So why is Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
In thinking about the Talking Heads, I started pondering what “post punk” means. I then started considering what “post punk” means relative to the notion of “new wave,” and this blurb from Quora proved to be pretty helpful:
Put simply, “Post punk” is punk recombined with other music genres (Disco, reggae, electronica, folk, etc.). “New Wave” is a sub-genre of post punk which tends to feature synthesizers & combines punk with elements of electronic dance or disco.
While I’m a huge punk rock fan in general, I struggle sometimes with bands labeled as “post punk.” I think the reason is that “post punk bands” tend to dabble in art rock or art punk, headier and more experimental sounds that I personally just find a little less accessible.
Marquee Moon, by Television (a post-punk NYC band, like the Talking Heads), is a great example. After spending a lot of time with it, it eventually landed at #856 of the best 1,000 albums ever.
I’m not a massive Talking Heads fan, and More Songs About Buildings and Food is the only Talking Heads album you’ll find on the best 1k albums ever project. But, as with Marquee Moon, I spent a lot of time with it until something clicked and it gelled in such a way that I zoomed it up the list into near Top 400 range (and I have it just a bit below Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking, at #364).
The propulsive, catchy hook on “The Girl Wants to Be with the Girls” was a gateway into the album for me. The strange staccato rhythms, David Byrne’s oddball delivery, and the overall unusual vibe of the Talking Heads coalesced into a greater, wonderful whole.
That opened up the door for me to vibe with some more experimental territory, such as “Artists Only,” which has bass and keyboards that wouldn’t feel totally out of place on a wilder Herbie Hancock adventure.
The rousing, stomping “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel” is a perfect opener to More Songs About Buildings and Food.
And speaking of post punk combining punk with other genres, mixing in a country music vibe is certainly going far afield. But it works wonderfully on the mid-tempo, “The Big Country.”
And the lyrics are certainly punk rock in nature, sneering at the lives of people who live in “fly over country.”
I wouldn’t live there if you paid me
I wouldn’t live like that, no siree
I wouldn’t do the things the way those people do
I wouldn’t live there if you paid me to
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food
When I was a little kid, as soon as I was able to figure out a way to get my eyes in front of the movie Revenge of the Nerds, I did so. The movie does not… play great from the perspective of modern times, but I enjoyed it greatly back in the day.
I’m pretty sure, too, that it was this film that first introduced me to the Talking Heads by way of “Burning Down the House.”
Talking Heads were not a band I thought about much throughout my childhood or teen years (see: my thoughts on post punk music, above).
I have a very specific memory from what was either my junior or senior prom. “Burning Down the House” popped on, and a bunch of fans (or stans as they say these days) rushed the dance floor (yours truly not among them, of course).
My man Larry, not generally known as a dancing fool if you can dig, was among them, though. And there he was, getting down with the wild David Byrne dance moves and such. And fully pulling it off to boot.
And I recall thinking that my guy contains multitudes.
Some stats & info about Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Post-Punk, New York Bands, New Wave, Album Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #364
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was More Songs About Buildings and Food released? 1978
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #412 out of 1,000
Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Take me to the river, drop me in the water.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.