More Songs About Buildings and Food

More Songs About Buildings and Food is the second studio album by American rock band Talking Heads, released on July 14, 1978, by Sire Records. It was the first of three albums produced by collaborator Brian Eno, and saw the band move toward a danceable style, crossing singer David Byrne's unusual delivery with new emphasis on the rhythm section composed of bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz.

More Songs About Buildings and Food
TalkingHeadsMoreSongsAboutBuildingsandFood.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 14, 1978 (1978-07-14)[1]
RecordedMarch–April 1978
StudioCompass Point, Nassau
Genre
Length41:32
LabelSire
Producer
Talking Heads chronology
Talking Heads: 77
(1977)
More Songs About Buildings and Food
(1978)
Fear of Music
(1979)
Song sample
30 seconds of "The Big Country"

More Songs established the Talking Heads as a critical success, reaching number 29 on the US Billboard Pop Albums chart and number 21 on the UK Albums Chart. The album featured the band's first top-thirty single, a cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River".

Artwork and titleEdit

The front cover of the album, conceived by Byrne and executed by artist Jimmy De Sana, is a photomosaic of the band comprising 529 close-up Polaroid photographs.[6] The rear cover of the album shows "Portrait U.S.A.", a satellite image of the United States, created in 1976 by the General Electric Co.. It was produced by their Beltsville Photo Engineering Lab with the assistance of the National Geographic Society and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration".[7]

Concerning the album's title, bassist Tina Weymouth was quoted in a 1979 interview with Creem:

When we were making this album I remembered this stupid discussion we had about titles for the last album," Tina smirked. "At that time I said, 'What are we gonna call an album that's just about buildings and food?' And Chris said, 'You call it more songs about buildings and food.'[8]

XTC frontman Andy Partridge later claimed, however, that he gave the title to Byrne.[9]

ReleaseEdit

More Songs About Buildings and Food was released on July 21, 1978.[6] It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The album's sole single, a cover of the Al Green hit "Take Me to the River", peaked at number 26 on the pop singles chart in 1979. The single pushed the album to gold record status.[10]

Warner Music Group re-released and remastered the album in 2005, on its Warner Bros., Sire and Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format, with four bonus tracks on the CD side—"Stay Hungry" (1977 version), alternate versions of "I'm Not in Love" and "The Big Country", and the 'Country Angel' version of "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel". The DVD-Audio side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and videos of the band performing "Found a Job" and "Warning Sign". In Europe, it was released as a CD+DVDA two-disc set rather than a single DualDisc. The reissue was produced by Andy Zax with Talking Heads.

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [11]
Chicago Tribune    [12]
Christgau's Record GuideA[13]
The Guardian     [14]
The Irish Times     [15]
Mojo     [16]
Pitchfork8.8/10[17]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [18]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[19]
Uncut     [20]

Reviewing the album for Rolling Stone magazine, Ken Emerson said:

Love and work, of course, is what Freud said all of us need, but on More Songs About Buildings and Food, Byrne appears able to imagine the proper equilibrium only in "Found a Job," wherein a bickering couple's relationship improves while collaborating on television scripts. He sings about this improvement with considerable sarcasm, though, and elsewhere on the LP, love and logic are at loggerheads.[21]

Writing for Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), critic Robert Christgau said:

Here the Heads become a quintet in an ideal producer-artist collaboration—Eno contributes/interferes just enough. Not only does his synthesized lyricism provide flow and continuity, it also makes the passive, unpretentious technological mysticism he shares with the band real in the aural world. In fact, there is so much beautiful music (and so much funky music) on this album that I'll take no more complaints about David Byrne's voice. Every one of these eleven songs is a positive pleasure, and on every one the tension between Byrne's compulsive flights and the sinuous rock bottom of the music is the focus.[13]

More Songs About Buildings and Food was ranked at number four among the top "Albums of the Year" for 1978 by NME, with "Take Me to the River" ranked at number 16 among the year's top tracks.[22] In 2003, the album was ranked number 382 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[23] and 384 in 2012.[24] It was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone's list of the greatest albums of 1967–1987.

It was ranked the 45th best album of the 1970s by Pitchfork in 2006. Reviewing the album for Pitchfork, Nick Sylvester said:

More Songs About Buildings and Food transformed the Talking Heads from a quirky CBGB spectacle to a quirky near-unanimously regarded "it" band. New producer Brian Eno can take his due credit for the album's success, smartly tightening up the rhythm section's energy for more dance-oriented beats and a more prominent role in general, though without taking the limelight off head Head David Byrne's nervous sputters. Byrne's own songwriting was, as the album titled suggested, in the same quotidian vein as '77, though perhaps Buildings and Food has slightly more vitriol, especially on album closer, "The Big Country", Byrne's indictment of the South. More Songs About Buildings and Food probably could have survived as a cult album by a cult band, but what really opened up the Talking Heads for a national audience was the band's slinky cover of Al Green's famous "Take Me to the River", which put them on the top 30 singles charts for the first time.[25]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by David Byrne, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Thank You for Sending Me an Angel" 2:11
2."With Our Love" 3:30
3."The Good Thing" 3:03
4."Warning Sign"Byrne, Chris Frantz3:55
5."The Girls Want to Be with the Girls" 2:37
6."Found a Job[a]" 5:00
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Artists Only"Byrne, Wayne Zieve3:34
2."I'm Not in Love" 4:33
3."Stay Hungry"Byrne, Frantz2:39
4."Take Me to the River"Al Green, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges5:00
5."The Big Country" 5:30
2005 reissue bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Stay Hungry" (1977 version)Byrne, Frantz3:45
13."I'm Not in Love" (alternate version) 5:15
14."The Big Country" (alternate version) 5:01
15."Thank You for Sending Me an Angel" ("Country Angel" version) 2:12

Note

PersonnelEdit

 
Harrison and Byrne (right) with Talking Heads in August 1978 at Jay's Longhorn Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Talking Heads

Additional musicians

  • Brian Eno – synthesizers, piano, guitar, percussion, backing vocals
  • Tina and the Typing Pool – backing vocals on "The Good Thing"

Production

ChartsEdit

Chart (1978) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[26] 46
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company) 21
United States (Billboard 200)[27] 29

Certifications and salesEdit

Sales certifications for More Songs About Buildings and Food
Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[28] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Smith, Chris (2006). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From arenas to the underground, 1974-1980. Greenwood Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-313-33611-9.
  3. ^ Gittins, Ian (September 1, 2004). Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime, The Stories Behind Every Song. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 39. ISBN 0-634-08033-4. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Grimstad, Paul. "What is Avant-Pop?". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  5. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2005). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. Penguin. p. 163.
  6. ^ a b Gimarc, George, Punk Diary, p. 148.
  7. ^ More Songs About Buildings and Food (liner notes). Sire Records. 1978.
  8. ^ Barbara Charone (October, 1979). "More Songs About Typing and Vacuuming". Creem, n.p.c. link. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  9. ^ "Happy 40th: Talking Heads, MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD". Rhino Records. July 25, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  10. ^ William Ruhlmann. "More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  11. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Kot, Greg (May 6, 1990). "Talking Heads On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Peschek, David (January 20, 2006). "Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  15. ^ Courtney, Kevin (January 13, 2006). "Talking Heads: 77/More Songs About Buildings and Food/Fear of Music/Remain in Light (WEA)". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  16. ^ Cameron, Keith (July 2020). "New Feelings". Mojo. No. 320. pp. 68–69.
  17. ^ Mapes, Jillian (April 23, 2020). "Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  18. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Talking Heads". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 802–03. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  19. ^ Salamon, Jeff (1995). "Talking Heads". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 394–95. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  20. ^ Shapiro, Peter (February 2006). "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth". Uncut. No. 105. p. 82.
  21. ^ Emerson, Ken (October 19, 1978). "More Songs About Buildings & Food". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "1978 Best Albums And Tracks Of The Year". NME. October 10, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  23. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads". Rolling Stone. November 18, 2003. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. June 23, 2004. p. 6. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  26. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 304. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ "Talking Heads Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. 2019. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019.
  28. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type More Songs About Buildings and Food in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.