Naked The final studio album by the Talking Heads, it is also one of their best albums, and much better than their almost pop sounding Little Creatures and True Stories. It marks a final return to the complex rhythmic structures and multi layered sound that made me love the band in the first place.
CD Although this album yielded no radio hits, the songs on Naked are : Blind, Mr. Jones, Totally Nude, Ruby Dear, (Nothing but)Flowers, The Democratic Circus, The Facts of Life, Mommy Daddy You and I, Big Daddy, Bill and Cool Water
CD EXTRAS The song Sax and Violins is also included.
DVD-Audio Side Four tracks are on the DVD side, advanced resolution 5.1 surround sound, and advanced resolution stereo for those with DVD-Audio players, and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound and PCM stereo for those with ordinary DVD players. All the tracks are very well done, but my favorite is hands down the Advanced Resolution Surround Sound mix.
DVD extras a 5.1 mix of Sax and Violins is presented as well as two videos Blind and Sax and Violins.
Of the final Studio Album remix, mixer Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison stated, Naked was an attempt to return to the recording techniques of Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues; layered polyrhythmic tracks that interacted with each other to create moving textures as well as melodies and rhythms. We recorded Naked in Paris and were able to include some incredible East African musicians. The album was well suited to the style of surround mixing Eric Thorngren and I developed for Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues with the sound state of a band in front of you and events spreading around you to the rear. We also included "Sax and Violins" which had been featured in the Wim Wenders movie Until the End of the World, because it had come from that session (Jerry Harrison from the liner notes to Naked)
My comments on the Surround Sound Mix
First, I'll tell you, I never owned this album or heard it before. I was out of college when this album came out, and busy in law school, so when I picked up Naked with the box set, it was my first listen to the album. I don't think I had picked it up, because one, I had never heard any songs on it on the radio, and two, I was mostly disappointed with True Stories, so I stuck with my earlier Talking Heads albums. So, in a sense, this is my review, albiet almost twenty years too late, of the band's final studio album.
Blind I immediately took a liking to this song, as it hit me with not only the underlying bass and drum beats, Byrnes driving vocals, but also a full horn section! Wow, I have been missing out on this album for almost two decades! The horn section is spread all across the front soundstage, and they sound terrific!
Mr. Jones not to be confused with that ninties tune by a band I can't recall, this Mr. Jones is a funky fun filled track again with multiple layers of percussion, woodwinds, and horns filling the sound stage. Mr. Jones put a wiggle in your stride Loosen up, I believe he'll be alright. Changing clothes, now he's got ventilated slacks bouncing off the walls, Mr. Jones is back! The song combines an almost Cuban band rhythm with the sound of the Talking Heads.
Totally Nude is next with an island like beat, with Byrne playfully singing totally naked baby, totally nude, because if I want to who's gonna stop me, I'm absolutely free, livin in the trees, the birdies and the bees, 'cause I'm a nature boy. It's a relaxed song, but with a fun rhythm. I think I can hear steel drums in it, and a slide guitar. I feel like I'm on a sandy beach with a margarita in my hand listening to this song.
Ruby Dear round and round and we won't let go, and where we stop no one knows uh huh uh huh, yet they resist the urge to make the music go round and round.
(Nothing But) Flowers begins with banging of multilayered drums. Just as you get into the drums, the rest of the band joins in filling the room. there was a shopping mall, now its all covered with flowers you've got it, you've got it if this is paradise, I wish I had a lawnmower
The Democratic Circus This song begins with dark rhythms and growling guitars. found out this morning, there's a circus comin to town. they drive in cadillacs using walkie talkies and the secret service. It's a cool song to listen to.
The Facts of Life another song returning to earlier complex songs, an almost industrial sound begins this song. mon key see and mon key do, ma king ba bies ea ting food. The song pulses and grinds like a huge machine as Byrnes voice narrates above it all.
Mommy Daddy You and I This is another song that seems to be a simple story, yet the music creates ominous undertones Mommy daddy, you and I going on a trip, and we're not going home
Big Daddy brings the horn section back full force and Bill is another ominous tale that hints at events not told in so many words. Cool Water is the final cut from the studio album, and I enjoyed the various instruments coming in and out of the surround sound channels on this track. The bonus cut Sax and Violins has a sound and style that perfectly matches the rest of the album.
Summary Although this album had not one recognizable Talking Heads song on it, it was still a great album. I was glad to see the band end with an album like their early 80s albums rather than the simpler pop like tunes of True Stories I do think it is too bad that the group never went back into the recording studio again. I really felt that their last album, really merits five stars. It actually combines the density of an album like Remain in Light while giving it the pop listenability of Little Creatures. You can either go out and buy this Dual Disc, or splurge and get the whole Talking Heads Box Set Dual Disc Brick!