Thursday, May 31, 2007

Talking Heads- Remain In Light

Year: 1980
Genre: Post-Punk

Highlight Tracks: "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)", "Listening Wind", "The Overload"

As much as I love the memories of my youth, when listening to albums like this I sometimes wish I could trade in my BJ & The Bear afternoons to have been in college during the original Punk/Post-Punk period. Music then was so frigging weird and exciting; you never knew what somebody was going to cook up next.

Take this incredible album by Talking Heads. On Remain In Light they go off the deep end with their Brian Eno collaboration to create an incredibly innovative sound. A perfect fusion of Talking Heads' trademark spastic energy, Eno 70's prog, and world music beats. The perfection is found in the balance of these three elements. The music on Remain In Light sounds like an entirely new genre even today. At times it is almost hard to believe humans made this.

Later the Talking Heads and Byrne in particular would embrace world music to the point where it would detract from their originality, but on Remain In Light they keep those elements in check, using the funky beats as an accent rather than some kind of "Kumbaya" sitting in a circle holding hands malarkey. I find a kindred spirit for this album with The Good, the Bad, and the Queen. Both bands incorporate music highlights from several cultures to create terrific new sounds.

This whole damn album is a highlight track. But if I had to pick a few I'd recommend "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" for its awesome Adrian Belew guest guitar and freaky Kraftwerk/Devo electronic noodling. This song builds and builds while Byrne vocally jabs at your ear; the result is a production masterpiece. "The Great Curve" has vocal harmonies that (almost) put Jawbox and The Pixies to shame.

And I am still waiting for Michael Mann to use the double-shot of "Listening Wind" and "The Overload" in one of his movies.

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