Talking Heads - Little Creatures (1985)
Talking Heads - Little Creatures (1985)

Thumped Album Club Week 35: Talking Heads – Little Creatures (1985)

The Thumped Album Club choice for week 35 is Talking Heads’ 1985 LP, Little Creatures

Talking Heads‘ most immediately accessible album, Little Creatures eschewed the pattern of recent Heads albums, in which instrumental tracks had been worked up from riffs and grooves, after which David Byrne improvised melodies and lyrics. The songs on Little Creatures, most of which were credited to Byrne alone (with the band credited only with arrangements) sounded like they’d been written as songs. Perhaps as one result, the band had been streamlined, with extra musicians used only for specific effects rather than playing along as an ensemble.

Byrne, who was singing in his natural range for once, frequently was augmented with backup singers. The overall result: ear candy. Little Creatures was a pop album, and an accomplished one, by a band that knew what it was doing. True, Byrne’s lyrics were still intriguingly quirky, but even his subject matter was becoming more mature. “I’ve seen sex and I think it’s okay,” he sang on “Creatures of Love,” and suddenly the geek had become a man. Where he had once pondered the hopes of boys and girls, he was now making observations about children. And even if his impulses remained strange — “I wanna make him stay up all night,” he declared about a baby (presumably not his own) in “Stay Up Late” — he retained his charm and inventiveness.

Little Creatures was, in a sense, Talking Heads lite. It was hard to think of this as the same band that produced “Psycho Killer.” But for the band’s expanding audience, who made this their second platinum album, that was okay. And their popularity was being accomplished with no diminution in their creativity.

Talking Heads - Little Creatures (1985)
Talking Heads – Little Creatures (1985)

Remember the three listens rule before commenting, which can be done either further down the page or on the forum.

All previous Album Club selections can be found at https://thumped.com/tac.

  1. I have to agree, WTF kind of choice is this. Great album but Road to Nowhere kind of overshadows the whole thing imho.

    I might just talk about the godawful looking Fred Armison "parody" for a while instead.

  2. Shaney?

    It's scutter's album club, isn't it scutter pet

    I honestly can't even remember if I picked this tbh.

    it is my favourite talking heads album though

  3. I had And She Was on 12-inch, used to listen obssesively to the odd vocal effects in the breakdown

    I've never actually listened to the album before though. God bless the internet

  4. So, are the people who say they're surprised that this Talking Heads album was the first to pop up here, saying they don't like Little Creatures? The first line in @pete's blurb there in the first post

    Talking Heads' most immediately accessible album

    I suppose thats not going to sit well with some. I made a similar point in the In Rainbows thread, about how their popularity got a bit off-putting after a bit. Maybe thats the same here, but it wouldn't be how I see it.

    As a caveat I should mention that I'm a massive fan of Byrne's solo work, particularly the albums Uh-Oh, and Look into the Eyeball. Though this is a Talking Heads album I'd see it having a lot more in common with those solo albums than with a lot of other Talking Heads albums. So maybe, on some level, I see this more as a Byrne album, hence the anomaly of me considering this my favourite.

    Or maybe its how you came to Talking Heads. I can remember this quite vividly. Going back to 1987/88ish (I was 13/14), a cousin of mine was getting into these in a big way. I remember him getting interested via the singles on this album though strangely, this wasn't the first album he went for. The first one he got was 1977 and he listened to it to death. He tried getting me into it, but I wasn't having it. I don't know specifically why, seeing as I adore that album now.

    But it was the 2 singles from this album that were the first Talking Heads songs I ever took any real notice of. Maybe it was the quirky videos, maybe it was the excessive plays on MT USA, whatever.

    I didn't actually own a Talking Heads album until a few years later.

    Fast forward to 1992 and Sand in the Vaseline is released. I was repeating my leaving cert down in Rathmines, and a friend of mine, a big Talking Heads fan, was studying journalism across the road in DIT. He taped Sand in the Vaseline for me. I'd head in and out on the bus every day and the only tape I had with me for weeks on end was a copy of the second disc of Sand in the Vaseline (again, probably intentional because of Road to Nowhere and And She Was). I'd know every song on there word for word, and when I finally got around to checking out albums, it was the ones those songs were on that I gravitated towards first.

    I don't get whats not to like about this though. Yes, its the most accessible, and probably also, the most commercially successful album they had. Though I'd imagine the Stop Making Sense movie/album combo gives it a good run for its money.

    Anything I wanted to say about the album is already in the description pete included in the first post. Its quirky, and thats one of the main things about Talking Heads that appeals to me – the quirkeyness, how different they are, and how their output evolved and changed.

    It was hard to think of this as the same band that produced "Psycho Killer."

    I actually disagree with that. Maybe if I'd only heard Psycho Killer and this album, I'd agree, but Talking Heads always struck me as a band that were capable of just about anything.

    There isn't a weak song on here. And I often wonder if it was intentional that they bookended the album with the 2 big hits. My own personal favourite song is 'The Lady Don't Mind'. Great song to blast out in the car on a sunny day. And 'Television Man' with its big sound and its polished production, is very reminiscent of some of Byrne's later solo stuff. It's great.

    Anyway, I've been through the 'which TH album is your favorite' debate in my head many times. This always comes out on top. If I'm on my own here, so be it. I'll just go hang out with the masses of not-real-Talking-Heads-fans who bought it.

    And I still can't recall if I included this on my list or not. If I didn't, I should have.

    Can't believe I'm feeling the need to defend a Talking Heads album.

    Thumped is for pricks

    5/5

  5. If you asked me last week what I thought of And She Was I'd have said it was a good song but I've changed my mind now, i don't like it anymore. I still like Road to Nowhere though. You could get a good a side and a forgettable b side for a single out of this album.

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