Naked (Talking Heads album)
|Studio album by Talking Heads|
|Released||March 15, 1988|
Studio Davout in Paris;
additional recording & mixing at
Sigma Sound Studios in Manhattan.
|Genre||New wave, art punk, worldbeat|
|Producer||Steve Lillywhite and Talking Heads|
|Talking Heads chronology|
Naked is the eighth and final studio album by the American rock band Talking Heads, released in early 1988. The band dissolved shortly after the album's release, but didn't announce their breakup until 1991.
Initial pressings were one of the first and few CDs from Warner Bros. Records to be encoded with CD+Graphics, a videotext-type signal with song lyrics, instrumentation, chords and other information, viewable on a standard television from a compatible CD or Karaoke-CD player. The graphics were produced by Warner New Media and designed by M&Co. Such discs were identified by a sticker on the CD's shrinkwrap and as part of the CD label artwork.
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 one bonus track on the CD side ("Sax and Violins", from the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World). 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 "Blind" and "(Nothing But) Flowers". 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.
Wanting to try something different after their use of regional American music and the pop song format on their previous two albums, Little Creatures and True Stories, Talking Heads decided to record their final album in Paris with a group of international musicians. Prior to leaving for France, the band recorded about 40 improvisational tracks that would serve as the foundation for the sessions in Paris.
In Paris, the band, along with producer Steve Lillywhite were joined by a number of other musicians in the recording studio where they would rehearse and play for the entire day. At the end of each day, one take was selected as being the ideal version of a particular tune.
In the interest of freedom for the musicians, it was decided that lyrics and melodies would be left until later. The lyrics were not overdubbed until the band returned to New York. Many of David Byrne's lyrics were improvisations sung along with the prerecorded tracks until he found something that he felt worked. In this way, the melodies and lyrics evolved in a similar fashion as the songs themselves.
Naked was released to a generally positive response by critics. Anthony DeCurtis, a reviewer at Rolling Stone magazine, rated the album four out of five stars. He stated that "stylistically bold and intellectually provocative, Naked is a dizzying and disturbing piece of work" and that it "marks a return to the more open-ended, groove-oriented style the Heads defined on Remain in Light." He noted that "the vital human harmony suggested by the international band of players [...] is the strongest counterpoint to the album's pervasive themes of alienation and dread." He concluded by interpreting the view of the album's lyrics: "The human race consists of some pretty cool people, [...] but it's got a very destructive monkey on its back. Human survival is not guaranteed. With humor and good-hearted-ness [sic], hope and fear, Talking Heads contemplate a world on the eve of destruction on this important record — and leave wide open the question of what the dawn will bring."
Music critic Robert Christgau rated Naked a B+, signifying "a good record, at least one of whose sides can be played with lasting interest and the other of which includes at least one enjoyable cut." He stated that "where Paul Simon appropriated African musicians, David Byrne just hires them, for better and worse – this is T. Heads funk heavy on the horns, which aren't fussy or obtrusive [...] the words don't matter – it signifies sonically." However, he called, "(Nothing But) Flowers" a "gibe at ecology fetishism that's very reassuring".
In a retrospective review, Michael Hastings, a reviewer for music database website Allmusic, rated the album three out of five stars. He stated that "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". He further stated that "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 off a late-career album as ambitious as Naked, and the Heads do so with style and vitality." He concluded that "the album's elegiac, airtight tone betrays the sound of four musicians growing tired of the limits they've imposed on one another."
- "Blind" – 4:58
- "Mr. Jones" – 4:18
- "Totally Nude" – 4:10
- "Ruby Dear" – 3:48
- "(Nothing But) Flowers" – 5:31
- "The Democratic Circus" – 5:01
- "The Facts of Life" – 6:25
- "Mommy Daddy You and I" – 3:58
- "Big Daddy" – 5:37
- "Bill" – 3:21 (CD/cassette-only bonus track)
- "Cool Water" – 5:10
- "Sax and Violins" [2005 reissue bonus track]
- David Byrne – vocals, guitar, keyboards, toy piano, slide guitar
- Chris Frantz – drums, keyboard percussion
- Jerry Harrison – french piano, keyboards, tambourine, guitar, slide guitar, backing vocals
- Tina Weymouth – bass, keyboards, electric organ, backing vocals
- Johnny Marr – guitars on "Ruby Dear", "(Nothing But) Flowers", "Mommy Daddy You and I", and "Cool Water"
- Brice Wassy – percussion on "Ruby Dear", "(Nothing But) Flowers", "The Facts of Life", and "Big Daddy"
- Abdou M'Boup – percussion, talking drum, congas, cowbell on "Blind", "Mr. Jones", "Totally Nude", and "(Nothing But) Flowers"
- Yves N'Djock – guitar on "Blind", "Totally Nude", and "(Nothing But) Flowers"
- Eric Weissberg – pedal steel guitar on "Totally Nude" and "Bill", dobro on "The Democratic Circus"
- Mory Kanté – kora on "Mr. Jones" and "The Facts of Life"
- Wally Badarou – keyboard on "Blind" and "The Facts of Life"
- Manolo Badrena – percussion, congas on "Mr. Jones" and "Mommy Daddy You and I"
- Sydney Thiam – congas on "The Democratic Circus", percussion on "Bill"
- Lenny Pickett– saxophones on "Blind" and "Big Daddy"
- Steve Elson – saxophones on "Blind" and "Big Daddy"
- Robin Eubanks – trombone on "Blind" and "Big Daddy", "Mr. Jones"
- Laurie Frink and Earl Gardner – trumpets on "Blind" and "Big Daddy"
- Stan Harrison – alto saxophone on "Blind" and "Big Daddy"
- Al Acosta – tenor saxophone on "Mr. Jones"
- Steve Gluzband – trumpet on "Mr. Jones"
- Jose Jerez – trumpet on "Mr. Jones"
- Bobby Porcelli – alto saxophone on "Mr. Jones"
- Steve Sachs – baritone saxophone on "Mr. Jones"
- Charlie Sepulveda – trumpet on "Mr. Jones"
- Dale Turk – bass trombone on "Mr. Jones"
- Moussa Cissokao – percussion on "Ruby Dear"
- Nino Gioia – percussion on "The Facts of Life"
- Philippe Servain – accordion on "Totally Nude"
- James Fearnley – accordion on "Mommy Daddy You and I"
- Phil Bodner – cor anglais on "Cool Water"
- Don Brooks – harmonica on "Big Daddy"
- Kirsty MacColl – backing vocals on "(Nothing But) Flowers" and "Bill"
- Alex Haas – whistling on "Bill"
- Nick Delre – assistant overdubbing engineer; mixing on "Mommy Daddy You and I"
- James Farber – mixing on "The Facts of Life", "Totally Nude", "The Democratic Circus", "Big Daddy", "Mr. Jones"
- Fernando Kral – overdubbing engineer; mixing on "Cool Water"
- Richard Manwaring – recording engineer
- Jean Loup Morette – assistant engineer
- Joseph Williams – assistant engineer
- Jack Skinner – mastering
- Mark Wallis – mixing on "Blind", "The Democratic Circus", "Ruby Dear", "(Nothing But) Flowers"