Talking Heads: ’77
I’ve always found Talking Heads: ’77 the most inaccessible of the Heads’ albums; it’s tuneful and interesting, but difficult to approach. On this album, David Byrne is often playing an idiot savant, similar to Jonathan Richman – but while Richman’s characters are charming, Byrne’s are detached and creepy, and it’s weird to hear Byrne lyrics like “I’m embarrassed to admit, it hit the soft spot in my heart.” Talking Heads: ’77 is also very thin sounding, with just the four original members playing – over their next, best albums they bought in Brian Eno to broaden their sound, and additional musicians.
There are a couple of standout tracks where everything comes together; opener ‘Uh Oh Love Comes To Town’, where Byrne’s irony is so extreme that it’s obvious, ably supported by a steel drum The best known song is ‘Psycho Killer’, where Byrne drops the cheery facade altogether, instead turning in a cryptic portrait with inscrutable French lyrics.
’77 is bracing in small doses, but 38 minutes of artfully detached and insincere Byrne love songs can be difficult to take in one sitting.