Rolling Stone - 11/89Ranked #54
in Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums Of The 80's survey.
CMJ - 1/5/04, p.12Ranked #12
in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1983".
Talking Heads: David Byrne (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion); Tina Weymouth (guitar, keyboards, bass, background vocals); Jerry Harrison (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Chris Frantz (drums, keyboards, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Alex Weir (guitar); Shankar (violin); Richard Landry (saxophone); Wally Badarou, Bernie Worrell (synthesizer); Steve Scales, David Van Tieghem (percussion); Dolette MacDonald, Nona Hendryx (background vocals).
On REMAIN IN LIGHT, the Heads fused their twitchy, intellectual geek-rock sensibilities with an organic, spiritual funkiness that catapulted them into a new artistic realm, virtually unfettered by the shackles of their "new wave" past. SPEAKING IN TONGUES picks up where that album left off, expanding on the band's newfound funk aesthetic and even upping the danceability quotient a notch or two. The Heads let their hair down a bit more here than on REMAIN IN LIGHT, but while the tone is a bit less serious (as on the party-starting "Burning Down The House,") the highly developed conceptual sensibilites of Byrne and company are still at work, even without the assistance of former producer Brian Eno.
Some of the previous album's airy abstractions are stripped away here, to make more room on the dance floor. Tunes like "Girlfriend is Better" attack both the feet and the mind, in typically quirky Talking Heads style. "This Must Be the Place/Naive Melody" stands out as a pretty, affecting ballad about finding a sense of belonging (it's melodic charms were so pervasive it was eventually covered by folk-rocker Shawn Colvin).