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Music / More Songs About Buildings and Food

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"They've enlisted all their family, they've enlisted all their friends; it helped save their relationship and made it work again."

More Songs About Buildings and Food is the seminal second album by Talking Heads, released in 1978. It marked their first collaboration with producer Brian Eno, previously a fan of the band; Eno would also produce their next two albums and collaborate on solo projects with David Byrne. Critical darlings from their CBGB's days, the album was considered a significant step up from their already well-received debut, Talking Heads: 77, and is generally agreed to be the point where the band started to come into their own as musicians.

The album was not only the band's artistic breakthrough, but their commercial one as well, with their cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River" being their first Top 40 hit. The album itself peaked at no. 29 on Billboard's album chart, the first U.S chart entry for any Talking Heads album. It was certified gold (sales of over 500,000 copies) in 1983, also the band's first gold or platinum certification. More Songs About Buildings and Food was ranked at #383 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.



Side One

  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" - 3:55
  5. "The Girls Want to Be With the Girls" - 2:37
  6. "Found a Job" - 5:00

Side Two

  1. "Artists Only" - 3:34
  2. "I'm Not in Love" - 4:33
  3. "Stay Hungry" - 2:39
  4. "Take Me to the River" - 5:00
  5. "The Big Country" - 5:30

I will trope, will trope with understanding:

  • All There in the Manual: The liner notes explain the photomosaic made out of Polaroids on the front cover and the false-color satellite image of the U.S. on the back cover.
  • Anti-Love Song
    • As you might guess, "I'm Not In Love":
    Because we don't need love.
    There'll come a day when we won't need love.
    I believe that we don't need love.
    • "With Our Love" also take more of a clinical look at relationships than anything else.
  • Cover Version: “Take Me to the River” is a cover of an Al Green hit.
  • Creator Backlash: Invoked In-song, the painter of “Artists Only” defensively insists “I don’t have to prove that I am creative.”
  • Advertisement:
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "The Big Country" is a song about both buildings and food.
  • Face on the Cover: The band are presented in a fragmentary portrait made up of hundreds of Polaroids.
  • Flyover Country: Small town America is presented this way in the awesomely snotty “The Big Country” ("I wouldn't live there if you paid me to!").
  • In the Style of...: "Found a Job" was influenced by Philip Glass, with its repeating patterns.
  • Job Song: "Found a Job", as the name implies. Though it's much less about mundane work and more about a married couple who run an independent TV show production studio.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: While not sprawling in length, closing track "The Big Country" out-spans every other track on the album, at 5:30.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Despite the title, “The Girls Want to Be With the Girls” is not about lesbianism, but how girls like to get into “abstract analysis” and making plans, and how boys don’t understand this.
  • New Sound Album: Brian Eno took over production for this album. Fitting for something produced by Eno, a noted pioneer of ambient music, the sound of this album is more atmospheric and less pop-oriented compared to Talking Heads' debut. There are also noticeable stylistic similarities with David Bowie's "Heroes", particularly when comparing the faster tracks from each album. Fitting, as More Songs About Buildings and Food was recorded during the interim between "Heroes" and Lodger's productions, both of which featured heavy involvement from Eno.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel", "Found a Job", "Artists Only", and "The Big Country".
  • Non-Indicative Name: "The Big Country", if you stretch a point, is about buildings, but the only mention of food is an offhanded one in the same song.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "The Good Thing":
    Try to compare what I am presenting.
    You will meet with much frustration.
    Try to find ... similar situation.
    You will always find the same solution.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Byrne wrote the lyrics to “Found a Job” after hearing his parents fight about what to watch on TV.
  • Record Producer: Brian Eno.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: “Warning Sign” shows alienation from self:
    Warning sign of things to come
    It happened before, it will happen again
    Hear my voice, move my hair
    I move it around a lot but I don’t care.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Weird Al" Yankovic once provided a shout-out to the album title by recording a song called "More Songs About Television And Food", lampshading his own tendency to write parody songs about these subjects.
    • The slide guitar part in "The Big Country" was inspired by Roxy Music's "Prairie Rose" from the Country Life album; fitting, given that producer Brian Eno was a member of Roxy Music in their early years.
  • Textless Album Cover
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Invoked. In-Universe, the narrator of "Artists Only" says that "all my pictures are confused."
  • Undercrank: Jerry Harrison had trouble getting the slide guitar in "The Big Country" right, so the tape was slowed down. It's why live versions were played in a different key than on the album.


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