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Talking Heads - Remain In Light CD (album) cover


Talking Heads


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4.19 | 233 ratings

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4 stars This is really good. Not groundbreaking though. "What?! Not groundbreaking?" You might have heard of Holger Czukay's "Movies" (1979), right? Now that one is truly original. "Remain in Light" sounds very similar to the former. It has the sonic experimentation and stylistic divesity, but in that range of diversity "Movies" does not have the Afro-beat, and it consists of only four tracks, two of each go well over ten minutes. Yay, the prog-rock spirit! Gosh, those two records are so similar!

Anyway, let's discuss "Remain in Light" alone. The reason why I gave this album a four is because it lacks the idea of novel insanity that was explored on the classic '72-'74 Yes albums. 'Crosseyed and Painless' and 'The Great Curve' do not raise the bar at all, although the latter's guitar solos are just nutty. But my intuition tells me it's just not enough. They just don't raise the bar Steve Howe had set. The record just doesn't get on my deepest senses. Maybe it's because the focus of the group, as well as Eno, was grooviness, not the economics and saturation of texture. I mean, the songs are groovy, but they do not sound intoxicating like, say, 'Paper' or 'I Zimbra' on "Fear of Music." And, as I have said before, it's not that original. Besides, there are a couple of simply decent songs and one 'braindead' song (that would be 'The Overload'), and I still can't remember what the latter sounds like. And now that I have remembered what it sounds like, at least it's moody a la Joy Division, which I don't mind much. But it still sounds like a throwaway. Like a duplicate (or brother, if you like) of 'Drugs', also from "Fear of Music." Oh, tread carefully: some of those ditties may be a bit too long for you.

But the experiments on this puppy are cool enough and the songs are really rhythmic. That's what makes most of the songs on this record so tacky. I caught 'Crosseyed and Painless' on Pandora and did some research on the record. It did take me quite a few listens before I started digging that style. 'Born Under Punches', 'The Great Curve', 'Once in a Lifetime' - they are all awesome. The thing that makes this album so interesting is the mastered mix of styles such as Afro-beat, funk, electronica (courtesy of Fela Kuti himself), experimental music, and pop. It seems like the group with Brian Eno had pinned down a kind of a distinctive formula for about six tracks on the album. It's actually funny: it is the very same mix that led my mother to believe that it sounds a lot like Jewish music. I don't know. Maybe. And she was fine with that kind of music. It's not weird that she was annoyed with that same band's pre-previous effort "More Songs About Buildings and Food" (unbeknownst of that.) Why it's not weird? Because "Remain in Light" marks the group's almost complete departure from rock-n'-roll (although there are some huge, but bizarre, rock slices on 'The Great Curve'.)

By the way, if you ask me what my biggest favorite track on the record is, I would say: "Well, it used to be 'Crosseyed and Painless.' Now it's 'Houses in Motion' (just ... nyah! ... catchy!)" Allow me to also note that for over a year I did not care much for the last four tracks of the album. Maybe because their production sounds so thin compared to the first four tracks of the record. But hey! Get over it! Give those songs as many chances as they need. After all, they need not be overlooked. That's good stuff!


'Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)' - ****

'Crosseyed and Painless' - ****

'The Great Curve' - ****

'Once in a Lifetime' - ****

'Houses in Motion' - ****

'Seen and Not Seen' - ***

'Listening Wind' - ***

'The Overload' - **

Stamp: "I like it."

Dayvenkirq | 4/5 |


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