Talking Heads Stop Making Sense (Sire/Warner Bros.)

National Records

Record Reviews

Talking Heads

Stop Making Sense (Sire/Warner Bros.)

If bands like Blondie and the Ramones represented the carefree teenage spirit of punk at the tail end of the Seventies, then Talking Heads and Patti Smith were its elder siblings -- art school academics, cynical romantics, intellectual terrorists, punk visionaries. Talking Heads designed new angles in the expression of lyrics and reached the apex of their career on Stop Making Sense. Not only did the Heads have a string of excellent albums in Talking Heads '77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, Remain in Light, and Speaking in Tongues leading up to Stop Making Sense, in the early Eighties they were the best working band in America. Jonathan Demme managed to capture their peculiar and brilliant whimsy in the concert film version of Stop Making Sense, but it wasn't until this "Special New Edition" of the soundtrack that the musical scope of the performance matched the visual intensity. Seven songs from the film have been added to the original nine, nearly doubling the listening experience. "Found a Job," "Naïve Melody (This Must Be the Place)," "Crosseyed and Painless," and the Tom-Tom Club's "Genius of Love" are as inspired as "Psycho Killer," "Slippery People," "Life During Wartime," and the explosive "Girlfriend Is Better." Talking Heads put out some great music after Sense, though it never again had the exuberance that built up to this effort. When they broke up by default, it was a chickenshit slap to the fans' faces -- however successful, these sums were never as great as the whole of its parts. But when Talking Heads rocked, as they do here, they did so with a fierceness and vision that won't be matched anytime soon.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle