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Album #326: Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club

  • Released: 1981
  • Origin: Nassau, The Bahamas
  • Label: Island/Sire
  • Best Track: Genius of Love

I heard Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius of Love’ recently, and it’s one of those songs people are likely to recognise, but not know who it’s by or what it’s called. It’s a catchy, funky number, complete with what is a pretty cool animated video for 1981!

Named after a Bahamian venue in which they first rehearsed, Tom Tom Club were kind of a side project from Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, although they’ve outlasted the Heads and are technically still active, though they haven’t released anything since 2012.

I’ve never really managed to get into Talking Heads, and in truth I didn’t expect to like this debut album much either, but I’m actually very fond of it! It’s about as poppy and dancy as you can get while still clinging on to a post-punk/new wave edge. Take opener ‘Wordy Rappinghood’, apparently a UK top 10 hit, but a pretty silly song with typewriter noises, comical vocals and gibberish lyrics (“A rap rap here and a rap rap there”). Yet, it’s a nice tune that retains “indie” credibility, somehow.

The krautrock-esque repetition of ‘As Above So Below’, and the more bass-driven ‘Lorelei’ and ‘On On On On…’, all play their part in a playful, likeable record you want to play again once it finishes. Enjoyed this a lot!

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