Dandy Classic Track of the Day #42 – Talking Heads

Due to vacation and unforeseen illness I haven’t had a chance to keep up with the Dandy Classic Track of the Day’s lately and for that you have my apologies.

“Lifetime Piling Up” Talking Heads (Sand In the Vaseline, 1992)

What the heck kind of band were the Talking Heads? Were they something from an Andy Warhol sketch come to life? Often lumped into the punk-rock scene due to them playing extensively and cutting their teeth at CBGB in the clubs’ 1970’s salad days, the band was more punk in spirit than musical approach.

Featuring the idiosynchratic David Byrne on vocals, the band became every scenester’s favorite band in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s due to their intelligent, off-kilter songwriting style that was art-pop-meets-R&B-meets-world-music approach. Not only that, but these cats could write a hook with a catchy melody with the best of them (Psycho Killer, Burnin’ Down the House, And She Was, et al). But they were sophisticated enough to play to the college rock crowd and rhythmically diverse to be played at a dance club if need be.

This track is one of their lesser-known tunes, but may be my all-time favorite track by the band. First of all it comes out the speakers like a demon as it feels like you’ve been dropped into the middle of the room where the bands already been playing for some time. With chilling key work and a deft bass they create the atmosphere of paranoia that Byrne paints immediately by intoning:

“I have tried marijuana I get nervous everytime there will come a knocking on the door

Why is everybody making eyes at me? I don’t want to know…”

But the highlight is the chorus. So catchy it will get stuck in your head guaranteed if you listen more than once. It also has one of the most unique instrumental breakdowns before the final verse featuring some kind of accordion. And when he counts off 1-2-3-4-5 at the end the group takes the song to its climax in tremendous fashion.

This song was an outtake for the band’s last studio release “Naked” and finished when they put together the excellent double-disc best of “Sand In the Vaseline” (which served as my personal introduction to the band when it was released) along with two other songs “Sax & Violins” and “Popsicle”. More often than not when a band ends up tacking on new cuts to greatest hits and best-of’s it has the feel of being thrown-in, but “Lifetime Piling Up” is the exception to the rule. I’m so convinced I’m going to listen one more time.


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