All Time Top 1100 Albums : Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense) P171

FogBlueInSanFran

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Missed out Antonio last min win v Leeds
Ha ha fair. Was just emailing with my Hammer buddy about that this second! He’s one of those Yank fans — may have mentioned him; was an article on him and his buddy in the last club program for the last Upton Park match. Pleased to see you lot doing well.
 

Onholiday(somemightsay)

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I'll be back with my thoughts on this record later, but let me tell you about my day thus far.

City win.
Utd lose.
Liverpool draw with a defense that looks like a leaky bucket.
My oldest kid -- a piano player -- says, "Hey Dad, have you ever heard of this band called The Stone Roses? I really, really like them. Can I get the sheet music to 'Waterfall'?"

Yes. It's been a pretty good day.
Poetic...........
 

FogBlueInSanFran

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As @BlueHammer85 pointed out, this record still sounds reasonably fresh after nearly 40 years. Violent Femmes, as I mentioned before, was once an utter staple, blasting out of every white kid’s dorm room when I was a freshman in college on any weekend with decent weather. “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record” was a verbal meme before the internet invented photographic memes 25 years or whatever later.

But this record reminds me a lot of Breakfast in America by Supertramp. And you’re saying to yourself, “Errrrrr . . . what?”

By this I mean that song for song, the record is pretty strong, with a couple of great big winners, some fairly right tunes representative of the band . . . and then one absolutely god-awful piece of crap that nearly ruins the record and is instantly skipped over by nearly all halfway-normal listeners In this case, it’s “Confessions”. On BiA, it’s “Casual Conversations”.

Both bands also have a barely tolerable lead vocalist (one of the two of them in Supertramp’s case), sonically and attitudinally. And if you want to stretch the comparison farther, both were hits in the States, both had a unique sound, both didn’t produce anything better, and both effectively disappeared off the face of the earth after their big records were through ear-worming their way into the popular consciousness.

Back to the vocals here: Gordon Gano’s voice is so whiny (I’m using the American spelling, cuz he’s American) it really stretches your tolerance and patience to the breaking point, but it doesn’t quite break mine at least. He’s pretty angry and pretty anxious that girls don’t care for him (and this is no way to win them back). But the whining is part of the point, I think. You can’t really scream busker punk -- the authorities in the subway stations where you play it would shut you down -- but you can whine it effectively. That aside, his guitar is fast and loose, the acoustic bass walks are super groovy, and the snare is snappy throughout. There are enough pace changes and true singalongs that this record never gets boring. To the extent busker punk can have anthems, “Blister In The Sun”, “Add It Up”, and “Gone Daddy Gone” (dig the xylophone) all qualify. I’ve always liked “Kiss Off” and “Promise” a lot too.

The issue with these guys is that they shot their wad, and their wad was definitionally small in the very tight, thin configuration they played in. Thematically, I think they pretty much exhausted all they had in the these ten songs too. But that’s as maybe. This record is a fairly indelible alternative classic, another example of the creativity that exploded in the wake of punk ripping up the playbook in the late 70s and early 80s. 7/10.
 
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Saddleworth2

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I'll be back with my thoughts on this record later, but let me tell you about my day thus far.

City win.
Utd lose.
Liverpool draw with a defense that looks like a leaky bucket.
My oldest kid -- a piano player -- says, "Hey Dad, have you ever heard of this band called The Stone Roses? I really, really like them. Can I get the sheet music to 'Waterfall'?"

Yes. It's been a pretty good day.
Have you ever heard of a band called The Stone Roses? Ah, the innocence of youth.
 

RobMCFC

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An interesting listen for sure. I generally shy away from anything in the "punk" genres (or sub-genres) - all that attitude and very little musicality, but this isn't like my idea of punk at all. There are some bloody annoying aspects - the childish lyrics (and I agree with Foggy's comments about the whiny voice), plus some of the background vocals sound like they're singing on a Wiggles record. But some of the acoustic guitar/bass work is excellent, and I also agree with some of the comments above that for a 1983 recording, the sound is very good. Problem is, aside from a few catchy tunes, there's just nothing I'd ever want to hear again, but it's not a bad album.

6/10
 

BlueHammer85

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An interesting listen for sure. I generally shy away from anything in the "punk" genres (or sub-genres) - all that attitude and very little musicality, but this isn't like my idea of punk at all. There are some bloody annoying aspects - the childish lyrics (and I agree with Foggy's comments about the whiny voice), plus some of the background vocals sound like they're singing on a Wiggles record. But some of the acoustic guitar/bass work is excellent, and I also agree with some of the comments above that for a 1983 recording, the sound is very good. Problem is, aside from a few catchy tunes, there's just nothing I'd ever want to hear again, but it's not a bad album.

6/10

that’s exactly how I feel with this album
 

OB1

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Taking it one game at a time
As @BlueHammer85 pointed out, this record still sounds reasonably fresh after nearly 40 years. Violent Femmes, as I mentioned before, was once an utter staple, blasting out of every white kid’s dorm room when I was a freshman in college on any weekend with decent weather. “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record” was a verbal meme before the internet invented photographic memes 25 years or whatever later.

But this record reminds me a lot of Breakfast in America by Supertramp. And you’re saying to yourself, “Errrrrr . . . what?”

By this I mean that song for song, the record is pretty strong, with a couple of great big winners, some fairly right tunes representative of the band . . . and then one absolutely god-awful piece of crap that nearly ruins the record and is instantly skipped over by nearly all halfway-normal listeners In this case, it’s “Confessions”. On BiA, it’s “Casual Conversations”.

Both bands also have a barely tolerable lead vocalist (one of the two of them in Supertramp’s case), sonically and attitudinally. And if you want to stretch the comparison farther, both were hits in the States, both had a unique sound, both didn’t produce anything better, and both effectively disappeared off the face of the earth after their big records were through ear-worming their way into the popular consciousness.

Back to the vocals here: Gordon Gano’s voice is so whiny (I’m using the American spelling, cuz he’s American) it really stretches your tolerance and patience to the breaking point, but it doesn’t quite break mine at least. He’s pretty angry and pretty anxious that girls don’t care for him (and this is no way to win them back). But the whining is part of the point, I think. You can’t really scream busker punk -- the authorities in the subway stations where you play it would shut you down -- but you can whine it effectively. That aside, his guitar is fast and loose, the acoustic bass walks are super groovy, and the snare is snappy throughout. There are enough pace changes and true singalongs that this record never gets boring. To the extent busker punk can have anthems, “Blister In The Sun”, “Add It Up”, and “Gone Daddy Gone” (dig the xylophone) all qualify. I’ve always liked “Kiss Off” and “Promise” a lot too.

The issue with these guys is that they shot their wad, and their wad was definitionally small in the very tight, thin configuration they played in. Thematically, I think they pretty much exhausted all they had in the these ten songs too. But that’s as maybe. This record is a fairly indelible alternative classic, another example of the creativity that exploded in the wake of punk ripping up the playbook in the late 70s and early 80s. 7/10.

Aside from long being aware of their existence, I have zero familiarity with the Violent Femmes and listening to the track BH posted, I feel confident that my decision to ignore them was well founded. I may listen to the album if time permits though.

What I can comment on is Supertramp as I do own a number of their albums and have seen them in concert a couple of times (both prior to Breakfast). You may need to have been at an English Grammar school to fully appreciate Supertramp fully but BIA is not their crowning artistic glory: it's just the one that sold in bucket loads to the Yanks. Crime of the Century is their best work and one of my favourite albums; not that I don't like BIA immensely.
 

GoatersLeftShin

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Well, this review is a bit unusual - for me anyway.

I knew "Blister in the sun" as it was a staple of the indie clubs in the early 90s. I just assumed that Violent Femmes were one of those early 90s indie bands that had a couple of good singles, then faded away. In a way I thought of them as a Sleeper or Elastica type band.

Anyway, I listened to the album and my view was that I agree with everyone else - annoying singer and slightly childish lyrics. My view was that the album was fairly typical of the indie wave of the early 90s and I was minded to compare them a bit to Supergrass. Supergrass were master of 'childish' stories but their melodies were absolutely superb - far better than the Violent Femmes (I love Supergrass).

In truth, I didn't think too much of the album and was going to give it a lowish mark - 4. However, on Spotify it says that the VF album was made in 1983. I just assumed it was a typo and it should be 1993 and went to double check it. No, it was released in 1983!

Now, for all albums I do try to listen with two sets of ears. Firstly, the ears of someone who'd heard this for the first time when it was first released. What was the context? Who else was around? Who wasn't around yet? Secondly, how does it sound nowadays.

So, given that this album released in 1983 sounds like it should've been made in 1993, I have to reconsider my score. It's ahead of it's time. It's a 'slacker rock' album made in 1983 and in my mind, there wasn't too many other bands doing that back then.

In all honesty, it's not an album I'd return to although Blister in the Sun is a great pop song. That said, it's ahead of it's time in 1983 and as a result it's likely to have some significance to bands who came after it with regards to the slacker/garage type sound so I have to mark it a little higher than I would've done without check the date.

It's not that good mind, but 6/10 seems fair.
 

Citizen of Legoland

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Musically it's raw and basic and the lyrics sound like they've been written by a high school student and probably were. I got bored very quickly as it sounded all the same throughout, to my ears it is very much of its era. There's something there, though, in the ability of the musicians. I could give them an extra point for that, but I won't.

3 / 10
 
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