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Fear of Music

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Performer Notes
  • Talking Heads: David Byrne (vocals, guitar); Jerry Harrison (guitar, keyboards); Tina Weymouth (bass); Chris Frantz (drums, percussion).
  • Additional personnel: Robert Fripp (guitar); Gene Wilder, Ari (congas); Brian Eno (sound effects, background vocals); Julie Last, The Sweetbreathes (background vocals).
  • Principally recorded at Chris and Tina's loft, Long Island City, Queens, New York.
  • FEAR OF MUSIC is the point of transition between the angular art-school new wave of the Heads' early work and the P-Funk-inspired modalism of their early-'80s output. While there's nothing as funky or visionary as REMAIN IN LIGHT here, the album represents a step in a new direction. At the same time, the Heads' white-knuckled neuroticism is pushed to the extreme here. Almost unrelentingly dark and paranoid-sounding, the tunes find Byrne at his most Anthony Perkins-like, and the interplay of the guitars, even more syncopated and thoughtfully arranged than on the previous album, provides a pointillistic landscape on which Byrne can let his twitchy persona run free. From the tense espionage tale of "Life During Wartime" to the global disaffection of "Cities," Byrne and company seem wound so tight you wonder when they'll snap. One of the only places to look for breathing room here is the funky, African-sounding "I Zimbra," with its highlife-influenced guitars and tribal chanting. This tune also points the way to the mind-blowing innovations that were just around the corner on REMAIN IN LIGHT.
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