Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Talking Heads, "Animals" (1979)


Fear of Music has its flaws but it's also a great album, the best Talking Heads ever did I think, and it's mostly because of these loopy wackjobs that keep coming out of nowhere. There's a bunch of them on the album—"Electric Guitar," "Mind," "Air," you can tell most of them because the titles tend to be simple nouns—and they're not anything like this or one another either, at least not in the ways they approach being a song. Here the singer has a comically deranged take on the fauna, which goes mostly unnamed by species (except for a "crazy dog"), who he is convinced "are laughing at us / Don't even know what a joke is." I liked David Byrne a lot more back then when I didn't know as much about him. He was still pretty much a mysterious figure, skinny and intense, rumored to be mentally ill (fallout from writing "Psycho Killer" most likely), wearing all black and hanging around with Brian Eno, and he could really pull off a joke like this, not least because it was so unexpected. The singer is in a rage. It's the first thing he tells us. And why? Something about animals eating nuts and berries. "I will ignore animals' advice." And, oh yeah, he thinks they're laughing at us. "They're laughing at us!" he says for emphasis. You can tell it's what really sticks in his craw. The whole thing is so stupefyingly inane, just dumb. That's why you start making like an animal too, baying with laughter at the guy. With also, let us not forget, a very find band throwing down a regular pile driver pattern to drive the thing at throttle. Just like that it's over. On to the next trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment