Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

One of the best concert films of all time gets its hi-def due with this lovingly curated reissue “Stop Making Sense.” Directed by Jonathan Demme, “Sense” captures the Talking Heads at their squirrelly best, spasmodically jumping between new wave, funk, and arty Afro-pop with a crack band of ace sidemen that included Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, and Lynn Mabry. The Talking Heads found their footing slowly, evolving from willfully experimental Rhode Island hipsters to a merry band of world music vagabonds, and Demme frames their journey with a stage setup that opens slowly; for the opening number, “Psycho Killer,” David Byrne comes out with nothing but his guitar and a boombox. He’s joined by bassist Tina Weymouth on the next number, they’re joined by Chris Frantz next, Jerry Harrison follows Frantz, and so on and so forth, until the whole entourage is under the lights, making the most joyously paranoid racket of the ‘80s.

The Blu-ray transfer doesn’t scrub every last scratch or speck of dust from the frame, but knowing the Talking Heads, that may very well have been intentional; in any case, it makes for fine viewing at 1080p, despite periodic minor problems with the picture, and the sound – presented here in a pair of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes that let the viewer choose between the equivalent of audience and soundboard recordings – more than makes up for any visual flaws. The special features include audio commentary from the band and director (everyone’s tracks separately recorded, natch), along with other bonus content ported over from the DVD version (bonus tracks, storyboards, a few minutes of Byrne interviewing himself), plus Blu-ray exclusive footage of the 1999 press conference that reunited the band for “Stop Making Sense’s” 15th anniversary screening. There’s a short list of concert films whose contents justify a $34.99 list price, regardless of format. This is one of them. (UMVD)

Click here to buy “Stop Making Sense”


Your favorite band sucks: bands and artists the Bullz-Eye music writers just “don’t get”

Every music lover has been there – in front of the television or a set of speakers, listening for the first time to the work of a critically revered artist whose songs are supposed to change the way you look at the world…only to come away wondering what all the hype was about. For the iconoclastic among us, these moments are opportunities to prove what independent thinkers we are; for everyone else – a group that often appears to include virtually every name-brand music critic on the planet – they’re opportunities to turn off your ears, nod your head, and smile. What kind of self-respecting music writer doesn’t love the music of Bruce Springsteen? U2? Elvis Costello? A total hack, right?

Your favorite band sucks Maybe. Or maybe we tend to forget that one of the most wonderful things about art is the utterly objective way we respond to it. One establishment’s treasure can be one lonely listener’s source of constant befuddlement, consternation or outright rage – and with that in mind, your Bullz-Eye Music staff put its heads together and drew up a list of all the bands and artists we’re supposed to love…but don’t. Each of the writers who contributed to this piece is speaking solely for himself, and you’re sure to disagree with some of the names mentioned here – and, of course, that’s sort of the point. But enough of our introductory babble – let’s break down some critical idols!

The Doors
“…don’t even think about describing their sound as “timeless”; you’ll be hard pressed to find music as trapped in time as these peyote-fueled dirges, and no one summed up the life and legacy of Jim Morrison – whose death was as brilliant a career move as you’ll ever see – better than Denis Leary: ‘I’m drunk, I’m nobody. I’m drunk, I’m famous. I’m drunk, I’m fucking dead.'”

Bruce Springsteen
“Perhaps Jello Biafra put it best when he referred to Bruce Springsteen as ‘Bob Dylan for jocks.’ But I can sum up what I dislike about the majority of the Boss in one word: Glockenspiel.”

Pink Floyd
“If you’re 14 and discovering pot, Pink Floyd’s a must. Hell, Dark Side of the Moon is practically a gateway drug in and of itself. If you’re out of high school and still into ’em, you’ve got a problem.”

Conor Oberst
“…his songs are duller than a steak knife in a prison cafeteria. I’ve tried repeatedly to ‘get’ Oberst’s work, but each time, I come away further convinced that his music is an elaborate prank hatched by the editors of Pitchfork.”

To read the rest of the bands Bullz-Eye doesn’t get, click here.