Wednesday, September 12, 2012

95 Songs of Summer, #82 - "Burning Down the House" (1983)

Since I used a Lester Bangs quote in the last post where he mentioned the connection between Talking Heads and the Archies, let's fast forward 24 years to the summer of 1983, when - at least at my house -"Speaking in Tongues" was in heavy rotation.  It was the band's first record in almost three years, and their first since the debut without Brian Eno playing a major production role.  And while asking the band to match the utter brilliance of the first four albums (one of the most amazing stretches of consistent excellence in the history of rock music) was asking a lot, they managed to pull it off.  Apparently they weren't getting along all that well, but you would never know it from listening to this album.  And by this point, they were an amazing live band.  I caught them in concert in 1980 when they introduced the "amazing expanding band" concept, but during their 83-84 tour, they turned what was "merely great" into something that was truly historic - and which, thankfully for everyone, was committed to film by Jonathan Demme.  If you haven't seen "Stop Making Sense," you need to rectify that...immediately.

"Speaking in Tongues" is such a consistent album, that it's difficult to yank one song out of context - but since the album opener was the song that one could hear on FM radio that summer, it will do just fine.

Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House," from the summer of 1983.


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