads album is it's simplicity, the sound and songs were straight forward, they were unique though, especially Byrne's jittery vocal style and angular guitar sound and Byrne's guitar playing is highly underrated! Though the Heads gained more commercial success as the band's sound expanded into other genre's, Talking Heads 77 will always be considered a landmark record!

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

One of the greatest Talking Heads albums, which means it's one of the greatest albums of all time. It has "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town", "Don't Worry About the Government" and "Psycho Killer" a's highlights, but all 11 tracks are new wave classics.

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

Do they make bad songs? Weird, poppy, angular (again), bouncy.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
5

Great great sound. David Byrne is a amazing.

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Sat Feb 26 2022
5

While listening to this I thought to myself "this is about as good as I remember it. But they did top this album later. This is probably worth a 4" by the end of the album I was in such a good mood that I think it deserves the full 5. Even if it doesn't "deserve it" its getting it from me anyway and no one can stop me.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
5

Brilliant album. It's creative, engaging and enjoyable. David Byrne is a brilliant musician with brilliant vocals. This is one of the best albums so far!

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Sun Mar 13 2022
5

5 star +++ Absolute whopper debut album. Cover art 5/5 iconic

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Sun Apr 03 2022
5

Great voice, tunes and all round fab album!

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

Wow, it's like a chiller version of Stop Making Sense

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Wed Apr 06 2022
5

Referring to this as not the best Talking Heads release is unfair. There may be no band that maintained as high a standard of excellence for a long career. I can hear on this record the early CBGB influences as well as the idiosyncratic elements that led to the great run of releases in the 80s. There is an edginess that belies the catchy melodies. From day one, the musical interaction between Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth is special (no surprise). My favorite Talking Heads release may differ from day to day, but the band is always in my top five.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

Their third best album Insane basslines throughout

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Fri May 06 2022
5

The older I get, the more I love the Talking Heads. Everything Talking Heads.

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Mon May 09 2022
5

god damn I’ve always loved the Talking Heads but I had no idea they started out so strong - 10/10 favorite songs are Uh-Oh Love Comes to Town, The Book I Read, First Week / Last Week…. Carefree, and obviously Psycho Killer really incredible album all the way through

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Wed May 11 2022
5

Really enjoyed this album! It was so good.

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Talking Heads’ debut album is an up tempo, new wave classic and despite the band being but newly formed there is already a remarkable synergy between the band members captured here which points the way forward to even more remarkable material to follow. The vibe is terrific and Psycho Killer loses none of its impact despite its ubiquity, that driving insistent bass and stabbing guitar riff and Byrne’s odd French and classic soul lyrics render an unique experience.

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Mon Jun 13 2022
5

"Psycho Killer, qu'est-ce que c'est ? Pa pa pa paaa pa pa pa paaaa pa pa !" No band ever sounded like the Talking Heads. Originally I was not a *huge* fan--I only knew them through the compilation "Popular Favorites", and also their 1980 masterpiece, "Remain In Light". But since those days, I understood two things: a) Minus stuff on the level of " Once In A Lifetime" or "Psycho Killer", I finally understood that their so-called "popular favorites" are *mostly* NOT among my favorite tracks of theirs. Case in point here, the two first songs of this record, which I absolutely love (and yet were absent from this compilation I mentioned earlier...) b) No compilation, even one as comprehensive as it can reasonably be, can do justice to what the Heads do so brilliantly in their individual records (especially the first four of them). Some tracks take on a different meaning overall during the flow of these individual albums. ALL the songs are adventurous affairs with bold arrangements. And David Byrne can be an impressive storyteller sometimes... Consequently, I now get how this first record of theirs must have been a shock for rock (and punk) fans. This one here is interesting because it predates Brian Eno's involvement with the band. The overall sound is more direct, rawer, which brings a charm that's different from their later output. There's still that influence from protopunk bands such as The Modern Lovers (logical since the two bands had the same second guitarist). To put this in a nutshell, this record is worthy of its legendary status, Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 889 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 59 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 29 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 24

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Fri Jul 08 2022
5

Very inventive and almost camp vocals from David Byrne’s iconic voice mixed with funky r&b, pop and even disco influence. Love child of almost all popular genre’s at the time. I feel as though they didnt take themselves too seriously and it shows on this album. Funky concepts, nonsensical lyrics, and a primal voice makes this album feel fun and inviting. Something to listen to when upset to lift your spirits. Favorite Songs: New Feeling, The Book I Read, Psycho Killer Album Art: its alright, just a plain red background with a contrasting colored title. Simple but gets the job done.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

мне очень нравились говорящие головы после фильма женщины двадцатого века (который я очень любила, да и сейчас бы с удовольствием пересмотрела, наверное). один из главных героев слушал их, и пара песен входила в саундтрек (их собственно я и слушала). ну и, конечно, один из любимых моментов в истории кино - саша горч в "лете" поет сайко киллер... а еще элио из кол ми бай ё нэйм ходил в футболке с обложкой одного из альбомов!.. короче, давно уже я должна была слушать на постоянке говорящие головы, но вот только сейчас норм альбом послушала (спасибо альбомный генератор).. короче: альбом суперский, хочу его в саундтрек моей жизни (да-да, ничего нормального про саму музыку я писать не буду, тока эмоции, тока постпанк)

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

Amazing, not the first time listening to it, but definitely a timeless classic

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

Brilliant debut. They went on to make better albums but what a first effort. Nobody does rhythms like David Byrne.

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Sat Sep 17 2022
5

Another classic album from the best band tbat features in the 1001 album list.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

An excellent album with some great songs. And Psycho Killer is phenomenal, I may have given this album 5 just for that one songX luckily, the rest of the album is super strong. David Byrne is the type of artist that people like Bjork wished they were.

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Sat Oct 29 2022
5

In the tracklist of this debut record there are only masterpieces. More than impressive band and music!

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

Now on our third Talking Heads album for this project. Other than Psycho Killer, I don’t recall having heard anything on this album before. On the first listen I was less enthusiastic about this, but then on my second and third listens fell in love with this expectedly weird and quirky ride. So much so that I went back and listened to the Deluxe version with 5 extra songs. Those are great additions to a great album! Psycho Killer acoustic is amazing with that cello!

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Tue Nov 01 2022
5

It starts with Tina's bass. It's direct, primitive, a heartbeat. There's an irresistible brew of jagged, danceable tunes with David's voice over the top. He should be irritating but he's not. This is possibly their weakest album yet it's an easy 5. This album came out when I was 17 but I didn't discover it until I was 57.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Molto bello, mi piacciono tutti i brani.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

Loved the album. I’m a big talking heads fan and this was right up my alley

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Mon Dec 19 2022
5

Amazing that this was in 1977...it paved the way for a lot of what 80's "New Wave" became. Groundbreaking album.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

I love the Talking Heads so much.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

Great sound, Talking Heads always has such an interesting energy and this album is no different. Highly recommend.

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Tue Jan 31 2023
5

Such a different sound especially at the time.

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