Monday, December 26, 2022

Fear Of Music

Even though most people see Remain In Light as their masterpiece, Fear Of Music was the album that really got me into the group. You can already see them moving into the dense, atmospheric style of Remain in Light, with producer Brian Eno's influence becoming more prominent, but their pop sensibilities are as strong as ever. Fear Of Music represents a sudden maturation of the Talking Heads sound, supplementing the frenetic, punkish vibe of their first two albums with the more eclectic style for which they would become best known. On Eno's second collaboration with the Talking Heads, he encouraged them to expand their musical horizons further, and, although a fairly traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure is still in place, this album is the beginning of the band's musical experimentation. For me this is their masterpiece; every song works seamlessly with the others and shows a band that's not afraid of taking risks. 

The way the drums, guitar, and bass all interlock to create the rhythms rather than any one instrument taking over is brilliant. It moves further into strange soundscapes than it's predecessor, while maintaining polished pop credentials. The lyrics are that of a man who is at odds with his environment, somewhat estranged from normality. The music is sharp post-punk guitar driven, yet also has many ethereal moments where you'll drift away on shimmering chords of bliss. 

The opening track I Zimbra demonstrated right away the band's departure from their previously spare, angular style into something more world-music inspired. With nonsensical lyrics and African-themed rhythms this song set the tone for the musically diverse tracks that follow. The playfulness and irreverence of the opener is swiftly replaced with frustration on Mind which serves as a reflection on how impossible it was to get through to people sometimes. The album also contains of their most seminal songs, the insanely catchy Life During Wartime and one of my personal favourite Heads tracks, the beautiful Heaven with its gorgeously understated arrangement. 

I love every aspect of the album, from the minimal cover art, David Byrne's manic vocals, the rhythms, the guitars and the predominantly one word song titles. So filled of musical genius and tension this is one album I never tire of listening to. Creative and energetic, a bit mindless. Lots of fun and my favourite by The Heads. 


  1. Isn't it briil to reminisce x

  2. It is Jac, music certainly takes you back to special times x

  3. This album is peerless and while Remain might be a step again Fear of Music is jaw droppingly good- from start to finish. I Zimbra alone is more than most bands mange to do in entire careers.

  4. Couldn't agree more Adam, love Remain In Light but as you say Fear Of Music is peerless