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Talking Heads: 77

Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages, 1997

NEXT TO CBGBS peers like the Ramones and the Voidoids, Talking Heads barely sounded like a punk band. After the startlingly non-conformist ‘Love Building on Fire,’ 77 made for a surprisingly tuneful collection of songs: nervy vignettes of urban unease, arranged for a tight little new wave quartet. The most overtly disturbed song, ‘Psycho Killer,’ now sounds a touch heavy-handed; more unassuming tracks like ‘New Feeling,’ ‘Happy Day,’ and ‘Don't Worry About the Government’--preppie pop with brains--have aged better. The first of four consecutive masterpieces for Sire, 77 is the work of a truly great American band.

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