Little Creatures, released in 1985, is the sixth album by Talking Heads. Their first album after the massively acclaimed Speaking in Tongues tour and associated concert film, this one eschews the blend of Post-Punk and afrobeat that Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues previously established in favor of pop rock with Country Music and old-school New Wave Music influences.
The resulting album was the band's biggest-selling, pushing over two million copies in the United States alone. However, the album also marked a shift to a Lighter and Softer musical and lyrical approach that would see scrutiny from fans and critics.
The album produced three singles: "The Lady Don't Mind", "Road to Nowhere", and "And She Was".
- "And She Was" - 3:36
- "Give Me Back My Name" - 3:20
- "Creatures of Love" - 4:12
- "The Lady Don't Mind" - 4:03
- "Perfect World" - 4:26
- "Stay Up Late" - 3:51
- "Walk It Down" - 4:42
- "Television Man" - 6:10
- "Road to Nowhere" - 4:19
From the sleep of reason, a trope is born:
- Album Title Drop: The phrase "little creatures" appears multiple times throughout "Creatures of Love".
- Babies Ever After: "Creatures of Love" is a song dedicated to the joys of conception.
- Call-Back: "Road to Nowhere" lyrically recalls the phrase "I'll take you there; I'll take you there" from "Pull Up the Roots", albeit now rendered as "take you there; take you there".
- Color Motifs: Blue appears quite prominently on the front and back covers for the album and its associated singles, a stark contrast to frontman David Byrne's typical association with red.
- Conveyor Belt Video: "And She Was"
- Country Music: Little Creatures doesn't outright dive headfirst into the genre, but influences of it are apparent, particularly in the heavy use of steel guitar.
- Design Student's Orgasm: The cover art features a beautifully elaborate mural by outsider artist Howard Finster, who had previously done the album artwork for Reckoning by R.E.M..
- Epic Rocking: "Television Man" clocks in at 6:10.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- "And She Was" is very obviously about a drug trip. It ran on the radio and MTV with zero lyrical alterations.
- "Stay Up Late" features David Byrne gleefully pointing out an infant's "little pee-pee," to which the censors didn't seem to give a fuck.
- Intercourse with You: "Creatures of Love" is an unusual case in that the sex is for the purpose of conceiving a child rather than for physical pleasure. Though that's not to say it doesn't outright ignore that element of the process either.Well I've seen sex, and I think it's alright!
- Lighter and Softer: The undercurrents of anxiety and paranoia that had been permeating the band's output since Fear of Music are done away with here, and the overall tone of the album is more similar to Talking Heads: 77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Road to Nowhere" kicks off with the sound of an a-capella choir; David Byrne admitted that this was a last-minute decision made to add some variety to the otherwise repetitive song.Well we know where we're goin'But we don't know where we've beenAnd we know what we're knowin'But we can't say what we've seenAnd we're not little children,And we know what we wantAnd the future is certainGive us time to work it out
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Road to Nowhere", an upbeat ode to the inevitability of death and the ultimate futility of all human achievement in the face of the apocalypse.
- Mushroom Samba: "And She Was" is about a high school friend of David Byrne's who would take acid trips by the Yoo-Hoo drink factory and describe them to him.
- New Sound Album: While Speaking in Tongues was definitely more mainstream-accessible than Remain in Light, Little Creatures marked the point where Talking Heads outright became a pop rock band.
- Rearrange the Song: The funky clavinet riff heard on "Walk It Down" is based on the Speaking In Tongues outtake "Popsicle", which itself was later released on the Sand in the Vaseline compilation in 1992.
- Sharp-Dressed People: Played with. The band are depicted on the back cover wearing some pretty outlandishly-patterned outfits that make them look more like sofas in an old person's house, but if one were to excise the pattering, the outfits wouldn't actually look half-bad.
- Shout-Out: "Stay Up Late" quotes The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" in the line "I know you wanna leave me."
- Surreal Music Video: All of the ones associated with this album are pretty out there, as is fitting for Talking Heads, but the panning cutout animation landscape that makes up the "And She Was" video certainly takes the cake.
- You Are Number 6: The "dehumanization" aspect of this trope is alluded to in "Walk It Down", which opens with the phrase "I am just a number."