Talking Heads: 77 is the debut album from Talking Heads. It was released in 1977. The band, formerly a trio of David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar), Tina Weymouth (bass, credited as "Martina Weymouth" on this album) and Chris Frantz (drums), had recently added keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison, formerly of Jonathan Richman's The Modern Lovers. The album was an instant hit with critics, who praised its unconventional rhythms & lyrics and distinctly anxious-yet-preppy tone that immediately differentiated the band from other Punk Rock and Post-Punk acts. This album is the source of "Psycho Killer", one of the bands best-known songs.
Producer Tony Bongiovi worked with The Ramones on Rocket to Russia, released the same year. He and engineer Lance Quinn would become associated with Bon Jovi, the band led by Bongiovis cousin. The album peaked at no. 97 on the Billboard album charts, while reaching no. 60 on the U.K. chart.
The album was supported by four singles: "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town", "Psycho Killer", "Pulled Up", and "New Feeling"; the second-to-last of those was released only in the UK, and the last only in Australia. "Psycho Killer" peaked at no. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town" (2:48)
- "New Feeling" (3:09)
- "Tentative Decisions" (3:04)
- "Happy Day" (3:55)
- "Who Is It?" (1:41)
- "No Compassion" (4:47)
- "The Book I Read" (4:06)
- "Don't Worry About the Government" (3:00)
- "First Week/Last Week Carefree" (3:19)
- "Psycho Killer" (4:19)
- "Pulled Up" (4:29)
The answer is obvious—tropes have come to town!:
- Annual Title: The album title.
- Answer Cut: "Uh-Oh Loves Comes To Town".Here come a riddle, here come a clueIf you were really smart, you'd know what to do when I sayWhy am I going out of my head, whenever you're around?The answer is obvious, love has come to town
- "Who Is It?" also reveals the person the singer is in love with in the final verse.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Psycho Killer" has a few lines in French.
- Bookends: The album's opening track, "Uh-Oh Love Comes to Town", and its final track, "Pulled Up", are variations on the same base melody.
- Broken Record: Fa fa fa fa fa fa far (...) Run run run run run run run run run away in "Psycho Killer".
- Call-Back: David Byrne uses the ay ay ay chant a few times on this album.
- The Ditherer: For all the talk on "Tentative Decisions" about being "concerned with decisiveness", no one decides anything.
- Dramatic Pause: "New Feeling" has the protagonist leave dramatic pauses in the middle of his sentences.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The majority of the album is a lot bouncier and preppier than the sardonic Post-Punk-New Wave Music mix Talking Heads would later become known for; this was mainly the result of Executive Meddling, as producer Tony Bongiovi wanted to steer the band into playing pop music. Only "Psycho Killer" resembles Talking Heads' succeeding material, and it's perhaps because of this that it is frequently the only representative of Talking Heads: 77 heard in concert post-1979.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: The band pulls this on "No Compassion". Three times.
- Gratuitous French: "Psycho Killer" has the recurrent "qu'est-ce que c'est" and most of the last verse:Ce que j'ai fais, ce soir laCe qu'elle a dit, ce soir laRealisant mon espoirJe me lance, vers la gloire .
- Hypocritical Humor:
- In "Don't Worry About the Government", the speaker insists that if anyone comes to visit him at his office, "I'll put down what I'm doing. My friends are important." This is after he's made plans to spend the rest of his life in that office.
- The titular character in "Psycho Killer" admits "I hate people when they're not polite."
- Lack of Empathy: "No Compassion"."They say compassion is a virtue, but I don't have the time."
- Lampshading: After "No Compassion" gets to the same lyrics it opened with, Byrne says: "Here We Go Again!."
- Limited Lyrics Song: "Who is It?" consists solely of a repetitive chorus sung three times, with a short bridge between the second and third instances.
- Love Makes You Dumb: "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town" concerns the worry someone head over heels in love has that they'll start making bad decisions.Jet pilot gone out of control, ship captain run aground
Stock broker make a bad investment when love has come to town
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Just the band name, colon and number "77" in neon green on a bright red background. The colors coincide with the "preppy" image the band had in its early years.
- Miniscule Rocking: "Who Is It?" is under two minutes.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Pulled Up".''I was complaining, I was down in the dumps/I feel so strong now 'cause you pulled me up!''
- Playing Sick: "Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town".I've called in sick I won't go toWork todayI'd rather be with the one I loveI neglect my duties, I be in trouble butI've been to college, I've been to schoolI've met the people that you read about in books
- Rearrange the Song: "Tentative Decisions" originally had a faster tempo and lacked backing vocals, as heard in the band's early demo of the song. The slower tempo was at the suggestion of Lou Reed.
- Record Producer: Tony Bongiovi.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Psycho Killer", about what goes on inside the mind of a psychopathic serial murderer.
- Silly Love Songs: "Who Is It?", "The Book I Read".
- Stutter Stop: "Psycho Killer"Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
I've heard all I want to, I don't want to hear any more"