|1. Born Under Punches|
|2. Crosseyed And Painless|
|3. The Great Curve|
|4. Once in a Lifetime|
|5. Houses In Motion|
|6. Seen And Not Seen|
|7. Listening Wind|
|8. The Overload|
Each time Remain in Light’s 40 minutes pass you by there’s likely to be something new to hear. Fidgety opener Born Under Punches is one of a handful of cuts that seems to get itself locked into an infinite loop – a good thing. It, like the equally muscular, equally wired The Great Curve, utilises club-land repetition mapped to Afrobeat-at-double-speed architecture to create an end product that’s utterly hypnotic.
Remain in Light wasn’t the first time Talking Heads, helmed by the inimitable David Byrne, had worked with producer Brian Eno. Nor was it the first time they’d incorporated elements of "world" music: debut set Talking Heads: 77’s opener, Uh-oh, Love Comes to Town, features steelpan sounds from the Caribbean. But it was (is!) the indubitable zenith of both the band’s Eno collaborations and their explorations beyond art/post-punk and new wave templates.
Whilst Byrne and bandmates’ intentions from the outset were framed by the desire to experiment, Remain in Light is a perfectly accessible affair, never losing sight of the following Talking Heads had attracted via minor single hits like Psycho Killer and their cover of Al Green’s Take Me to the River.
This mainstream-savvy sensibility is encapsulated by Once in a Lifetime. Far from Remain in Light’s most riveting moment, it’s nevertheless the ideal introduction to this set: Eno’s introduction of Fela Kuti-inspired rhythms lends the track a savant edge, but Byrne’s aspiration-meets-realism lyricism connects with a universal audience. With MTV offering support come the station’s 1981 launch, the track was Talking Heads’ best-known song until it was out-radio-played by 1985’s Road to Nowhere.
Road to Nowhere’s parent LP, Little Creatures, can’t match Remain in Light’s bravado, though. This fourth album illustrates how keen ambition could gel with commercial nous, with results that dazzle. Even in its darker turns - closer The Overload the obvious example -these eight tracks continue to fascinate over 30 years after their creation.
In short: same as it ever was, same as it ever was…
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
This record spent 3 months on my turntable after it was released! I still return to it again and again. The first three tracks are one of the few musical experiences which have moved me to tears several times and if 'Crosseyed and Painless' and 'The Great Curve' don't inspire some sort of urge to dance.....you're probably dead!
'Remain in Light' is Talking Heads at their creative peak. 'Fear of Music' is also fantastic but where 'Fear of Music' is paranoid, prickly and taut, 'Remain in Light' is wreckless, wild and moving to all the horizons. Brian Eno is a massive influence here. Rumour has it, apart from Byrne, the other band members were incresingly resentful of his influence in the band but it's unlikely anything as wonderful as this record would have been created without his huge input.
The key track is 'The Great Curve'. The depth and construction of the vocal tracks is staggering. I've listened to it hundreds of times and still hear new patterns emerging. A real highlight in popular music.
What was originally the second side of the original LP is a different beast to the first three tracks. Again, the African influence is dominant but the themes are darker, such as resistance to Western domination, self doubt, questioning of life purpose and choices. It's a heady mix which fits as a wonderful counter-point to the head on mania and uplifting surges of the first side. All in all a wonderful record which everyone should hear.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions