Talking Heads - Remain In Light (Vinyl)

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Way back in 1980, the original wave of Talking Heads fans were pleasantly stunned to hear Remain in Light, produced and co-written by Brian Eno, on which Byrne and company are joined by guitar god Adrian Belew, and funk legends Bernie Worrell (keyboards) and Steven Scales (percussion), among others, for a fuller, funkier sound nobody imagined they had in them. The first three songs are long, layered, full-body dance parties, with incessantly repeated phrases (musical and lyrical), and increasingly catchy melodic hooks that won't let go for days. "Once in a Lifetime" was the big hit, but the rockingest track is the third, "The Great Curve", after which the songs get more linear and subdued. It's still great stuff, right through to the especially Eno-like droner, "The Overload", but the second half is maybe better to sleep to than dance to. Which is fine: after the exuberance of the first three songs, you'll need a little nap.

This album sounded ahead of its time for the best part of two decades. It is a groundbreaking record of the order of Revolver or Marquee Moon: one of the undoubted masterpieces of the whole rock era. Setting existential dilemmas to propulsive African rhythms, and offering global perspectives at a time when globalization was still much less advanced than it is now, Remain in Light is one of the most expansive and forward-looking records of that or any era.
   Of particular note is the way that the music mirrors the themes. The first side is comparatively upbeat and vibrant, though dark shadows linger from the start. However catchy the rhythm of the album opener is, the title, Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On), reveals that the band is not offering a reductive idea of African music as celebratory and festive. Nonetheless, on side A, the rhythm is in the foreground and the themes of dispossession and alienation are less pronounced.
  That all changes on the second side, which progresses from the suburban alienation of the all-time classic Once in a Lifetime through a number of jittery, avant-garde pieces to the stunning Listening Wind, a disturbing tale of a Native American man in the grips of despair and rage. From there we come to the Malthusian nightmare of The Overload, which David Byrne has said was a kind of tribute to Joy Division. This album ends on a warning note, with Byrne surveying some kind of future wasteland, his voice a mere croak of despondency. So much for happy endings.

By: Paddlesteamer

A1 Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) 5:46
A2 Crosseyed And Painless 4:45
A3 The Great Curve 6:26
B1 Once In A Lifetime 4:19
B2 Houses In Motion 4:30
B3 Seen And Not Seen 3:20
B4 Listening Wind 4:42
B5 The Overload



Record Label : Sire