Song of the Week #1: Talk Talk

Talk Talk by smallsins

I love pop. My earliest memories of music usually involve 1050 CHUM, which was the local oldies radio station here in Toronto up until about a year ago, when it suddenly went off air and turned into an AM news station. There is a certain pleasure in the utter simplicity of oldies top forty music and lyrics, which is, when perfectly executed, somehow enduringly complex. Such is the intention with a lot of my music, I suppose -although I feel like an asshole even trying to compare myself to something so holy to me. ‘Talk Talk’ was one of those songs that was supposed to be pure pop: pure catchy, quick, to the point and fun.

This one began as a 30-second spot I was asked to do for a cell phone commercial. Music for advertising is something I regularly do on the side (although I won’t tell you what you’ve heard by me for fear of embarrassment). Sometimes I have to sell my soul to make ends meet, but that is another subject altogether. In any case, much of the music I do for spots like this never actually gets used. ‘Talk Talk’ was one such case.

Usually I get too far out of my genre when I’m doing ads to make any material useable for Small Sins, but once in a while I hit on something by accident that is just too tempting not to use. ‘On The Run’ from Mood Swings is an example of this. That was originally a song that Todor and I did together for an ad that never aired. It was such a good beginning of an idea that we couldn’t not use it for something real, so we did a full version and put it on the record.

Also, ‘Talk Talk’ was also one of those songs that you just keep coming back to. Months after the first demo had already been finished, the melody kept popping back into my head. The Clapper must have had the same inclination, because after he heard it, he was bugging me for months me to finish it for a Small Sins record. So Steve, Kevin and I got together in my studio one day and worked out as tight an arrangement as we possibly could, and recorded the full-length version. The song is just over three minutes long, yet somehow we managed to fit in multiple choruses, a bridge, a solo, a key change, and a breakdown. Oh – and an intro and an outro, too. That doesn’t happen too often within three minutes.

So: Steve played guitar, we used old drum samples from another session with Brent, and The Clapper clapped. Four out of five Small Sins members on one track? Also kind of unheard of at the time. And there you have it: the pop gem that is ‘Talk Talk’. Not a lot of galloping horse samples in oldies top forty, and I guess not too many synths and programmed drums either, but somehow I feel this song is an homage to that era.

Realistic MG1 – bass/arpeggios
Omnichord – organ/swipes
Moog Little Phatty – octaves

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