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Talking Heads found a way to open up the dense textures of the music they had developed with Brian Eno on their two previous studio albums for Speaking in Tongues , and were rewarded with their most popular album yet. Ten backup singers and musicians accompanied the original quartet, but somehow the sound was more spacious, and the music admitted aspects of gospel, notably in the call-and-response of "Slippery People," and John Lee Hooker -style blues, on "Swamp. Some of his charming goofiness had returned since the overly serious Remain in Light and Fear of Music , however, and the accompanying music, filled with odd percussive and synthesizer sounds, could be unusually light and bouncy. Well, sort of.
Although this anecdote is, no doubt, a well-rehearsed piece of stage banter, the warmth and humility with which Clark told it demonstrated that her wonderment at sharing a studio and stage with Byrne was not an affectation. Shortly after its release it became their most commercially successful album, and arguably did much of the heavy lifting required for their next studio effort, Little Creatures , to become the best selling of all their albums. We might start with the title, a neat little package of polysemy. More literally, however, it also refers to glossolalia: the spontaneous emergence, during moments of religious ecstasy and epiphany, of incomprehensible word-like sounds. This is an old practice, attested to in the New Testament itself, but one peculiarly associated with and inflected by 19th and 20th-Century American Christian groups: Mormons and Charismatic Pentecostalists. The songs offer a musical clarity and immediacy in parallel with the lyrics. Most of them are strikingly simple, following the formula that the band pushed with Remain In Light : find a groove and stick to it, and elaborate on one theme. Where does the chorus even begin? The first is perhaps just a little too fast and jittery to seriously dance to; the galloping tempo and chittering keyboards threaten to throw any dancefloor into disarray, which seems perfectly apt for a song that features Byrne rhapsodising about the joys of going out of his mind. Here are themes worthy of philosophy - life, death, love, belonging - wrapped into a bittersweet five-minute pop song that floats along in a pleasantly anodyne manner, as if in zero gravity.
Observe as David Byrne finally learns to dance. Non-Western sounds and funky rhythms had infected Talking Heads music prior to this pop breakthrough, but Speaking in Tongues is where the beat truly gels. The band's quirky, nerdy persona somehow blends easily with music borrowed from the African Diaspora on "Stop Making Sense" and "Burning Down the House. If their edgier early albums now sound more challenging and unique in hindsight, Speaking in Tongues at least documents the New York quartet's singular blend of World Beat, art school rock, and the always irresistible dancefloor. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Skip to main content. Arrives: Sep 1 - 3. Amazon US Return Policy applies to this item.