Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Talk Talk - Natural History (1990)


A "best of" compilation of songs from the group's four albums released 1982-1988, plus a b-side and two live bonus tracks.  Talk Talk worked in moody, minor key synthscapes; sometimes it works for me, sometimes not.  Over time, the band moved from New Wavish synthpop to straight ahead pop to prog rock.  When you do stuff like that, it's hard to develop a following - those moves are more fulfilling for the artist than for fans.  Singer/group leader Mark Hollis never really liked the business end of the recording world so he naturally didn't like the EMI label profiting from re-releasing his work as a compilation:
A compilation album is not my idea of an album. I don't like compilation albums and I didn't like that one. It certainly wasn't the selection of tracks I would have liked even if there had to be one. But, at the end of the day, they had every right to do it so…
(from Melody Maker, September 7, 1991)

Nonetheless, Talk Talk only released five studio albums but have released no fewer than 14(!) compilations. Hollis may be a contrarian after my own heart, but he's also got one of the more distinctive voices of the eighties - I always enjoy his vocals.   In any case, only about half the songs here have been ripped to files.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  It's My Life is not only my favorite Talk Talk song, it's one of my favorite eighties songs (it's also the group's only US Top 40 single). Other top picks are Talk Talk, Dum Dum Girl, Give It Up, Life Is What You Make It, and I Believe In You.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  I had a cassette dub of the group's debut album, The Party's Over, and I bought the LP of It's My Life.  Not long after I had purchased the album, I was at a high school pool party near graduation. They had a Houston rock radio station playing (probably 101 KLOL) and I was stopped in my tracks when I heard the single It's My Life played alongside Ozzy and AC/DC.   Never heard it again on that station, but I was pleasantly surprised that afternoon.


I had this very bumper sticker (with metallic skull) on the back of the Markmobile, circa 1984.

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