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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical record
If anyone needs to be persuaded why Talking Heads were just a great band, not merely a great new wave band or a great post-punk band but a band up there with anyone else, 'Remain In Light', their ineffably spooky and moving masterpiece, is surely the evidence required.

The band's singer and chief songwriter David Byrne was, by his own admission, suffering...
Published on 2 Oct 2007 by lexo1941

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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A meandering, percussive proto-World Music funk workout
On release in 1980 'Remain In Light' must have seemed very radical indeed. Years before World Music and sampling, here was an album of Africa-flavoured dancefloor exotica. Those hoping for more of the catchy invention of "Once In A Lifetime", with its the rhythmic hooks and singalong choruses, will be disappointed by this often meandering, percussive collection. The only...
Published on 2 April 2009 by Vauxhall1964


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical record, 2 Oct 2007
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
If anyone needs to be persuaded why Talking Heads were just a great band, not merely a great new wave band or a great post-punk band but a band up there with anyone else, 'Remain In Light', their ineffably spooky and moving masterpiece, is surely the evidence required.

The band's singer and chief songwriter David Byrne was, by his own admission, suffering writer's block around 1980. He had just written the bulk of three increasingly brilliant and increasingly dark Heads albums - '77', 'More Songs About Buildings And Food' and 'Fear Of Music' - and was understandably a little burned out. Producer Brian Eno and he were forming a close friendship and working partnership that other members of the band, chiefly bass player Tina Weymouth, felt was becoming over-intellectual and elitist. The band had various goes at making this album, in various studios, and ended up splicing bits of jams together to make something like songs. Byrne and Eno wrote odd bits of lyrics to sing over the top, and session players like Adrian Belew and Jon Hassell were brought in to provide tasteful (or in Belew's case, fabulously untasteful) musical embellishment. Other people have tried the same method since. It has almost never worked.

Whatever the unhappy circumstances of its making, 'Remain In Light' was a combination of the Heads rhythm section's exceptionally funky drive, Byrne's worry and paranoia, Eno's benign world-music inclusivity, and some special extra ingredient that lifts the whole thing into a frankly mystical level of trancelike intensity and directness. The whole album is laced with gossamer-fine overdubs, so that every time you listen to it you hear something you hadn't heard before. It moves from the urgent and faintly menacing ('Crosseyed and Painless') to the devastatingly sad ('Listening Wind') to the trippily ecstatic ('Once In A Lifetime') with seemingly no strain.

It's one of my favourite albums of all time, as you can probably tell, and it contains my favourite recording of all time in the form of 'Once In A Lifetime', the record that takes the nausea out of existentialism and replaces it with something very like bliss.

Talking Heads made many fine recordings before and after, some as good as this, perhaps. Brian Eno never made anything as good ever again. This was also the recording in which the schism that would later tear the band apart first became evident. Check out the solo recordings that the various members made around this time (Byrne's 'The Catherine Wheel', Harrison's 'The Red and the Black', Weymouth's and Frantz's 'Tom Tom Club') and you will begin to see why, eight years later, Talking Heads would be no more.

They were fab. And this is their finest almost-hour.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent remastering of a brilliant record., 24 Jan 2006
By 
Christopher Hunter "cjhunter2001uk" (Farnham UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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A fantastic re-mastering of this fine, fine record. I have heard this so many times I never thought I'd find something else but this remastering has brought new colour to this record.
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.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 18 Jan 2006
I was always disappointed in the orignial CD releases of Talking Headss albums, however, I did have hope after the remastered editions of Stop Making Sense and The Name of this Band... were released. Now the waiting is over with these exceptional CD DVDA remastered editions. The CD of Remain In Light sounds wonderful and the bonus tracks are of genuine interest. The DVD audio sounds even better on a 5.1 system with some low key but beautiful graphics and the added bonus of videos. The live version of Once in a Lifetime is great. Seeing David Byrne in particular having such fun performing is heart warming and the seeming effortless ease of Adrian Belews guitar playing explains why he was in such demand at the time ( he was asked to and did join the bands of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Tom Tom Club and King Crimson) and we can all hear the unique contribution he made in each case. I will no doubt be replacing the rest of my Talkiing Heads collection with thesewonderfuls quality and great values editions. Don'y hesitate buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Percussive Masterpiece, 26 July 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Remain In Light [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Remain In Light followed the experimental textures of Fear Of Music, although here the polyrhythmic beats are more accessible especially on the awesome track Once In A Lifetime with its poetic lyrics and gripping hooks. My other favorites here are the funky dance track Crosseyed And Painless and Houses In Motion. The first is the apex of the first percussive and funky part of the album while the second has more in common with the last tracks like Listening Wind, Seen And Not Seen and Overload, where the tone becomes somber and introspective. Overall, the instrumental mix and the arrangements are most impressive and this album, though experimental, is more accessible than Fear Of Music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary remastering, 16 Feb 2009
As all the other reviewers testify the music can speak for itself. It seems as relevant today as on its release 28 years ago.

The remastering is superb - especially the 5.1 surround sound. 'The Overload' feels like it should be on the soundtrack for 'Bladerunner' or'Apocalypse Now' with its sinister reverberations revolving around the room. Wonderful!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more eno than byrne, 26 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
Brian Eno has a talent for bringing out the best in other artists. This has got to be one of the most impressive albums I have ever heard.
If you like it, listen to more Eno - one of the most talented artists of the past 30 years, from his early days with Roxy Music until now - always experimental, pushing back the boundaries and exploring sound, form and rhythm. a masterpiece.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abnormally brilliant..., 22 Jan 2004
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
Containing some of the most infectiously bizarre dance music ever made, "Remain in Light" defies normal analysis or comparison: a totally controlled musical nightmare in which a troupe of Afro-Cuban drummers, a post-punk rock band, a demented preacher, a group of Benedictine monks and an electronic gizmo freak meet behind the mixing desk of a New York disco to produce one of the most unusual and innovative records of the last 20 years.
Underpinned by insidiously complex, multi-layered arrangements that combine percussion, instruments, electronic sounds, vocal chants, weird guitar breaks and "off the wall" lyrics into the jerky, high-tension poly-rhythms that underpin all but its depressingly dull final track, Talking Heads' masterwork will drive you forward into a unique and unforgettable musical landscape that stills sounds as fresh and different today as it did in 1980.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the eighties, it's the Talking Heads!, 28 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
A good five years before Paul Simon's Gracelands album a bunch of lads from New York (not forgetting the eternally gorgeous Tina Weymouth!) pulled off the rock/African rhythm thing with far less hype and, it must be said, better results.
Remain in Light is a mad melting pot that isn't self conscious about being a melting pot. With the help of Brian Eno, funky guitars, crazy horns and backing singers who know how to party, the Heads have created an album where their traditional fare of New York paranoia merges seamlessly with a world music carnival atmosphere. There is little, if any compromise between damned good pop songs and a gorgeous rhythmic onslaught and David Byrne is in top form as the Norman-Bates-meets-Woody Allen-meets-amphetamine vocalist.
Highlights of the album are the bizarre, innovative opening track, "Born Under Punches" (God knows what it's about, but who cares - it works!), "The Great Curve" with it's machine gun bongos, gospellesque chants and nerve grinding guitars and of course, the famous "Once in a lifetime". Also of note on the more commercial second half of the album is "Seen and not seen" which features David Byrne nonchalantly rapping a cautionary tale about plastic surgery. Just a shame Michael Jackson didn't listen!
The album winds down with the mellow, mildly political desert trek of "Listening Wind" then "The Overload" which (along with a previous reviewer) is the only track I have a problem with. It's industrial gloom is perhaps better suited to Joy Division or Eno's other projects but fortunately it is the last track and a small incongruity on an otherwise superb album.
To summarise, Remain in Light is one of the best albums of it's time and deserves to outlast it's "early 80s music" label. It put Talking Heads firmly in the League of great bands from New York and in that company they are surely distinguished.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing Music, 12 Nov 2003
By 
Christopher Hunter "cjhunter2001uk" (Farnham UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical overload, 12 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
One of the greatest albums of all time has spawned some of the better customer reviews on this site. What everyone else says is true bar this: "The Overload" is fantastic: a slowed down, hypnotic, hypnogogic, near liturgial "Tomorrow never knows", the come down from the ecstasy of the first side.
"Remain in Light" may not speak to me emotionally in the way some of my favourite moments in music do but it is cerebral, physical and technically overwhelming. Themes include communication, modernisation, computerisation, disorientation and the information overload.
To those who know David Bryne only from his compilation with X-Press 2, do not hold back from. To those who are familiar with other Heads' songs like "Psycho Killer", "And She Was" and "Road to Nowhere", rest assured that "Remain in Light" is a class above the middle one and wildly different to much of the band's early and late period work.
The closest comparison is "Heaven Up Here" by Echo & The Bunnymen, certainly in terms of ambition, scope and disregard for contemporary trends, especially set agains the horror of much early 80s music. However, it does not sound much like "Heaven Up Here" at all. It is more arresting, instantaneous and rhythmical and yet more majestic.
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Remain In Light
Remain In Light by Talking Heads (Audio CD - 1984)
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