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Talking Heads - Remain In Light CD (album) cover

REMAIN IN LIGHT

Talking Heads

 

Prog Related

4.15 | 125 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Some people just don't know when to shut up, and with a name like Talking Heads one shouldn't expect economical use of language, but on Remain in Light David Byrne suffers from a particularly severe case of runoff at the mouth that has him blabbing, in an obvious free association psycho-speak sort of way, every little thing about himself and his mountain-out-of-a-molehill 'psychological' problems to the point that we beg for some sort of dignity and candor but are only given more bleak-eyed self generated paranoia.

What happened to the Talking Heads, they had such a groovy thing going before it all went to their (Talking) Heads. More Songs about Buildings and Food was a great little art rock album and a breath of fresh air in the then decaying world of rock music. All of a sudden they forgot about cool quirky sarcastic songs about everyday phenomena and decided to go for the (cue Jim Morrison voice)'big artistic statement', always a mistake in the world of rock unless you are the young Bob Dylan. This isn't a terrible album at all, but the overreaching self-conscious lyrics and phony musical expansions have not aged well and they can come across as kind of embarrassing.

This album starts off OK, some of the early songs are kind of catchy despite David's voice and words being a hindrance from the get go, but things really bog down when we get to side two. On the last three songs of side two the tempo drops and David brings out the couch to tell us all about it and things get so insufferably suffocating that I expect to see the Lizard King himself rolling around on the stage floor trying to remember who he is.

As most people know, this really isn't a T Heads album, but more likely a hostile coup by Byrne and producer Eno that left personal relations in the band in shambles. Overall this album comes across as an attempt to recreate Eno-Byrne's excellent Bush of Ghosts album, only they decided to replace amusing taped found vocals with Mr Byrne and that is where things go wrong. Taped rabid preachers sound a lot better on top of Byrne/Eno's pseudo African grooves than Byrne's attempts to imitate said preachers. On the plus side, Byrne's attempts to imitate some popular African music is not terrible, but On Listening Wind they blatantly rip-off Jon Hassell's 'fourth world' rhythm style and are even 'nice' enough to let him solo on it as well. The whole excursion seems very forced.

Some of the music on here is nice if you can block out the 'lyrics', but if you want to hear Byrne and Eno doing their funky world groove thang, check out My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. If you want to hear The Talking Heads do their funky nue wavo anglo groove thang, then check out More Songs About Buildings and Food.

js (Easy Money) | 2/5 |

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