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Talk Talk - Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk CD (album) cover

NATURAL HISTORY: THE VERY BEST OF TALK TALK

Talk Talk

 

Crossover Prog

3.32 | 22 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This compilation shows chronologically the stylistic evolution of TALK TALK from the rather plastic- sounding New Wave / synth pop period to the deeply individual and introvert art rock of their last two albums, with a slight quantitative emphasis on the strong album in between, The Colour of Spring (1986), and sadly very little from the final masterpieces. It's more or less in the unimaginative "Greatest Hits" manner, ie. includes those songs that have appeared as singles and music videos. The version I had contained a bonus DVD of almost identical track list (just missing some songs of the CD). I'm not going to speculate whether this is a good compilation and how it should have been made to better please us more demanding listeners, instead I'll be the first reviewer to deal with the videos.

Two catchy synth pop songs are taken from The party's Over (1982), 'Today' and 'Talk Talk'. The latter appears twice with no major differences in the visual expression - the poorer version could simply have been left out. Quite typically to the era, the group's image featured clean white shirts, shaved cheeks and angular, semi-angstic body language especially by vocalist Mark Hollis. I must say their contemporaries such as DURAN DURAN made much better videos right from the start.

The non-album song 'My Foolish Friend' (1983) already shows some improvement in the songwriting, and the mostly outdoor video filled with working class misery stands better multiple viewings. Then we enter the finer sounds of the 2nd album It's My Life (1984). The video for 'Such a Shame' features Hollis in black and bright orange clothes, standing in the middle of the screen against minimalistic background for the most of the time, opening his big mouth very wide in playback singing and smiling almost disturbingly. This kind of video imagery was taken further in Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer'. Also 'Dum Dum Girl' has two takes, very similar to each other (now long-haired, John Lennon -looking Hollis singing to a microphone in an open sunny field). The first take is more carefree with even some improvising on the real live vocal parts, and the second one features some skillful picture editing. Funny but I actually like both of them without much questioning the need for both. 'It's My Life' is a nice video consisting mostly of wild animals and some minor graphics.

Also the nocturnal video of 'Life's What You Make It' is filled with nature; Hollis playing piano - there are lots of close-ups of keys covered with tiny mist drops or centipedes walking on them. In fact this is one of my favourite music videos from my early youth, and also 'Living in Another World' had remained quite well in my memory. The basic idea is Mark Hollis playing the grand piano and the other band members pushing themselves towards him against a strong wind, or hanging on a floating part of the instrument. The shadowy camera work is of high artistic quality.

'Give it Up' is taken from Live at Montreux 1986. Good stuff! 'I Believe in You' (from Spirit of Eden, 1988) ends the DVD mostly with multilayered images of Hollis; minimalistic but stylish.

Matti | 3/5 |

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