#MoNM Day 11: The Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food

Part of this #MoNM thing is, I guess, admitting to albums that I should have listened to but somehow never got around to. That could be sidestepped by only listening to brand new discs, but I’m just going to suck it up and admit – despite Remain in Light being one of my all-time favourite albums, I’ve never really listened to pre-Afro-funk Talking Heads. Other than “Psycho Killer,” the whole era is a blank spot.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that was a mistake. More Songs About Buildings and Food doesn’t quite have the relentless energy that David Byrne’s embrace of African polyrhythm would bring to Remain in Light, but it’s still definitely of a piece with that album. The rhythm tracks are all about danceability, with the pop perfectly tempered by Byrne’s excessively fussy delivery, a contrast that lets the band get away with a lot, be it the slide-guitar sweep of “Big Country” or the not-at-all-out-of-place controlled soul of Al Green cover, “Take Me to the River.”

I’m not sure what else to say here, as “great band’s second album was pretty great” doesn’t make for the most interesting read, but that’s what the opinion boils down to here. The flinging open of the band’s sound two albums later is, in my opinion, what makes the Heads still worth talking about, but More Songs About Buildings and Food is in no way a tentative step towards greatness. From the beginning, it really does seem like David Byrne could do no wrong.

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