Talking Heads
Fear of Music


3.5
great

Review

by Chris Jackson USER (177 Reviews)
October 1st, 2006 | 78 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist


Fear of Music is the Talking Heads strange transition album. It’s a quirky mixture of their early jittery pop style and their odd experimentation that is later found on Remain in Light. Like most bands that change their sound throughout their career Fear of Music presents a lot of interesting and unique ideas yet they don’t all come together. This is the second Talking Heads album where Brian Eno takes over the production and you can immediately hear the difference once the first song starts playing. The Talking Heads haven’t completely ventured away from their pop roots yet it’s obvious that the band is starting to experiment with their sound.

Fear of Music is a bit inconsistent at times but is possibly the Talking Heads most varied album. David Byrnes vocal style is the same as it has always been, he wails, shouts, and calmly whispers into the microphone with a great amount of energy. He sounds kind of paranoid and his voice is rather high pitched giving the music a very poppy and quirky feel. Byrnes vocals are particularly effective on tracks like Animals where he sounds pissed off and aggravated to songs like Life During Wartime as he calmly sings over the jazzy trumpet riffs. The most interesting aspect about Davids voice is how he can go from a high pitched wail to a compassionate growl; his voice adds an entertaining and unique aspect to the band.

There are so many different influences found on Fear of Music it’s almost hard to keep track of them. Songs such as Cities and Animals show how the band still have their ability to rock out as Byrnes guitar riffs and Tina Weymouths simple yet effective basslines create some catchy and upbeat pop tunes. If it weren’t for Jerry Harrisons subtle keyboard bleeps that manage to find their way into a majority of the songs most of the music would resemble the Talking Heads earlier works. Memories Can’t Wait is another riff based rocker as the music echoes throughout creating a psychadelic atmosphere; Brian Eno definitely contributes on some of the more zany and creative tunes.

Fear of Music would be a pretty basic rock album if it weren’t for some of the strange experiments that found their way onto the record. I Zimbra mixes tribal beats, a funky guitar riff, looped keyboard effects and jibberish lyrics to construct a tune that sounds like an African disco song. Air is a song that hints heavily towards electronica as its spooky keyboard notes invent an atmospheric and haunting vibe. The songs eerie chorus makes it sound like a tune that would belong on an old horror film. Electric Guitar is possibly one of the oddest tracks off the album as it’s muted trumpet notes play softly over a bouncy guitar line. It doesn’t have much direction and Byrne trance inducing line ”Never Listen to the Electric Guitar” will nearly put you in a trance. Even the albums closer, Drugs is a trip as it’s slow and sluggish beat plays on while Eno’s mystical production takes over.

After listening to both Fear of Music and Remain in Light I’d say that they are both equally as inventive yet the latter shows more stable ideas. This album is a bit more inconsistent as songs can quickly shift from relaxed, guitar driven tunes to a mess of electronic effects and noise. While this isn’t exactly a bad thing it definitely shows that Fear of Music is not the Talking Heads most accessible record. There are some pretty basic songs on here like the boppy jazz influenced Life During Wartime or the basic rock tune, Mind yet there is still a lot of spontaneity. All in all Fear of Music is a very diverse record featuring many unique ideas that will reach out to many fans of rock, funk, or pop music.



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user ratings (453)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
handsomerob2
October 1st 2006


58 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love Fear Of Music, a brilliant record. Funny you should say its not the most acceptable Talking Heads record, it was only my second and i loved it. I enjoyed the inconsistance because even though it was quirky, it made the album really unique. Great review by the way.

Favourite track would have to be "Drugs".This Message Edited On 10.01.06

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2006


15740 Comments


A review that needed to be done by you, Zeb. Great job, I'm deciding between this and '77 to get for my next TH album.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

AnyColour74
October 1st 2006


1054 Comments


yeah zebra, good review. even though i dont have this talking heads cd, ive got a lot of the songs on here from live cds.

The Jungler
October 1st 2006


4827 Comments


Nice job Zebra. Talking Heads are cool, I've always wanted something more by them so I might get this.

KingGhidorah
July 22nd 2007


64 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, although this is my favorite TH album. I think they perfectly balanced pop and the "newer" sound on this.

ArtHerring
September 27th 2008


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This has to be my favorite Talking Heads album. Eno's production is actually top-notch, you might say the style is inconsistent but there's never really a truly mediocre song. Favorite song of the album is probably "Memories Can't Wait."

DhA
April 20th 2009


421 Comments


.....

robin
Emeritus
October 15th 2009


4249 Comments


i love this. i guess i should get remain in light

Brylawski
May 11th 2010


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, Talking Heads don't get much love here. Great album

Brylawski
May 11th 2010


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

reminds me to give this a listen later. Memories Can't Wait and Heaven rule

Brylawski
May 11th 2010


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ugh. Fixed it. Maybe you should review one of their albums and spread the gospel of Byrne

MUNGOLOID
July 31st 2010


4323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

holy crap, this was much better than i thought it was going to be.

tarkus
April 13th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nothing ever happens

tarkus
April 13th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

drugs is/are amazing

wabbit
April 13th 2012


7004 Comments


great album, might jam it on vinyl

slint87
August 18th 2012


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

AWESOME!!!

Chrisjon89
August 26th 2012


3671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is totally awesome.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2012


50458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm so afraid

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YankeeDudel
October 21st 2012


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yup

Digging: Coroner - Mental Vortex

Chortles
October 21st 2012


17969 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this rules

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