November 21, 2008

Papersnow

Sorry I vanished for a while there. At least I'm late enough that now it's Friday again. This time around I would like to direct your attentions to a song from the ill-advised 1996 attempt to reunite Talking Heads without David Byrne, calling the band "The Heads". The one album released by the Heads, "No Talking Just Head", featured vocals by many completely credible indie vocalists, including Debbie Harry, Richard Hell, Johnette Napolitano (of Concrete Blonde), and Gordon Gano (of Violent Femmes), contributing their own lyrics and melodies on top of music written by Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz. Unfortunately, these singers all brought their D game when it came to their contributions, possibly because the music they were given to work with wasn't all that great. The only successful song that came out of the whole project was the one co-written and sung by XTC's Andy Partridge; his twisty and clashy melody line works wonders on the slow funk backing track. The section (30 seconds in) that goes "Ankle deep we heroes amble, ankle deep we'll wade, ankle deep through someone else's ticker tape parade" is simultaneously dissonant and catchy, and makes it sound like we've moved into a completely new bridge section even though nothing changes in the music. Good stuff.

The Heads with Andy Partridge, "Papersnow" (click through for download link)

Posted by Francis at 09:04 AM
Comments

Huh. I had a Heads track (the "No Talking Just Head" one with Debbie Harry) from the Virtuosity soundtrack, which I got when I was in high school for Christmas. I never figured out that it had a Talking Heads origin. The song is pretty good, actually, if you're not comparing it to Talking Heads at all.

Posted by: A White Bear at November 21, 2008 10:54 AM

I'll go back and give that one another listen. At the time I remember my entire interaction with that CD being a lot of skip button action until I put "Papersnow" on a mix tape.

Posted by: Francis at November 21, 2008 10:59 AM

Finally Francis mentions an album I actually own! It's a pretty uneven disc, but my highlights would be "Damage I've Done" and "No Big Bang." And I used to like "Indie Hair," but modern rock radio kind of played the hell out of it.

Posted by: The Dan at November 21, 2008 12:21 PM

An Andy Partridge song I didn't know existed!

A backing track that makes me want to yank my teeth out just for the distraction it would provide!

I am, if you'll pardon the pun, torn.

Posted by: Robert Hutchinson at November 23, 2008 04:04 PM

Ah, right, as opposed to the Johnette Napolitano who's the governor of Arizona. Wait, hold on--

Posted by: Lance at November 24, 2008 08:55 PM

Oh, huh, there's a British psych/stoner-rock band called The Heads. They're good if you like that sort of thing. I guess they should be called The Heads UK. Except I think they've been around since before 1996.

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