Speaking of Talking Heads…

The band reconvened in 1986 to record a sort of soundtrack for David Byrne’s directorial debut, True Stories. I say “sort of”, since the album mostly consisted of the Heads covering versions of songs from the film, but in the movie they were actually performed by the actors. Only three songs from the soundtrack were performed by the band in the movie – “City of Dreams”, the album’s big hit, “Wild Wild Life” and the opener, “Love For Sale”.

A recitation of commercial catchphrases set to a driving beat, “Love For Sale” was also the album’s second single, showcasing a more rocking Heads than we’d heard in quite a few years. The song is built around a stinging guitar hook, not exactly what the group was best known for, which may be way it fared so poorly. Also, the commercial taglines as romantic come-on may seem clever at first until one asks, what exactly is Byrne’s point? Is it an indictment of commercial culture? No, he never gets there. Is it just a random idea that is funny at first but doesn’t hold up under closer scrutiny, like the last five seasons of Friends? Probably. To be fair, the song works in the context of the movie, as it’s immediately followed by a commercial where John Goodman’s character advertises for a wife.

The video is a hoot, though, successfully marrying clips from real commercials with footage of the band inserted. As far as the movie goes, the promo was featured in a sequence where Swoozie Kurtz’s bed-bound TV addict watches it while flipping aimlessly through channels as an automated machine feeds her.

While True Stories the film is a little too Big City Art Types Look At the Country Bumpkins For Amusement, the “Love For Sale” sequence is worth seeing just to hear the Edith Massey-like non-sequiturs Kurtz’s character mutters as she watches the video, such as “kissin’ cookie!” and my favorite as the band is drenched in melted chocolate, “…LOVE chocolate!”

“Love For Sale” did not chart.

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