Talking Heads is a band that was able to pull off the impressive tightrope walk of being both critical adored and commercially successful. They are a “cool” band that’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and appeared on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time countdown. They played at CBGB and had their music covered by the Muppets. They remain beloved even though they haven’t released anything new since 1988’s Naked, and they likely will never get back together, as David Byrne does not seem to get along with the rest of his former bandmates. However, despite this, they put together an excellent catalog of music, including the 10 songs selected here to serve as the top 10 they ever recorded.
- “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)”
This is one of the most well-known, and most popular, Talking Heads songs. If you didn’t include it in a top 10, people would likely complain. However, you can’t really place it as high in a top 10 as others. It’s a good song, a very good one, but it’s not quite as strong as a lot of people feel. After all, it’s the “naïve melody” because Tina Weymouth, the bassist, played guitar, and David Byrne, the guitarist, played keyboards. It’s sort of a feel good goof that really grabbed people. Well, what are you going to do? It’s a catchy, fun song.
- “Girlfriend is Better”
“Girlfriend is Better” appeared on Speaking in Tongues, originally, but it didn’t become a single until the live version from Stop Making Sense was released. It was a fitting single from that film, because the title came from the lyrics of the song. It’s, you know, a Talking Heads song. A lot of repetition in the lyrics and a sheen of mystery and inscrutability to the proceedings, even if it clearly, to some degree, is about a guy pondering his relationship with his girlfriend. It’s a good song. Sometimes, that’s all there really is to say.
- “Take Me To The River”
Technically an Al Green cover, but still one of the most notable Talking Heads songs, as their version reached No. 26 on the charts. Obviously, Talking Heads have a very different sound than the soulful Al Green, but that’s what makes this a great song for them to cover. They could put their own take on it, and at a time when they weren’t quite the prominent band they would become. They started with a good song, and they took it to another level.
- “And She Was”
Talking Heads is a band who knows how to make a propulsive song. A lot of their music, or at least their best music, chugs along like a train, keeping the energy high. “And She Was” is no exception. Apparently the song is about a girl on LSD, but, unlike a lot of songs about acid, it’s not loaded down with boring descriptions of psychedelic imagery. It’s just a good, cool sounding song you can enjoy, and you might not even know what it’s about, because it doesn’t really matter.