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Speaking in Tongues

4.3 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Speaking In Tongues
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: TALKING HEADS
Title: SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Street Release Date: 07/07/1987
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

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Observe as David Byrne finally learns to dance. Non-Western sounds and funky rhythms had infected Talking Heads music prior to this 1983 pop breakthrough, but Speaking in Tongues is where the beat truly gels. The band's quirky, nerdy persona somehow blends easily with music borrowed from the African Diaspora on "Stop Making Sense" and "Burning Down the House." The album also marks one of the last true band collaborations, before Byrne reduced his partners to mere sidemen. If their edgier early albums now sound more challenging and unique in hindsight, Speaking in Tongues at least documents the New York quartet's singular blend of World Beat, art school rock, and the always irresistible dancefloor. --Steve Appleford
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002KZ6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,984 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Sutherland on September 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Speaking in Tongues is an incredible album. Most bands slow down by their fifth album, but not the heads. Just when you think that they don't have any more brilliant creative riffs and bass lines they bring you this remarkable piece of art. The guitars are not as heavy on this as on previous albums. They incorporate many other synthesized elements into the mix but the results are very satisfying. All the other elements are still there: great songwriting, intellectually challenging lyrics, and rhythmic and melodic bass lines and guitar riffs. In terms of the songs themselves all of them are great. From track one to track nine every song is great and will have you singing along or dancing. "Making Flippy Floppy" is particularly energetic and danceable. It combines all the elements that characterize the heads and make them a truly great American band. Other standout tracks are "Burning Down the House," "Girlfriend is better," "Slippery People," hell just about every track. One great track that is really a standout is "Naive Melody (this must be the place)." This track is notable because it is perhaps the only real love song that David Byrne has ever written. It is about being thrilled to be with another person and is about faithfulness, at least this is what I gather. I also personally love this song because it has such a great, hypnotic guitar riff that is played throught the entire song. It is really a perfect way to end the album. It is so hard to rank the heads albums because just about everyone of them (especially the first five) is so good. Yet, still this has to be one of their best.
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Format: Audio CD
My memories of Friday nights when I was in high school center around two things: playing in the band at football games and watching late night TV while eating a much-delayed dinner afterwards. In the early part of the 1980s, the show that I tuned in was Wolfman Jack's Midnight Special, where I was first exposed to the music video form, since we lived outside of town and didn't have MTV. I recall seeing Nick Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind," Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Alice Cooper's "How You Gonna See Me Now," and Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House." These songs were staples of rock radio, even if the artists weren't, and the video portion did exactly what it was supposed to: increase my interest in the artist.
I didn't buy Speaking in Tongues until 1985, when most others had already moved on to other, newer, albums. But I was commuting back-and-forth between my home in Gatesville and community college in Killeen, a trip of roughly 40 minutes, and my soundtrack for that commute quickly became this album by Talking Heads which I had found in a used cassette store outside the local army base, Ft. Hood.
Why this album? A combination of circumstances surrounded it, making it appropos of the moment. I was living at home and attending Central Texas College because I had flunked out of the University of Texas at Austin, and the white-guy funk of David Byrne somehow matched the awkwardness of my situation, while being bouncy enough to keep my spirits up on that depressing commute, taking my mind off my failure and uncertain future. The fact that the lyrics of this album are an associative mass rather than a logical series allowed me to connect every song to my personal situation.
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Format: Audio CD
After purchasing all the remastered albums and listening to both sides of these dualdiscs inside and out, I have come to the earth-shattering conclusion that SPEAKING IN TONGUES is in fact their finest achievement. Prior to these reissues, I was a devotee of FEAR OF MUSIC and REMAIN IN LIGHT, but the extraordinary remastering here reveals previously indistinct, nuanced layers. Indeed, all previous iterations of this album were compromised (especially the truncated versions of some of the songs on the original vinyl release), while this is the definitive version. Songs are finally allowed to play out as extended jams, and it adds to the overall free-form feel. Even more than REMAIN, this is their most experimental sounding album, and the tracks that I once wrote off as filler ("Pull Up The Roots," "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity") now sound both resistently enigmatic and eminently danceable. In comparison, LITTLE CREATURES sounds all the more diminished, while TRUE STORIES is, well...pretty terrible (although I'm partial to about half of NAKED). And O-U-T (but no hard feelings...)
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Now, I absolutely adore Talking Heads and this album, and if I had received this vinyl in perfect condition I would have given it 5 stars. The packaging that it came in was great, factory new, lyrics on the record sheet, it was all very pretty, but the vinyl itself was trash. It looked fine, but within 5 seconds of "Burning Down the House", it skipped, and kept skipping over and over again on every song. So, I sent it back, thinking that I just got a factory defect, 1 in 100 or something like that, but the one they sent back ALSO skipped like crazy. I guess there is just a problem with this whole batch, or maybe I'm just unlucky. Either way, I would wait until they come out with a new batch of WORKING vinyls until you spend your money on it.

-Chris
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