More Songs About Buildings and Food

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More Songs About Buildings and Food
Studio album by Talking Heads
Released July 7, 1978 (1978-07-07)
Recorded March–April 1978
Studio Compass Point Studios in Nassau
Length 41:32
Label Sire
Talking Heads chronology
Talking Heads: 77
More Songs About Buildings and Food
Fear of Music
Audio sample
"Found a Job"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[5]
Christgau's Record Guide A[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[7]
The Irish Times 5/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[11]
Uncut 5/5 stars[12]

More Songs About Buildings and Food is the second studio album by the American rock band Talking Heads, released in July 1978. The album was the first of three Talking Heads LPs produced by collaborator Brian Eno, and saw the group move musically toward a danceable style, crossing singer David Byrne's unusual delivery with new emphasis on the rhythm section made up of bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz.

The album established the group as a critical success, reaching 29 in the US Billboard Pop Albums chart and 21 in the UK Albums Chart. The album featured the group's first Top 30 single, a cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River."


More Songs About Buildings and Food was released on July 21, 1978.[13] It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The album's one single, a cover of the Al Green hit "Take Me to the River", peaked at number 26 on the pop singles chart in 1979. The single pushed the album to gold-record status.[14]

The album was ranked at No. 4 among the top "Albums of the Year" for 1978 by NME, with "Take Me to the River" ranked at No. 16 among the year's top tracks.[15] In 2003 the album was ranked number 382 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006 it was ranked the 45th best album of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media. It was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the greatest albums of 1967–1987.

In 2005 it was re-released and remastered by Warner Music Group on their Warner Bros., Sire and Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format, with four bonus tracks on the CD side ("Stay Hungry" (1977 version), alternate versions of "I'm Not in Love" and "The Big Country", and the 'Country Angel' version of "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel"). The DVD-Audio side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and videos of the band performing "Found a Job" and "Warning Sign". In Europe, it was released as a CD+DVDA two disc set rather than a single DualDisc. The reissue was produced by Andy Zax with Talking Heads.


Writing for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann said:

If the band's sound seems more conventional, the reason simply may be that one had encountered the odd song structures, staccato rhythms, strained vocals, and impressionistic lyrics once before. Another was that new co-producer Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing. Where Talking Heads had largely been about David Byrne's voice and words, Eno moved the emphasis to the bass-and-drums team of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz; all the songs were danceable, and there were only short breaks between them.[14]

Reviewing the album for Pitchfork's "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s", Nick Sylvester said:

More Songs About Buildings and Food transformed the Talking Heads from a quirky CBGB spectacle to a quirky near-unanimously regarded "it" band. New producer Brian Eno can take his due credit for the album's success, smartly tightening up the rhythm section's energy for more dance-oriented beats and a more prominent role in general, though without taking the limelight off head Head David Byrne's nervous sputters. Byrne's own songwriting was, as the album titled suggested, in the same quotidian vein as '77, though perhaps Buildings and Food has slightly more vitriol, especially on album closer, "The Big Country", Byrne's indictment of the South. More Songs About Buildings and Food probably could have survived as a cult album by a cult band, but what really opened up the Talking Heads for a national audience was the band's slinky cover of Al Green's famous "Take Me to the River", which put them on the top 30 singles charts for the first time.[16]

Artwork and title[edit]

The front cover of the album, conceived by Byrne and executed by artist Jimmy De Sana, is a photomosaic of the band comprising 529 close-up Polaroid photographs.[13]

The rear cover of the album shows a satellite image (taken by one of the Landsat satellites) of the United States.[nb 1]

Concerning the album's title, bassist Tina Weymouth was quoted in an 1979 interview with Creem magazine:

When we were making this album I remembered this stupid discussion we had about titles for the last album," Tina smirked. "At that time I said, 'What are we gonna call an album that's just about buildings and food?' And Chris said, 'You call it more songs about buildings and food.'[17]

XTC frontman Andy Partridge claimed in a tweet, however, that he gave the title to Byrne.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by David Byrne, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel" 2:11
2. "With Our Love" 3:30
3. "The Good Thing" 3:03
4. "Warning Sign" (writers: Byrne, Frantz) 3:55
5. "The Girls Want to Be with the Girls" 2:37
6. "Found a Job[a]" 5:00
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Artists Only" (writers: Byrne, Wayne Zieve) 3:34
8. "I'm Not in Love" 4:33
9. "Stay Hungry" (writers: Byrne, Frantz) 2:39
10. "Take Me to the River" (writers: Al Green, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges) 5:00
11. "The Big Country" 5:30
2005 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
12. "Stay Hungry (1977 version)" (writers: Byrne, Frantz) 3:45
13. "I'm Not in Love (Alternate version)" 5:15
14. "The Big Country (Alternate version)" 5:01
15. "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel ("Country Angel" version)" 2:12


Harrison and Byrne (right) with Talking Heads in August 1978 at Jay's Longhorn Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Talking Heads

Additional musicians

  • Brian Eno – synthesizers, piano, guitar, percussion, background singing
  • Tina and the Typing Pool – backing vocals on "The Good Thing"




Year Chart Position
1978 Billboard Pop Albums chart 29
UK Albums 21


Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Take Me to the River" Billboard Pop Singles 26


Organization Level Date
RIAA – US Gold November 16, 1983

Cover versions of songs[edit]

  • Toadies covered the song "I'm Not in Love", which appears on the soundtrack to the 1996 film Basquiat.
  • Local Natives covered the song "Warning Sign" on their debut album, Gorilla Manor.
  • Electric Six covered the song "Girls Want to Be with the Girls" on their cover-album Mimicry and Memories (2015).[20]


  1. ^ "The back cover is a reproduction of "Portrait U.S.A.", the first color photomosaic of the United States. It is made up of 569 photos taken from space by the LandSAT satellite. Each photo in the mosaic is made up of four separate photos of different parts of the light spectrum: Green, Red, and two different Infra-red regions. These light regions were chosen because they help bring out the differences in geographical forms and types of vegetation. Each image is made up of many scan lines, much like a T.V. picture ... analog information is converted to digital information and then transmitted to various ground receiving stations. This information is then converted into a black-and-white picture corresponding to each spectral region. These can then be combined to make the color pictures that are used in this mosaic. In the version reproduced on the cover, the information from the green spectral region is printed as yellow, the red region is printed as magenta, and the infra-red region is printed as cyan. This is called a false color image. In this version vegetation appears as turquoise, rocks and soil appear as red, yellow, brown, and towns, roads, and water appear as black. Objects as small as 33 feet are visible on the LandSAT photos if the object is in contrast to its environment. The practical applications of the LandSAT photos are many, some of which are forest-fire damage, regional planning, assessment of land use: Which crops are being grown where, mapping of ice for shipping, mapping and detection of air and water pollution, and monitoring surface mining.
    "Portrait U.S.A." is copyrighted by the General Electric Co., 1976. It was produced by their Beltsville Photo Engineering Lab with the assistance of the National Geographic Society and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration".[Record inner sleeve]


  1. ^ Aaron, Charles (August 2004). "New Wave". Spin. New York: 104. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ Grimstad, Paul. "What is Avant-Pop?". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Gittins, Ian (September 1, 2004). Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime, The Stories Behind Every Song. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 39. ISBN 0-634-08033-4. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (May 6, 1990). "Talking Heads On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  8. ^ Courtney, Kevin (January 13, 2006). "Talking Heads: 77/More Songs About Buildings and Food/Fear of Music/Remain in Light". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ Emerson, Ken. "Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings And Food". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 29, 2001. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  10. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 394. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  12. ^ Shapiro, Peter (February 2006). "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth". Uncut (105): 82. 
  13. ^ a b Gimarc, George, Punk Diary, p. 148.
  14. ^ a b William Ruhlmann. "More Songs About Buildings and Food - Talking Heads - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Barbara Charone (October, 1979). "More Songs About Typing and Vacuuming". Creem, n.p.c. link. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  18. ^ "XTC on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Discogs - Benjamin Armbrister - profile and discography
  20. ^ "Final track listing for Mimicry and Memories". Retrieved 29 March 2015.