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Rock - Released October 7, 1986 | Parlophone UK

Time hasn't been kind to Talking Heads' ancillary soundtrack to David Byrne's oddball directorial debut. Though it generated one of the band's biggest radio hits ("Wild Wild Life"), both the film and its songs were dismissed as self-consciously quirky retreads of other, better material; and it's well-known the quartet was beginning to splinter apart around the time of the sessions. Byrne himself has said that he regretted the whole notion of releasing True Stories with his own vocals, a decision made at the behest of the film's financial backers: All along, he intended for the lyrics to be sung, in character, by Pops Staples, John Goodman, and the rest of the cast. (Some of these alternate-vocal versions were eventually released as B-sides.) Despite its perfunctory nature, however, True Stories is not without its charms. Though an obvious swipe at consumerism, "Love for Sale" boasts one of the band's best hooks, and it's easily their hardest-rocking tune since the Fear of Music days. "Radio Head" is a successful continuation of some of the regional-American motifs Byrne explored on Little Creatures (and bears the distinction of inspiring Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and company to name their band after it). Free from the movie's weird patina of irony, "Dream Operator" is one of the most affecting tunes Talking Heads ever recorded; the closing-credits theme "City of Dreams" is similarly touching. Elsewhere, there is filler -- touching upon gospel, country-western, zydeco, and sundry other Byrne influences -- but the band's skill at arranging an album and maintaining a mood remains intact. So while True Stories may remain a regrettable chapter in the band's history, it's certainly not an embarrassing one. © Michael Hastings /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 15, 1988 | Parlophone UK

Talking Heads' last proper studio album before their protracted breakup finds them returning to the dynamic that produced their best work, with inspired results. As swan songs go, Naked proves to be a pretty good one: Alternately serious and playful, it once again allows frontman David Byrne to worry about the government, the environment, and the plight of the working man as it frees up the rest of the band to trade instruments and work with guest musicians. It's closest in spirit to Remain in Light -- arguably too close: The first side is a collection of funky, syncopated, almost danceable tunes; the second, a murky, darkly philosophical rumination on identity and human nature. The major difference is a Latin influence replacing Light's African rhythm experimentation, most evident on the album openers "Blind" and "Mr. Jones," as well as in drummer Chris Frantz's decision to use brushes and softer percussion instruments (as opposed the big beat sound he offered up on Little Creatures and True Stories). With the venerable Steve Lillywhite behind the boards and such luminaries as Johnny Marr, Kirsty MacColl, and Yves N'Djock punctuating the credits, the album sounds technically perfect, but there's little of the loose, live feel the band achieved with former mentor Brian Eno. It's quite a feat to pull of a late-career album as ambitious as Naked, and the Heads do so with style and vitality. But no matter how much the liner notes may boast of free-form invention and boundless creativity, the album's elegiac, airtight tone betrays the sound of four musicians growing tired of the limits they've imposed on one another. © Michael Hastings /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 16, 2001 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released June 10, 1985 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released January 15, 2007 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 12, 2011 | Parlophone UK