Talking Heads – Little Creatures

Talking Heads - Little CreaturesThis Talking Heads album gets a bit of a bad rap for being the one where David Byrne took over the band’s creative direction completely, but be that as it may, it’s my favorite. Of course, just about any album that kicks off with “And She Was” would stand a good chance of ranking right up there with me – incredibly catchy, surreal and funny all at the same time. Which just about sums up this whole album.

This is also the album with the single “Road To Nowhere” on it, bringing up the rear as the closing track, and yet sandwiched between those two minor hits are some of the Talking Heads’ best stuff.

But not all of it – “Give Me Back My Name” is just sorta so-so, an interesting lyric that seems like it should be supported by a more interesting melody. “Creatures Of Love” can catch you off guard with a bit of a country-ish sound, while “The Lady Don’t Mind” slips back into more of the typical Talking Heads sound.

Right smack in the middle of Little Creatures are two of my all-time favorites from this band: the obscure, not-quite-a-hit single “Perfect World” and “Stay Up Late”. “Perfect World” has one of my favorite Talking Heads melodies, and some of my favorite David Byrne vocals. Somewhat surprisingly, and yet not surprisingly, “Stay Up Late” has enjoyed something of a revival – with its cute lyric about keeping one’s baby brother up way past his bedtime, it’s guaranteed at least one spin per night in ABC’s overnight World News Now show. If “Stay Up Late” doesn’t inspire you to laugh out loud at least once, you’re listening to the wrong song.

“Walk It Down” is a song that opens with a deceptively odd, percussive sound that gives way to something more akin to an upbeat, joyous, almost churchy feel during the choruses. The catchy “Television Man” – another great Byrne vocal performance, by the way – stops just this side of being Jerzy Kosinski’s novel (and later film) Being There set to music. Now there’s a concept that would be worthy of David Byrne’s talents – not that anything wrong’s with “Television Man” as it is.

rating: 3 out of 4I’ve heard a few diehard fans refer to Little Creatures as a bit of a post-sellout album for Byrne & company, but I have a hard time buying into that (miserable pun intended). Some of the band’s best and most offbeat stuff can be found here, though for this group, delving into more popular territory as this album did was offbeat. It’s rather uneven as an album when listened to all in one sitting, but there are indivdual numbers that make this easy to overlook. Little Creatures is a big joy to listen to.

Order this CD

  1. And She Was (3:39)
  2. Give Me Back My Name (3:22)
  3. Creatures Of Love (4:15)
  4. The Lady Don’t Mind (3:58)
  5. Perfect World (4:27)
  6. Stay Up Late (3:43)
  7. Walk It Down (4:44)
  8. Television Man (6:10)
  9. Road To Nowhere (4:19)

Released by: Sire
Release date: 1985
Total running time: 38:37