Fear of Music
Album #3 is where Talking Heads as we know them crossed the threshold into something more than just a really good artsy punk band. The band’s brisk, nervy permutations of disco, funk, and Afrobeat are shot through with lyrics and vocals by David Byrne at his most compellingly anxious, making club music for people who can’t escape their own internal monologues.
Fear of Music was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and probably also the beginning of the end for a band that was doomed to implode from the beginning. The end didn’t come for a few more years, but on this album singer/guitarist/lyricist David Byrne and producer Brian Eno formed a subgroup that drove a wedge between Byrne and the rest of the band. But the music was unprecedented — weird and wonderful. “Life During Wartime” was basically a rock’n’roll tone poem; “I Zimbra” prefigured the Afro-European experiments of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; “Cities” is a song about, well, cities, with one of the oddest guitar solos ever recorded. Talking Heads’ subsequent album, Remain in Light, was an absolutely logical next step.