‘Everyone’s Getting Involved’- re-imagining of Talking Heads iconic ‘Stop Making Sense’ ironically doesn’t make any at all

Talking Heads’ ‘Stop Making Sense’ is the best live album ever made. Feel free to disagree, but you’d be wrong.

The exceptionally strange and beautiful LP – alongside its Jonathan Demme-directed film counterpart – goes down as one of the most influential and innovative pieces of pop music ever created.

So, it’s no surprise that, following the news of A24’s remastering and re-releasing of the 1984 film, there was a line of alternative and indie pop stars ready to re-record the iconic tracks for the counterpart tribute record.

In true Talking Heads style, it’s post-modernly titled ‘Everyone’s Getting Involved’ – and it’s true, they are.

No more than 19 artists – from pop darling Miley Cyrus to former emo kids Paramore, to Brockhampton frontman Kevin Abstract – do indeed get involved.

The problem is, they just don’t sound good.

Cyrus opens the album with her bombastic and overproduced dance rendition of Psycho Killer, during which she rewrites the iconic chorus and, well, practically the whole instrumental.

And I get it; performing a song for these tribute cover albums must be awkward.

If you do the same song in the same style, you’ll get called boring and uninventive.

If you completely change the song, you’ll get accused of butchering it by die-hard fans.

And if on the original live LP David Byrne completely stripped back the tune to just an acoustic guitar and electric drum beat, why can’t Cyrus reimagine the song to a maximalist, huge electronic anthem, right?

So, I get it, I really do.

I just don’t believe it works, though; and that for me, is the theme running through the album.

Take Kevin Abstract’s re-recording of ‘Once in a Lifetime.’

Here we have one of contemporary music’s most interesting and creative individuals covering one of the best and weirdest tracks from a legendary band.

This should sound like winning the lottery, and yet, it’s just a dud; boring, in fact.

Same with DJ Tunez’s afrobeat, jazz-infused ‘Life During Wartime;’ I go back to the idea that none of this really works.

And if you take a step back and look at the whole concept of this record, why would it?

The Talking Heads oozed creativity; they loved fucking things up.

On Stop Making Sense, they reimagined their own discography.

They were their own tribute band – so why would they need anybody to do the job for them now?

There are a few decent moments, noticeably Lorde’s ‘Take Me to The River’ and Girl in Red’s ‘Girlfriend is Better,’ but only because of how faithful they are to the originals, and even then, I’d rather be seeing David Byrne run around the stage in his big suit.

Everyone’s Getting Involved, and that’s fine.

But someone should remind them: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Featured Image Credit: Alternative Press

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