Tom Tom Club
After four moderately successful albums with the Talking Heads, rhythm section Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth examined their bank balance and were underwhelmed. Their funk ensemble the Tom Tom Club, also featuring stunt guitarist Adrian Belew and Weymouth’s sisters, was a shameless attempt to recoup some money. While Tom Tom Club sold comparably to contemporary Heads albums, its main attraction is the pair of gleefully inane and catchy singles that open the record.
‘Genius of Love’ has been often sampled, notably as the basis for Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy’ – it’s enjoyable, even if I prefer the punchier version on the Talking Heads’ live album Stop Making Sense. ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ is an inspired combination of funky retro keyboard sounds and ‘Old McDonald Had A Farm’. Belew also spices up Tom Tom Club with some innovative performances, including his trademark elephant in ‘L’Elephant’.
While Tom Tom Club is not without merit and shows the musical contribution that Frantz and Weymouth bought to the Talking Heads, it feels shallow compared to the contemporary albums by the parent band, and it’s more of a fun diversion than anything.