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22 of 23 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

versus
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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22 of 23 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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52 of 55 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)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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 22 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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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 Sept. 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential listening, 26 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
When I first bought this album in a second hand shop about 10 years ago, I did so based on the extremely positive reviews. Having only really heard the big hits 'psycho killer', 'once in a lifetime' 'road to nowhere' etc, this album came as a bit of a shock to me. I wont lie, I actually really disliked the vast majority of this album on initial listens. Whatsmore, I actually shelved it away for about a year before I gave it another try...

...and I don't know what happened in-between, but something must've 'clicked', because I found myself really enjoying what I heard. That feeling slowly grew and I now listen to this album regularly. I may not listen to it for several months, but I always come back to it, and it always impresses me.

This album is hugely varied, yet it is a cohesive whole, and at 40 minutes, it is the perfect length. Most of the album builds on repeating rhythms. Choruses may not reveal themselves till half-way though a track, but the wait almost means that the delivery has so much more impact. I found myself many times shouting along to lines by myself in the car, only to realise that I was literally shouting the lines and my throat hurt afterwards. Some songs have an African influence, others dabble in funk, while others in electronica. And Still there are other songs that have an ambient influence and even a little spoken word; theres even a bit of proto rap thrown in (and i hate rap!). Yet I wouldn't change any of it. There perhaps was a time when the music didn't make sense to me, yet now it does, and I wouldn't change a single note even if I could.

I honestly rate this in my top ten albums of all time. It has a timeless quality and while later talking heads albums sound very eighties and a little dated, this album could've been released yesterday. This is largely down to the flawless production which, I think, sounds more like many punk or new wave albums of the time and not like disco or pop music did back then. And yet dispite the long track lengths and experimentalism, it remains a pop album through and through. If I could relate it to any modern day album I would say that it sounds similar to LCD Soundsytem, but back in the day, this album must've sounded like nothing else on the planet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine classic., 23 July 2010
This review is from: Remain In Light (Audio CD)
It's very easy to classify an album as "a classic", but this LP is one of the best ever released. Obviously, there isn't a duff moment on the entire record and the sequence of tracks is perfect. The three longer tracks on side 1 (as it was originally released on vinyl) followed by the 5 numbers on side 2 which opens with 'Once in a Lifetime'. However, the extraordinary 'Houses in Motion' (the track that follows 'Lifetime') is one of my all time favourites by this band and that's a very difficult choice. (Who else has produced so many outstanding albums?)

'Remain in Light' is a stunningly brilliant album. The production is superb and the range of sounds, depth of ideas and wonderful lyrics makes this a delicious combination. In my opinion it should be in any list of the 10 best albums ever recorded. Alongside 'Revolver', 'The Hissing of Summer Lawns', 'Electric Ladyland' and 'Thank Christ For The Bomb'.
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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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Remain In Light
Remain In Light by Talking Heads (Audio CD - 1984)
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