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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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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 10/10

"Remain In Light" is one of the most important albums of all time, that defined rock music as we now it today.

Talking Heads are now regarded as one of the most important and influential rock artists of all time. David Byrne and his band, before "Remain In Light", had gained a lot of attention in the post-punk scene, for being the most eclectic and experimental outfit that was labeled punk around. In 1980 though Talking Heads outdid themselves, creating a timeless masterpiece that even today is hard to match.

Art-Punk is probably the most comfortable way to define the music; in fact, it is neurotic, tense, wild, like Post-Punk, but arranged in a way that is everything but that: Third World influences, Funk, Soul, Progressive. It might sound like a huge melting pot, but it isn't that at all. Each song is studied and written with such attention and dedication that apparently it sounds very spontaneous. The sounds and the production here are perfect, captivating and phenomenal, the musicianship is top notch. The songwriting is very original; some songs have a few hooks, and eventually almost all of them will be pasted one on another, creating a sort of organized confusion; it doesn't occur in all of the tracks, in fact, they are present almost exclusively in the first part of the album

The album represents perfectly the metropolitan and globalized world that was back in 1980 and still is today. A flawless reflection of ourselves, trapped in the everyday urban jungle, in a post-industrial era, struggling to survive finding ways to forget that we're completely lost. This is all told thanks to the poetry of David Byrne and producer Brian Eno, who was considered the fifth member of the band, because of his huge contribution to the album. The lyrics are abstract at times, and it can be hard to understand the deep meaning of some of them, but in others they're clearly explicit, loud and clear, even though always transmitted through surreal lenses.

The structure of the album is extremely original, having never seen something this conceptual, with the exception of Byrne and Eno's solo album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts", "Remain In Light"s twin, released the following year. The first three songs have an overall cheerful mood, and an ascending tempo from song to song; "Born To Punches" is moderate, "Crosseyed and Painless" fast, "The Great Curve" very fast. These three songs represent the lighter side. "Once In A Lifetime" is in the exact middle of the album; it's mysterious but very fascinating in the verse, bright and happy sounding in the chorus. This is in a way an anticipation to the second half of the album, which starts with "Houses In Motion", a half-Spoken Word song, very tense and sort of creepy in the verse thanks to the abstract beats and arrangements, but it still has a pretty cheerful chorus. Things get darker with "Seen and Not Seen", lyrically very fascinating, musically mysterious and a little gloomy too. This one though is pretty much all Spoken Word. "Listening Wind" is very mellow, melancholic, and sad sounding, and lyrically it is in my opinion the best song here, being a story about a native American living in America, seeing all the new inhabitants of his town and wanting to burn every building down. So far the darkness in the second part of the album got more present with each song; coherently wih the theme and struture of the album,"The Overload" is probably one of the darkest and gloomiest songs I've ever heard. Bleak, agonic, this song is a masterpiece and simply the only one that could have ended "Remain In Light".

This is an absolute must listen. An essential masterpiece that everybody should be aware of and appreciate. That way, maybe the world could rise from the gray for a little bit and remain, just for a little bit, in light.

EatThatPhonebook | 5/5 |

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