Tom Tom Club - 1981
Knowing that half the core creative force in this oddball dance act comes from seminal 80's band the Talking Heads has always been in my head. Knowing how swimmingly quirky their debut album is came way later. The disc has a virtual smorgasbord of funk, synth, hand claps, and general what-the-heck-ama-doozery.
Tom Tom Club makes dancing happen; true. The first two songs, "Wordy Rappinghood", and "Genius of Love" are probably two of the most sampled/lifted from songs of 1981. You may never have heard these originals before, but you'll recognize their chords from a lot of songs that you do know. Why copy from Tom Tom Club? These songs are insanely catchy. When listening, it is basically impossible not to be dancing. Trust me, I have tried standing still and it doesn't work. I ended up twitching and it was really awkward. So... more about this record; Tina Weymouth and singing sisters chirp along to each beat to beat tune. Sometimes they seem to be singing together, but often it's like a cacophonous conversation from a gaggle of funky art ladies. The power to the people jam "On, On, On, On...", which sounds like it was recorded in somebody's den, is probably the most catchy tune on here. The lyrics are simple and motivating: on and on, we will come, there are scores of us. You'll be singing along in short order. "As Above, So Below" has a ticklish rhythm section and some unusual percussion. Synthesizers percolate in and through every inch of this tune. It has a throbbing bump bump bump zip zap zooie zooie zap zim bump thing that just DOES NOT QUIT! Play this entire album before leaving the house for the day and you will be energized four hours, or at least long enough to bike yourself to work.
As far as side projects go, expectations usually end up high and results end up low. This is a respectable exception. Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth never stop creating the things that made Talking Heads so great. They just added more fun and ridiculously talented musicians to the mix and went to the clubs with it. On a recent tour stop in Silver Spring the VV'ers got to check out the still poppy and peppy group. For some fairly over the hill folks they sure made a racket! Fun.
Tom Tom Club's sound reminds me of a slinky.