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Talking Heads Talk About Selena Gomez’s ‘Bad Liar,’ Which Interpolates ‘Psycho Killer’

Variety logo Variety 5/18/2017 Roy Trakin
© Provided by Variety

Talking Heads in 1983, with Tina Weymouth (far left) and Chris Frantz (on drums).

The bass pulse that runs throughout Selena Gomez’s new single, “Bad Liar,” is unmistakable to anyone attuned to the late ‘70s New York punk-rock scene which revolved around clubs like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City: “Psycho Killer”!

The interpolation of Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth’s driving riff from the band’s 1977 song forms the backbone of the new track co-written by Gomez’s frequent collaborators, Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels (who are two of the biggest hitmakers of the past few years, with DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean,”Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Fifth Harmony’s “All In My Head” and Gomez’s “Hands To Myself” between them. 

“Selena, Julia and I are all Talking Heads-obsessed,” Tranter told Variety , who added that the bassline was the original inspiration for the tune, which lyrically refers to one’s ability to hide their emotions about a new love.

Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Greg Sowders – who represents the songwriting duo, along with the Talking Heads – made sure the usage earned the band’s approval.

Talking Heads dummer Chris Frantz (who is also Weymouth’s husband) responded in an e-mail to Variety, “So great to hear the legacy of our song, ‘Psycho Killer,’ and Tina’s legendary style of bass playing, quoted so prominently.  Was a big surprise and a delight to learn that a new generation is getting introduced to both.”

The typically soft-spoken Weymouth, who usually lets her bass-playing do the talking, was more succinct. “It’s good to be appreciated.”

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