Heard in 2012 (14): Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ (1977)


It’s taken me a while but I’ve finally acquainted myself with the genius of Talking Heads. The band hails from one of the most brilliant and productive musical scenes in recent history—New York City in the mid-70s. The band made their debut opening for The Ramones at CBGB, a stage they shared in those years with the likes of Television, Patti Smith and Blondie.

An anxious song with quirky lyrics about a murderer of few words, ‘Psycho Killer’ is possibly the most bizarre pop song ever written. Strangely enough it’s one of Talking Heads’ best known songs in the pop music world. I think that has to do with the infectious energy of the song—the pulsating bass guitar and drums, the fractious guitar lines, and David Byrne’s staccato vocal delivery. And then there are the bits in French. It’s hard to know whether the singer is the killer or is singing to him.

Qu’est-ce que c’est? It’s the right question.


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