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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Talking Heads Look as Good as New

‘Stop Making Sense’ is a time capsule into a legendary band in their prime.

I remember the first time I heard “Psycho Killer,” the infectious baseline, the groovy guitar chops, David Byrne iconic chorus, I was immediately hooked. As I dived deeper into The Talking Heads discography I fell in love with their energy, catchiness and unwillingness to be constrained by conventional musical standards. They were unlike any other band I had ever heard.

“Stop Making Sense” perfectly encapsulates what makes The Talking Heads such a unique and special band, capturing that sensation that made fans like me, love The Talking Heads in the first place.

“Stop Making Sense” was recorded over three nights in Los Angeles during the “Speaking In Tongues tour.” The Talking heads were fresh off of their first mainstream hit “Burning Down the House” and could basically do no wrong. The past three records they had released, “Fear of Music,” “Remain in Light” and “Speaking in Tongues” had all gained immense critical success and had sent The Talking Heads into the stratosphere of art rock. 

This confidence and swagger is apparent in “Stop Making Sense.” Every member of the band, including the extras, are always smiling. This effect rubs off into the audience as it’s nearly impossible to not have a great time while watching this film. Whether it’s David Byrne making a hilarious facial expression or Tina Weymouth dancing, it’s hard not to end up laughing. The camera is always panning to the faces of the band members as they make goofy faces and smile constantly.

Ethan Halter, a senior at Summit High School is a relatively new Talking Heads fan. On his first watch of “Stop Making Sense” he noted how funny the band’s antics can be. 

“I couldn’t stop laughing at his (David Byrne) Big suit, it looked so ridiculous” 

The silliness may scare some people away who may prefer musicians who carry themselves more seriously. For most, these quirky moments make for an engaging watch unlike other concert films. One of the funniest moments of the movie is during “Life During Wartime,” where David Byrne completely abandons the mic and starts running circles around the stage as the camera hilariously tracks his movement. Moments like these separate The Talking Heads from other bands who take themselves too seriously.

It’s clear how much effort The Talking heads put into their live performances. David Byrne in particular is such an incredible performer. He makes it so there is not a single dull moment during the 88 minute duration with his awkward dancing and intense delivery. Throughout the film there are many creative visuals that make the concert feel very cinematic. One standout shot is during the song “What a Day That Was” when the band members are completely blacked out and you can only see their shadows on the back wall. It really feels like you’re part of the crowd throughout the performance, singing along with David Byrne while dancing in your seat, and cheering at the end of each song. Seeing the interactions between the band members and the extras really brings the audience closer to the band. It’s easy to see how close knit and friendly The Talking Heads heads are. The close up shots make it feel like you are also on stage, in on the ridiculous antics.

The music isn’t sidelined for the performance. The sound quality is clear and raw at the same time. It’s quite impressive how well the audio was restored from the original version 40 years ago. Songs such as “Burning Down the House” are arguably better in “Stop Making Sense” than their studio counterparts having even more energy and personality.

As well as the audio the visuals are impressively restored, making the movie feel as good as new. It’s intriguing to see the young Talking Heads in such high quality. Even in the closeups, every single detail looks like it was filmed with a modern camera. It feels as if you time traveled back 40 years and are seeing the band perform live. As a young Talking Heads fan, it gives me the opportunity to experience what it must’ve felt like to see this legendary band live while bringing me closer to the band during their prime.

“Stop Making Sense” is the golden standard for live performances. In an age where artists sing over backing tracks of their own songs, it’s refreshing to see a band that cared so much about their concerts. It shows how, if live music is taken seriously, can make one’s connection with an artist greater and enhance the music experience overall. Up and coming musicians should look towards Films like “Stop making Sense” to see how powerful Concerts can be.

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About the Contributor
Will Beltramini
Will Beltramini, Website Editor
Will Beltramini is a senior here at Summit High School. You can often find him on the soccer field preparing for his next game or listening to his large record collection with his dog. Will loves nothing more than the outdoors, whether backpacking, biking, trail running, Will enjoys it all. In addition to this, Will also enjoys hitting the slopes of Bachelor with his snowboard and exploring different cultures through traveling. This is his second year writing for The Pinnacle, and he is excited to be one of two website managers.

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