Monday, 4 June 2018

Talking Heads - Naked (1988)

Facts of life....


Released March 1988

Recorded in Paris and New York City

Running time 46.56

For their final album, released in 1988, Talking Heads returned to the African-influenced polyrhythmic sound of “Remain In Light”. Recorded in Paris, using many different “world music”  musicians, it is a rich, bassy, horn-powered delights if an album.


1. Blind

2. Mr. Jones
3. Totally Nude
4. Ruby Dear
5. (Nothing But) Flowers
6. Democratic Circus
7. Facts Of Life
8. Mommy Daddy You And I
9. Big Daddy
10. Bill
11. Cool Cool Water
12. Sax And Violins                                         

“Blind” is a potent, rumbling funky opener that would not have been out of place on “Speaking In Tongues”. “Mr. Jones” has a beautiful West African style guitar intro, with some sumptuous horns and African percussion. The sound of Brazilian Bahia music is there too. Yet again, it is another new type of sound layered over the distinctive Talking Heads vocal and lyrics. The band had long been influenced by world sounds and now, two years after Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, these type of sounds were very fashionable. Many a wine bar played this album as suitable “trendy” background music. “Totally Naked” is almost Hawaiian guitar meets South African township jive in its backing, as also is the wonderful, ecologically aware, ironic  “Nothing But Flowers”. My favourite track on the album and one of their best ever.

“Ruby Dear” has a pounding, tribal style drum backing, one of the heaviest they have ever laid down. 

The mournful “The Facts Of Life” has hints of “The Overload” from “Remain In Light”. On all the tracks, there are some truly great soundscapes. Musically, the album is a joy. It tends to get forgotten because of the contemporary impact of the earlier works, but in many ways there is a case for “Naked” being Talking Heads’ most fulfilled and interesting piece of work.

Critically, this album went down well, but it seemed to be pretty well known that the band members, particularly David Byrne, were diversifying off on their separate ways. A shame, but their contribution over ten years or more had been a remarkable one.


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