11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Never mind the eighties, it's the Talking Heads!,
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.