Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talking Heads-Genius of Love/Girlfriend is Better

Ok, im going to go into a bit of a history lesson on Talking Heads (as i warned i might), because its great and quite amazing that they put together a concert and showcased these two songs, Genius of Love by the Tom Tom Club, and Girlfriend is Better by Talking Heads, back to back.

Talking Heads are one of the only 80s bands i know very well. They cruised into the scene at the end of disco and provided a strange kind of dance pop that fit the mainstream criteria, and garnered this strangely great success, and in doing so time and funding, to let them grow in really incredible ways. They were the most unique and adventurous band of the late 70s, and by 1984 they were selling out auditoriums with their, by that point, gigantic live electronic dance sound. Stop Making Sense was a retrospective concert they recorded with Jonathan Demme at the camera, and the actual show was a performance unto itself. They begin with an empty stage in shambles, and david byrne approaches with a boom box and an acoustic guitar, says "i got a tape i want to play you", and busts into THE best version of their very first single, Psycho Killer.

As the show progressed, the 3 other main band members are introduced in each of the next three songs, and it moves forward to include the rest of the then 9 piece band. They take a quick intermission after the first song with the entire band, and come back with Making Flippy Floppy. Love when those lights go on the band for the first time. So nice to see them all there.

Heres where the inner band history begins: at the time of the concert, bassist tina weymouth and drummer chris franz were in a relationship, and had formed The Tom Tom Club outside of talking heads; struck gold with their status and the awesomeness that is Genius of Love:

It is bubblegum awesomeness about being in love with your boyfriend. Nice song for a couple to write together; but before all of this Tom Tom Club action, david byrne and tina had also been involved romantically; im not sure to the extent of their relationship, but she went with chris franz over byrne. The fact that it was performed at this concert- as The Tom Tom Club WITHOUT david byrne- is a heartbreaking marvel to me. Having the strength to make music with these people after something like that happens within the group shows how deep the roots of their relationship as a band went. It still seems like a knife in the back to me; but oh snap, thats not all.

Immediately after Genius of Love ends in the concert, the full band comes out, and david byrne enters the stage in the iconic Big Suit:

It is a track off Speaking in Tongues, the album they were then touring to promote when Stop Making Sense was filmed, and it completely is david byrnes personal, incredibly musical, "fuck you" to the two of tina and chris.

"I've got a girlfriend thats better than that/
She has the smoke in her eyes/
Shes moving up, going right through my heart/
Shes gonna give me surprise"

Not to mention the choreography of all the big suit dancing. Just a great moment in an epic concert with the best quality audio recording of its time.

stop making sense

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