Often compilation or live records are things that are avoided because of their unorderly style when compared to a studio record, but no record or live record comes close to the magnificent display that is Stop Making Sense. The film itself is accompanied by one of the strongest scores to a movie that has more to do about the exhibition of sound and performance than it does the visualization.
The minimalist stage that is set by the Talking Heads illustrates and reflects nearly perfectly off of their outfits which are often rather natural cream colors or whites that are displayed by David Byrne from the first track. As he explains to a shouting and clapping audience, “Hi, I got a tape I wanna play,” then to have the TR-808 drum machine bumping in the background is a manipulation of the audience. With this acoustic guitar that is a shining example of track identity on “Psycho Killer,” Byrne is a master by his own hand. He explains, “You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it. You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything” with these sudden breaks in electronic percussion that act almost as if they were gunshots through the sound.
As a record, Stop Making Sense is an imaginative performance stretched over the conscious of nine different members who bounce in and out of the tracks forming this grasp on the audience. The film portions are a better understanding of how the looks come with the sound, capturing brighter and more recognizable traits even if the Talking Heads were never introduced before. The musician craftsmanship is entirely influential as tracks like “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel,” or “Burning Down The House” which are staples in the discography that still reign today.
Stop Making Sense uses Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Steve Scales, Alex Weir, and Bernie Worrell as the instrumentalists, then Lynn Mabry, and Ednah Holt as the backing vocalists as well as the rest of the cast. Every musician here has a vital role even when providing just harmonization or adding extra fill-in for the guitar sections. The way that Talking Heads were able to form a monster of nine-heads as this conquering machine of intrigue and performance art is admirable and cascades throughout history as time continues.
One of the final moments when the band reaches “Take Me To The River,” the track creates an ensemble of togetherness as a clear final cut wrap to Stop Making Sense. Often identified for the large, oversized suits that covered the shoulders of Byrne, or the outstanding powerhouse of expression; in any way, Stop Making Sense captures the essence of capability for a live record and how potential can be used to uplift a generation.