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Remain In Light

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Album Review

The musical transition that seemed to have just begun with Fear of Music came to fruition on Talking Heads' fourth album, Remain in Light. "I Zimbra" and "Life During Wartime" from the earlier album served as the blueprints for a disc on which the group explored African polyrhythms on a series of driving groove tracks, over which David Byrne chanted and sang his typically disconnected lyrics. Remain in Light had more words than any previous Heads record, but they counted for less than ever in the sweep of the music. The album's single, "Once in a Lifetime," flopped upon release, but over the years it became an audience favorite due to a striking video, its inclusion in the band's 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, and its second single release (in the live version) because of its use in the 1986 movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills, when it became a minor chart entry. Byrne sounded typically uncomfortable in the verses ("And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"), which were undercut by the reassuring chorus ("Letting the days go by"). Even without a single, Remain in Light was a hit, indicating that Talking Heads were connecting with an audience ready to follow their musical evolution, and the album was so inventive and influential, it was no wonder. As it turned out, however, it marked the end of one aspect of the group's development and was their last new music for three years.

Customer Reviews

Groundbreaking. Eno produced.

The ITunes "entrenched" review consistently misinterprets Byrne’s music. To call Byrne’s lyrics “disconnected” is odd. Even a cursory reading of the lyrics to almost any Talking Head’s song presents a coherent narrative or a focused slice of life. Granted, he uses unusual phrases and concepts not typically found in “pop” music- but, after all, this is a guy who came to music from art school. Further, what the reviewer suggests is Byrne being “uncomfortable” in the verses of Once in a Lifetime is actually Byrne's interpretive and expressive choice designed to reflect the disassociation one can have with what seems idyllic. Finally to call the lyric “letting the days go by” a reassuring chorus is plain wrong. In fact, the line is about how we may passively accept our situation- unwilling or unable to break with the traditions and social constraints of everyday expectations. This is summed up by the final line repeated 20 times, “same as it ever was.” Same as it ever was.

Plain great

Very simply one of the most intelligent, inspired, original albums ever recorded.


nobody rates their old albums BEFORE they became famous! come on... if your a real fan of this band, you should be at least lookin at this!!! ps... im not even a big fan of them!


Formed: 1974 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. When they released their last album about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmic worldbeat explorations and simple, melodic guitar pop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Heads became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s, while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of their music can seem too...
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