Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense ★★★★½

If I were David Byrne
I'd go to galleries and not be too concerned
Well I would have a cup of coffee
And I'd find my surroundings quite amusing and
People would ask me which were my favorite paintings

So I went through a slight Crash Test Dummies phase in college. Mock me if you must. Blame my roommate. We were pretentious, precocious sophomores enamored with anything that dealt with death and God and art. Naturally my favorite song on that album was "When I Go Out With Artists," but I never really grasped why they'd single out David Byrne as their emblem of artistry. The Talking Heads guy? Who wore the too-big suit and sang "Burning Down the House," which I never really got into when I was 9? Huh.

Embarrassingly, I only really discovered just how clueless I was about Byrne and Talking Heads about six months ago. And after finally seeing STOP MAKING SENSE, it's difficult imagining anybody else to single out as the artist any pop musician would aspire to be, or be like.

What could David Byrne possibly feel insecure about at a gallery, or hanging out with artists of any stripe?

What could David Byrne possibly ever need to answer for or explain?

It's all there. In the music. In the performance. On the stage. On the screen. Byrne, the band, the way it's captured and put on display – the definition of sui generis.

Make a lot out of Byrne and co's antics or nothing at all and just go along for the ride. Opening with Byrne + guitar + boom box, then gradually adding members and musical elements... Never cutting away to the audience and never really even showing them until the final number, making it feel as if the group is performing for you, nobody to indicate how to respond/react, nobody to siphon the manic energy emanating from the stage...

Pauline Kael called it "close to perfection" and she's right. Half-star deduction for Chris Frantz's turquoise golf shirt.

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