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Speaking in Tongues

Talking Heads 6/1/1983


{$Talking Heads} found a way to open up the dense textures of the music they had developed with {$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 {$John Lee Hooker}-style {\blues}, on {&"Swamp."} As usual, {$David Byrne} determinedly sang and chanted impressionistic, nonlinear lyrics, sometimes by mix-and-matching clichés ("No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin' yet," he declared on {&"Burning Down the House,"} {$the Heads}' first Top Ten hit), and the songs' very lack of clear meaning was itself a lyrical subject. "Still don't make no sense," {$Byrne} admitted in {&"Making Flippy Floppy,"} but by the next song, {&"Girlfriend Is Better,"} that had become an order -- "Stop making sense," he chanted over and over. 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. The album closer, {&"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),"} even sounded hopeful. Well, sort of. Despite their formal power, {$Talking Heads}' preceding two albums seemed to have painted them into a corner, which may be why it took them three years to craft a follow-up, but on {^Speaking in Tongues}, they found an open window and flew out of it. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Burning Down the House Talking Heads 3:59
  3. 2 Making Flippy Floppy Talking Heads 5:53
  4. 3 Girlfriend Is Better Talking Heads 5:43
  5. 4 Slippery People Talking Heads 5:4
  6. 5 I Get Wild/Wild Gravity Talking Heads 5:15
  7. 6 Swamp Talking Heads 5:11
  8. 7 Moon Rocks Talking Heads 5:42
  9. 8 Pull up the Roots Talking Heads 5:6
  10. 9 This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) Talking Heads 4:52

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