Talking Heads - Remain In Light (Cover Artwork)

Talking Heads

Talking Heads: Remain In LightRemain In Light (1980)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: MorphineSandwichMorphineSandwich
(others by this writer | submit your own)

To most people, they weren't punk. They aren't really, particularly in this album. They're more of an art-punk band, or art-funk, or something. They sang non-trite songs with non-trivial lyrics about trivial subjects for the first few albums. They got weirder. Remain in Light was their moment of unb.
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To most people, they weren't punk. They aren't really, particularly in this album. They're more of an art-punk band, or art-funk, or something. They sang non-trite songs with non-trivial lyrics about trivial subjects for the first few albums. They got weirder. Remain in Light was their moment of unbridled genius. In broken lyrics and chords, they changed my world, at least.

Talking Heads' Remain in Light is one of those albums that seems as brilliant and fresh today to my young ears as it did to my father's in 1980. Today's garage-rock scene is just a pale attempt at sounding like the '77 punk bands, which means when The Strokes grow up, they'll dream of sounding like this. I guess the closest thing I could give for a reference point would be a much darker, more intense, more serious Hot Hot Heat, but that doesn't come close.

To listen to even just the first five tracks on Remain in Light is to be torn apart by David Byrne's vocals, which were inspired by the desperate melodramatics of a televangelist. Listen to the tracks the first time and all you might get out of it is the cheesiness of late 70's synthesizers. Yeah, there's beeps and boops and whatnot, but it all fits into the music more than any other synth I've ever heard. The synth and bass were done by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the married 'Heads who went on to form Tom Tom Club, makers of some of the best dance tracks of the last fifteen years.

So the musical ability is there, but what does it sound like? What could I say to give you a point of reference? I don't know. The music of the Heads was schitzophrenic, but not in a way I've ever heard elsewhere. The bass is high in the mix, and the guitars aren't playing full chords, but broken ones. Most of the songs have maybe one or perhaps two chords per song, and the guitar is very repetitive, but it's not guitar-driven music. The synth in the background carries it, forming the perfect background to David Byrne's stilted raving.

The lyrics are... broken, just like the music. They strike me as being intensely hopeless and fearful, which is probably the case. David Byrne's fascination with women seems evident as well here. The subjects of the songs are always women, or David himself. He seems terrified, or maybe just neurotic, but that's typically him.

In fact, I can't say that anything happening on this album is particularly out of character for Talking Heads, except that this disc is some of the most incredible music I've ever heard. It's only eight songs, but they're all amazing.

Buy it today.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
th3space (May 17, 2003)

I seem to recall the Heads performing a song off of this album on Saturday Night Live...any idea as to what song that might have been?

FortyMinutesWest (May 16, 2003)

The Chinese place out here has something called Happy Balls, but they weren't nearly as happy as you'd think.

Anonymous (May 16, 2003)

crab rangoon sweet and sour sauce

FortyMinutesWest (May 15, 2003)

What about those fried noodles they give you sometimes, and you dip them in sweet and sour sauce. Hell yeah.

Bryne (May 15, 2003)

I do! Soy and duck compliment each other so well.

FortyMinutesWest (May 14, 2003)

Yes. So, who likes soy sauce?

Anonymous (May 14, 2003)

could this thread be any more off topic?

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 14, 2003)

Yeah, see I listened to Veni Vidi Vicious a couple years ago and didn't get it. Then I listened to it again after they got gigantic and thought it was pretty cool. I'm such a poseur.

FortyMinutesWest (May 14, 2003)

I thought they were bad before they were big, I couldn't understand why Epitaph would distribute their stuff, now we all know why.

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 14, 2003)

I don't like the Hives, I just don't think they're as awful as everyone makes them out to be. THAM SINED A MOLTYNASHINEL $1000000000000000 BELLYUN $$$$$ KONTREKT!!! THAM R 4 POSEURS!!!

FortyMinutesWest (May 14, 2003)

So wait, you like Murder by Death better than Clue, AND you like The Hives?

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 13, 2003)

You guys should quit talking such worthless gibberish. What you're saying makes absolutely no sense.

Anonymous (May 13, 2003)

Tehse guyz r 20 years old and are old fogeys. Thjey are not punk rawk ok d00ds. Todays punk rawk of nfg and gc rock my socks. Teh talking head, clashes and ramons are all washed up. They arent even punk rawk. Make way for teh new skool!!!1

TheOneTrueBill (May 13, 2003)


i'm just kidding. I like 'em well enough.

Anonymous (May 13, 2003)

Unfuckingbelievable. This is the personification of the African drum, of cocaine and strobe. Some of the most interesting rhythms ever put to tape. Absolute ten. Perfect.

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 13, 2003)


FortyMinutesWest (May 13, 2003)

Clue > Murder By Death

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 13, 2003)

Yeah, but at least Murder By Death is an awesome movie. Sure, Clue had Lee Ving but Murder By Death had TRUMAN CAPOTE and an even more ridiculous ending.

Bryne (May 13, 2003)


Finally, a Talking Heads review.

FortyMinutesWest (May 13, 2003)

Murder by Death is the most ridiculous band name ever, closely followed by Feable Weiner and Hot Potty.

REALPUNX4LIFE (May 13, 2003)

Hoo r tha tawkn hedz??? Thay sond liek a poseur bend nam!!! if thay war arund b4 nofx!!! thay r poseurs n nut punx!!! panywiz 4 lief!!! oi oi oi!!!

fallingtopieces (May 13, 2003)

id also like to add that "Trunk Full Of Dead Bodies" is the most ridiculous name for a band ever, yes even more ridiculous than Excruciating Terror, Scrotum Grinder, and Church Of Misery.

fallingtopieces (May 13, 2003)

i think that most will agree that "Stop Making Sense" is the greatest live show on dvd ever.

Anonymous (May 13, 2003)

i think that most will agree this is their best album.

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