Most Potent Blend: Talking Heads, “Creatures Of Love” (1985)

I’ll call it the chocolate principle of art:  for maximum binding appeal, find a way to mix strong opposite qualities into each other, like sugar-sweet with cocoa-bitter, to produce an amazing combination.[1]

You could mix weird into sweetly normal in the emotional tone of an experience.  Of all the striking effects of tone the Talking Heads have achieved, one of the strongest for me comes in “Creatures of Love,” played in a convincing country-pop idiom (or rather in a convincing art-rock appropriation of country-pop idiom) while praising sexual reproduction from the perspective of someone who has to ask “Am I one of those human beings?”:

Well I’ve seen sex and I think it’s alright
It makes those little creatures come to life

It all comes to a head in the melisma of “love”:

We are creatures—creatures of lo – o – o – ove

(which you have to wind yourself up to sing properly), an all-mixed-up conviction, a meld of genres and sexual partners and the delighted discovery that what you wildly forced together hoping would blend actually did, does, will.

“Creatures Of Love”

[1] My chocolate principle is not to be placed among the seven principles of Teresa Cheung’s book Better Than Sex:  Chocolate Principles to Live By (Boston:  Conari, 2005), which in its title thesis at least is utterly contrary to the thrust of this post.


About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
This entry was posted in Passions & Attitudes, Rock Aesthetics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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