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Fear of Music

125 customer reviews

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Fear Of Music
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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$3.00 $1.15
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Frequently Bought Together

Fear of Music + Remain in Light + Speaking in Tongues
Price for all three: $20.94

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Editorial Reviews

This disc represents the bridge between Talking Heads' first two herky-jerkier albums and the next two funky ones. Fear of Music is more than just a bridge, though. It's the water under the bridge, the air, the animals, the cities the river flows through, and the heaven on top of it all: "...a place where nothing ever happens." Plenty happens here, however. The CD starts out with its feet off the ground and both arms in the air: "I Zimbra" is all-out celebration. The rest of the songs are pretty much exercises in simplicity: one-word titles with music to match. (Witness the lightness of "Air," the trippiness of "Drugs," the "ooga"-ness of "Animals.") David Byrne's artful naiveté ("Hold the paper up to the light/Some rays pass right through"), coupled with the whole band's musical playfulness (for example, the tuba on "Electric Guitar"), makes for fun fun fun. --Dan Leone

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. I Zimbra 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Mind 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Paper 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Cities 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Life During Wartime 3:41$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Memories Can't Wait 3:31$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. Air 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Heaven 4:02$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. Animals 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Electric Guitar 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Drugs 5:10$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002KNY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,964 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Richard Behrens on April 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album was recorded by the Talking Heads in Long Island City, NY in 1979 which led me to wonder how Brian Eno got to Queens -- did he take the 7 train to Queens Borough Plaza and then walk over? After all, the 7 train does appear in at least one Talking Heads video. Regardless, this album has a real live feel to it, like it was recorded in someone's living room and mixed to reproduce the live experience of a bass, guitar, drum and keyboard ensemble. It is the Heads at their most trimmed down production and in tone, texture, production values and subject matter, it reminds me of Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division which was also recorded that year. I know the Heads must have had an awareness of Joy Division since their song "The Overload" on Remain In Light (1980) is frighteningly close to JD's "I Remember Nothing." Besides, everyone on earth knew who Joy Division was by 1980.
At first blush, this album is weird, quirky, mysterious and fragmented. But closer examination reveals a pretty huge sense of humor. The title alone, Fear of Music, is hilarious and is a key to the sensibilities that run throughout the songs. David Byrne paints one portrait after another of phobia, fear of electric guiars, fear of animals, fear of air, fear of Heaven, fear of cities, fear of wartime, fear of paper. Fear of paper?
Fear of music is a very city oriented album. It is not an album of art rock by art school students like their first two albums. It is a garage band that has spaced out on too much surrealism, late-night television, science fiction movies and Dadaist poetry.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By a music fan on January 31, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best albums of the 1970's, an absolutely brilliant combination of new wave and psychedelia that still sounds startlingly original today. Most critically-acclaimed indie bands of the past 20 years sound drab and ordinary compared to what Talking Heads were doing in their prime.

Also, the remastering is excellent. I've heard few CD's that sound as good as this.

So why'd I give it only three stars?

The trouble is the dual-layered discs that Rhino decided to use. I've tried to play the CD side on three different CD players, including a brand new Onkyo and a brand new Sony. Both had trouble reading the disc and skipped on the last track. All the other Talking Head dual-discs had the same problem.

There is good news: in the UK, Rhino released all the Talking Heads records as two disc CD and DVD sets. I'd strongly recommend going to and getting those versions instead.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By simon hampson on May 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
all talking heads albums are great [with the exception of 'true stories', but thats more of a soundtrack than an album proper] but this is the best. it combines the minimalism and edginess of the first two albums with the african instrumentation and polyrhythms of 'remain in light'. like my bloody valentine or sigur ros, talking heads distilled their guitar sound into its base elements on this album; a unique, scratchy, edgy noise. brian eno's contribution is evident in the strange sounds and effects which run through this album. far from sounding dated and gimmicky, however, the production still sounds fresh and exciting. tina weymouth's bass makes the faster songs pure dance music [the subsonic bass drops on 'i zimbra' sounds have to be heard to be believed; it sounds like whales' mating calls!]. the slower songs such as and 'air' 'mind', and the ballad 'heaven' are beautiful, and never sound trite or cliched.
lyrically, david byrne is on top paranoid form; his chracters see the banal aspects of everyday life; paper, guitars, pets, even air, as either crushingly important or terribly threatening. there is also a strong feeling of claustrophobia permeating the album, such as the endless descriptions of disorientation is 'life during wartime' and the cry of 'i'm stuck here in this seat' in 'memories can't wait'.
this album is talking heads at the height of their creativity; fulfilling the promise of their early material but avoiding the later works' occasional lack of focus.
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Format: Audio CD
"Fear of Music" is one of Talking Heads' best albums. This deluxe edition on the surface is a great way to hear the album. If you'll be listening to only the 5.1 side of the disc it will play just fine in computers and on DVD-Audio players. Conventional CD players may have a hard time recognizing the disc though. On the packaging it doesn't carry the compact disc logo. What that means is that the disc isn't blue book compatible and won't play in all players.

For example the CD portion wouldn't play on my computer. This made it impossible to listen to on my ipod (which is the primary way I listen to stuff on the road now). The 5.1 side plays just fine but you can't upload it to your iPod either. Why Warner didn't release this like this did overseas (1 remastered CD disc and the other a 5.1 remastered DVD-Audio disc) is beyond me. Certainly Dualdisc offers a lot of potential but many of these won't play on a lot of higher end CD players.

It's just something to be aware of when purchasing this. Rhino is not replacing the discs with remastered versions as they consider the problem to be minor. If you contact Dr. Rhino at Rhino's website they'll insist that you pay for shipping and handling when sending in the disc or you can try and return it to your local store or Until they work out all of the kinks with Dualdisc just be cautious.
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