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Remain In Light

Talking Heads

1980

Buy At Rough Trade
Remain In Light
Album Summary

Remain in Light is the fourth studio album by American rock band Talking Heads, released on October 8, 1980 by Sire Records. It was recorded at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas and Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia between July and August 1980. It was the last Talking Heads album Brian Eno produced. After the release of Fear of Music in 1979, Talking Heads and Eno sought to dispel notions of the band as a mere vehicle for frontman and songwriter David Byrne. Drawing influence from Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, they experimented with African polyrhythms, funk, and electronics, recording instrumental tracks as a series of looping grooves. The sessions incorporated a variety of side musicians, including guitarist Adrian Belew, singer Nona Hendryx, and trumpet player Jon Hassell. Byrne struggled with writer's block, but adopted a scattered, stream-of-consciousness lyrical style inspired by early rap and academic literature on Africa. The artwork was conceived by bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz, and crafted with the help of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computers and design company M&Co. The band hired additional members for a promotional tour, and following its completion, they went on a year-long hiatus to pursue side projects. Remain in Light was acclaimed by critics, who praised its sonic experimentation, rhythmic innovations, and cohesive merging of disparate genres. The album peaked at number 19 on the US Billboard 200 and number 21 on the UK Albums Chart, and spawned the singles "Once in a Lifetime" and "Houses in Motion". It has been featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of the 1980s and of all time, and is often considered Talking Heads' magnum opus. In 2017, the Library of Congress deemed the album "culturally, historically, or artistically significant", and selected it for preservation in the National Recording Registry.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.63

Votes

12629
Genres
New Wave
Post Punk

Reviews

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

Talking about head. Do you know how long it's been since I last had a blowjob? 34 days. Totally unacceptable. If you know of anyone who wants to sort me out, give me a call on 07797098556

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

If Sisyphus had this in his headphones there would be no fable to tell. Unrelenting and irreversible forward motion. The Great Curve's hypnotic cyclical rythhm draws you into a state of fevered delerium, with the only hints of sanity appearing in the form of the sporadic lead breaks. Seen and Not Seen follows a narrative that's beautifully relatable yet totally abstract. Listening Wind is deceptively heavy in its story and Overload feels very ominous and Floyd.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Always remember - that is a woman playing that bass. Girl F@ckin Power!

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Kind of makes me see why some people call Talking Heads a "punk" band, though this feels like it has more in debt to reggae and world music. Fast, crazy fun, weird music to dance to. Talking Heads are awesome. Favorite tracks: "Crosseyed and Painless", "The Great Curve", "Once in a Lifetime"

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Mon May 03 2021
4

"Remain in Light" is the fourth studio album by American rock band Talking Heads, released on October 8, 1980. This album is considered to be their magnum opus, and as someone who has never listened to the band, I feel I better strap in! Talking Heads fall under the following genres, per Wikipedia: New wave, post-punk, world beat, funk, dance-rock, and art pop and I am colored with intrigue! Remain in Light opens with "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)," opens with funky bass rifs and a catchy guitar rhythm. There's some crazy David Byrne vocals and a cool guitary solo and that catchy guitar rhythm that never goes away! This is a fun song. The next song on this album is "Crosseyed and Painless," which is catchy and has lyrics about "facts are twisting the truth around" which seems relevant in today's hellscape of disinformation. It's fun! "The Great Curve," is track #3 on this album. It has a really fun surfer-ish guitar with bongo-ish drums. It's groooovy. And it has a dope guitar solo. "Once in a Lifetime" is the next track, and it's a song I've heard many times in pop culture. It's a fun song, it's catchy. I've never actually listened to the song in full, and the lyrics are crazy. The lyrics seem improvised... "there is water at the bottom of the ocean," and so on! "Houses in Motion," is track number 5 and features more funky guitar work and vocal harmonizing. It's very catchy and it has a haunting solo of an instrument I cannot identify! The next song, "Seen and Not Seen," has fun stream-of-conscience lyrics about a perfect face, which really blew my mind as I listened to this song while struggling to draw a face on a drawing I recently started. Anyway, this song has fun claps and a solid beat, and I like it! "Listening Wind" is the penultimate track on "Remain in Light". It has African-inspired percussion and eerie jungle noises. The guitar work sounds like animals! This song is very cool. "The Overload," is the final track on this album, and is it a doozy. Per Wikipedia: "Some have taken the final track on the album, "The Overload," to be Talking Heads' attempt to emulate the sound of British post-punk band Joy Division. It has been widely speculated - but never confirmed - that the song was made despite no band member having heard the music of Joy Division; rather, it may have been based on an idea of what the British quartet might sound like based on descriptions in the music press." I have never listened to Joy Division, so I don't have a frame of reference for this song, but it's spooky and brooding and dank, and I like it! This album is funky and fun and weird, and for that I really love it. I'm glad I finally gave this album a spin. I actually really liked their spooky attempt to be Joy Division. And Once in a Lifetime is simply iconic. Favorite track: Listening Wind Honorable mention: The Overload

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

In discussions of this album, the primacy of African polyrhythms is often mentioned, but that not quite correct. Strictly speaking, the polyrhythms are African-American because they derive from Afrobeat, which originated as a response to the music of James Brown. Fela Kuti and others took the funk rhythms of James Brown and added the polyrhythms and layering of traditional African music. With Remain in Light, Talking Heads returned the favor, emphasizing layering and interlocking rhythmic patterns even more, and not only rhythms but also sounds. Anticipating hip hop, Eno built up the tunes out of loops cut out from two live jam sessions from the full band. In producer Brian Eno's hands, the complexity of this layering dwarfs anything Fela Kuti ever did. Which brings up another point, which is rarely discussed. Remain in Light is one of the most sonically rich and gorgeous albums ever made--Eno takes his unique and patented electronic processing to new heights. But as much credit as Eno deserves for the success of Remain in Light, it's hardly a one-man show. Tina Weymouth's bass lines are deeply funky, as is Jerry Harrison's chickenscratch guitar. Chris Frantz' drumming seems less distinctive to me, which is perhaps why Eno and David Byrne decided to bring in percussionist Jose Rossy, who later played with Weather Report. And I suspect that the interweaving vocal parts are largely the work of Byrne, enriched by contributions from soul singer Nona Hendryx. Another thing: it's wrong to say that there are no solos on this record--they're just deeply untraditional. Adrian Belew's avant guarde outbursts on guitar are refreshingly non linear, thrilling and absolutely brilliant. And world music pioneer Jon Hassel's processed trumpet solo on Seen and Not Seen gives the track a suitably eerie edge. As if all that weren't enough, Talking Heads even include one track that miraculously manages to weave Afrobeat, pop, and the Velvet Underground into one of the most indelible singles of the 80s, Once In A Lifetime. Remain in Light is damned near flawless.

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Wed Aug 11 2021
5

Hot take time: The best Talking Heads album is Stop Making Sense. The album and movie especially showcase exactly what makes the band an all-timer (of course, I'm speaking of the latter edition of the album, the one with all 16 songs - apparently the original version of the soundtrack album only had 9 of the songs, which may explain why it's not on the list). And the live versions for the most part have even more appeal than the recorded originals. Crosseyed and Painless, the second song on this album, is more energetic on Stop Making Sense and becomes an absolute banger. This album's centerpiece includes the remarkable "The Great Curve" followed by one of the band's more famous songs, "Once In A Lifetime". The first five songs are close to perfect and really put you right in producer Brian Eno's world. The last three tracks didn't grab me at all on first listen, but improved quite a bit on repeat plays. This is the most complete Talking Heads studio album. An essential 40-minute listen. Spotify gave me the Deluxe Edition, which includes 4 unfinished outtakes to provide further proof the band was at the peak of their powers. And if you've never seen "Stop Making Sense", fix that mistake immediately. It's on the short list of the greatest rock music films.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

After spending the previous three years being afraid of everything from the countryside and work to painting and music itself, David Byrne gets a goddamn grip and learns to let the days (and water, whatever that means) pass him by, tapping into a global groove that widens his outlook and softens his responses. If More Songs About Buildings and Food was the first Talking Heads album made with access to fresh air, this one is positively oceanic. Letters of thanks should be mailed to Brian Eno. His whacked-out guitar tunings are rock futurism built and demolished in the same instant. On Houses in Motion, he plays what can only be described as an elephant with its trunk up its arse. Throughout, he counsels Byrne (never a world beating songwriter) to pick his lyrics out of a hat, which elevates the pretty good ones to semi-parodic quite good ones (“Facts don't do what I want them to,” “Can’t stop, I might end up in hospital”), and leads to him stumbling on some genuinely great ones. Once In A Lifetime, obviously, but also the one about a kid who reads too many magazine and tries to change his face by sheer force of will. (Don't try it--doesn't work). While the one about Mojique doesn't hit the bull's eye, it does demonstrate just how far Byrne has stepped outside of himself. All the way into Africa.

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Sat Mar 13 2021
1

Once in a life times is enough

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Tue Dec 08 2020
5

Born Under Punches is astounding, I can see why this is revolutionary

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Wed Jan 13 2021
2

One cool song. Style is mostly a repetitive loop. Bad lyrics, poor singing.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Rating (1/10): 6-9. DOYM (depends on your mood) Is there already a genre called TranceFunk? Prince without the sex, but that just means dancing can exist without lust; bigger frontiers for physical expression of the mind and soul. I'd forgotten what a great bass player Tina Weymouth is; totally underappreciated. Tom-Tom Club: https://youtu.be/aCWCF19nUhA Adrien Belew (via King Crimson): https://youtu.be/zqhhZRcFlws Remain In Light was on heavy rotation in the restaurant kitchen where I worked; this is great music to cook to. (Eno might find that quite the compliment.)

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

thought I would like it more than I did. Once in a Lifetime is still a great song

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Thu May 20 2021
3

I'd heard Once in a Lifetime before, that was definitely a stand out track. Some of the tracks were better than others, a few felt a bit chaotic and didn't do anything for me. This album felt fine, but it was anything special.

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Tue Sep 15 2020
5

Truly bangin’ album. Band in top form, kickstarting the 80s and art rock of the decade.

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Mon Dec 14 2020
5

And you may ask yourself, what is this beautiful house? It’s this album!

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Sun Apr 17 2022
5

This album starts off with a bang with the frenetic African polyrhythms of Born Under Punches. Fela Kuti’s influence is unmistakeable. The chemistry of the band and guests is also magic in a bottle: Eno, Belew, Hendryx and Hassell’s trumpet! The intensity is maintained with the next few songs: Crosseyed, The Great Curve and Once in a lifetime. In particular Adrian Belew’s guitar is astonishing on the Great Curve. The pace slowly gets turned down with each successive song but the incredible quality of the songs is maintained throughout right to the end. Seen and not Seen is the perfect bridge between the more upbeat African polyrhythmic songs to the two sonic masterpieces The Listening Wind and The Overload. Talking Heads put out many really great albums but this is their very best, and that is saying a lot. One of my favourite albums of all time.

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Sat May 14 2022
5

5.0 - Incredible. The first few tracks sound like Fela Kuti through a neon filter with instrumental solos that sound wildly futuristic even by today's standards. "One in a Lifetime" is a masterpiece of songwriting, imagery and sound production. The tone and tempo mellow for the second half, ending with a Joy Division-esque dirge with "The Overload." This is a nuanced, heady, kinetic and bafflingly awesome listen.

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Sat May 21 2022
5

No skips I love the basslines and African elements Crosseyed and Painless/Once in a Lifetime were my favourites I would easily listen to this again

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

This album is undefeated. I love this album, I love Talking Heads, this is one of my top 15 albums of all time.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
5

'Once in a lifetime' is one of the all time greats. Really enjoyed 'Seen and not seen'. A Challenging listen at times, but overall it's somewhat brilliant.

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Sat Mar 18 2023
5

This is a sonically radical, lyrical maze of an album. Remain in light asks: what does it mean to be given five stars? It required multiples listens but I think I've cracked it. As a government man, I got hooked by the rythyms, bamboozled and then intrigued by the lyrics. A great listen and genre bending piece of art. Want to walk around a big bright city and listen to this over and over.

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Sun Apr 09 2023
5

Funky and frenetic... wonderful and weird... thick with grooves... dripping with musical influences, but stunningly original. T-Heads made brilliant albums, always, and this was arguably their best. Brian Eno's influence is strongly felt, with shades of his album Before and After Science in particular. But the band is very much still themselves here, just better than they had been before, more layered and complex. It's a partnership that really works. David Byrne's presence crackles as always, with a whirlwind of lyrics that are like reading the manifesto of some prophet or mad genius. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Once in a Lifetime, The Great Curve, Listening Wind, Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On), Crosseyed and Painless, Houses in Motion, Seen and Not Seen, The Overload

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Tue Apr 25 2023
5

A desert island disc, 40 lean minutes of paranoia and downtown trepidation translated to monochord jams. Byrne sounds at wit’s end, and why shouldn’t he be? Reagan is here and the world is ending — might as well dance a little.

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Wed Jun 14 2023
5

First things first, my semi-obligatory and tailored review for records that Brian Eno was involved with: Another classic Brian Eno record, once again featuring Talking Heads. Now that that’s out of the way… Actually, never mind, I feel like that’s a really important subject to touch on. Normally I don’t really give a fuck about who produces a record, but I can’t help but feel that over the course of the records he produced for them, Brian Eno molded Talking Heads in the band he wanted them to be - or maybe more accurately, the band he wanted to be in. I mean, he introduces them to Fela Kuti records and next thing you know they’re making a record that is so indebted to Fela Kuti that the Fela Kuti estate should get royalties from it. That’s exhibit A. Exhibit B: The song “King’s Lead Hat” from Eno’s 1977 solo record “Before and After Science”. You might be thinking, “That’s a weird song title,” and you’d be right, it is. It’s also an anagram of the phrase “Talking Heads”. Listen to the song, it was released 3 years before this record. Then listen to what the Talking Heads sounded like in 1977. There is a damn good case to be made that “King’s Lead Hat” was a blueprint for where Eno thought Talking Heads should go. I mean, just listen to the overly processed, glitched-out guitar solo on it and think about Adrian Belew’s solo on “Born Under Punches” and his work throughout Remain in Light. Now, I’m not trying to say that Brian Eno was the mastermind of this band, pulling the strings and forcing them to be the band that they became, but I do think it’s unlikely they make this record, with the influences it has and as well crafted as it is, without him. That might seem like a back handed compliment, but it’s what a good producer should do: get the best out of the artist they’re working with. Brian Eno more than succeed in that on Remain in Light; this is undoubtedly the best Talking Heads record.

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Mon Aug 07 2023
5

This is without a doubt one of the best albums that have ever been produced simply because of the fact that is walks the tightrope of being danceable and sophisticated at the same time ("Crosseyed and Painless", "Houses in Motion" are the best examples for this). The musicianship is just grand with the inspiration from Fela Kuti's Afrobeat to construct polyrhythms as the backbone of the great instrumentation carried by bass, keyboards and guitars (Adrian Belew, here as a guest, delivers one of his best work) and David Byrne's lyrics. This is a masterpiece. I'd give it 6 star if I could!

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Mon Dec 25 2023
5

So many interesting sounds, rhythms and melodies colliding all over this. Very clever how the first half is relentlessly upbeat, followed by the complete opposite at the end. Most of this is probably obscure to the casual fan apart from "Once In A Lifetime", which amazingly is in the bottom tier of songs here. Excellent stuff

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Mon Dec 25 2023
5

I listened to my first Talking a heads album only a week or so ago and absolutely loved it. Today I’ll be listening to another, and I’m quite understandably optimistic for this one. If it’s anything like the other, then it certainly bodes well. Let’s listen! Songs I already knew: Once In A Lifetime Favourites: Once In A Lifetime, Crosseyed and Painless Thankfully, this did not let me down! The music is so very interesting, and I love the slap bass and just how much it adds to the music. I’ll definitely have to learn some of these tracks on my bass because they sound so fun! I also never realised that Once In A Lifetime was Talking Heads. It comes on the radio every now and then and it’s an absolute bop. Definitely give this a listen because it’s great.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

Unfortunately, this album is as good as the nerds at /mu/ say it is.

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Tue Mar 26 2024
5

Nothing to say that hasn’t been said 100x before. I don’t like to give 5 stars unless an album is literally perfect. That’s the case here

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Tue Apr 02 2024
5

The second Talking Heads album I've ever listened to and I like it much, much better.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
4

This is my favourite of the Talking Heads albums I’ve heard to date. The repetition that would drive me mad on any other record is saved and strengthened by two things: it’s fun and funky as shit, and it’s human. This is not the work of samplers: the loops are played live. The back half of the album drags on a bit. I think The Overload would have worked better as a mid-album palette cleanse rather than a closer and placed next to Listening Wind (a strong track - love the guitar here! - but not the most energetic.) Standouts: Born Under Punches, Crosseyed and Painless, Once In A Lifetime, Listening Wind 4.25

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Mon Feb 12 2024
4

It was good! The music really brings you into the song.

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Sat Nov 14 2020
3

Innovative? Yes. Influential? Eh, maybe. Throw it on the heap of albums that are notable, but not necessarily a great listen. Also, it reminds me of that terrible Matt Damon movie about tiny people. Bet track: Seen and Not Seen

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Sat Mar 13 2021
3

Decent album that, 40 years later, lost its groundbreaking appeal for me

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Fri Jan 15 2021
3

Pretty underwhelming just kinda forget I’m even listening to music typa album... not bad just ehh whatever sure ig.... it’s got some good tunes okay lol

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Sat Jul 03 2021
3

I honestly couldn't tell you why but Once in a Lifetime is bit of a banger. Other than that it's okay - Not sure I'd buy the album just for the one track

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Thu Sep 09 2021
3

liked 3 or 4 songs, super experimental

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Tue Dec 28 2021
3

Is every TH album a must listen? Sonically, this is an interesting album, but nothing to write home about. Once in a Lifetime does the heavy lifting here.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
3

I am bored listening to this album; most songs aren't doing anything particularly interesting, and strike me as repetitive. It's fine background music but not a keeper for me.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
3

I recognize that this album is unique and experimental and has some bangers however it's not really my thing, wouldn't catch me listening to the whole album again

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Tue Sep 06 2022
3

Didn't know most of these songs apart from "Once in a lifetime". That track is still the stand out. The rest of the songs didn't really grab me on a first listen. might need to come back for another listen.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
3

Not a lot of surprises here. It's fine but none of it really seems like mine. Feels like being at a party where I don't know anyone but I don't really feel like getting to know anyone either. And the feeling's mutual.

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Sun Sep 18 2022
3

It had some pretty good songs. But there were more songs I wasn’t really a fan of.

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Tue Oct 25 2022
3

Once in a lifetime is by far the best song. The rest of the album is a bit weird but fine to listen to I guess

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Mon Dec 12 2022
3

Great start, but got a little muddled towards the end. So much talent. A little too much at the end.

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Mon Dec 25 2023
3

Once in a Lifetime always thrills me; the rest fusses past. The torrent of words and instruments, full of excitement, do not excite me much of the time. Three TH albums in, I respect them and am usually left tepid. This got a little stickier on the second and third plays, reminding me of the Fall, who have a similar effect on me: impressed by the density of ideas, unconvinced by the structure beneath them.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
3

This was fun! A romp through the unique sound of Talking Heads. A bit experimental so there are some misses, but most of the songs are cool and weird.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
2

Another fucking talking heads album? 2/5.

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Tue Oct 24 2023
2

Déjà vu review One song’s a stained glass window in a church where all the other windows are clear or have been blown out. Once in a lifetime is vivid colour and the rest aren’t worth a mention in the visitors book.

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Fri Nov 03 2023
2

Overall if this album is Talking Heads' "magnum opus" then I'm not really impressed. I suppose at the time of release this style of music was more modern, edgy and experimental but listening to it in 2023 I don't find anything in particular that grabs me. It's all just sort of a jumble of sound with some haphazard lyrics thrown in and not mixed well, maybe that's the point, I don't know.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
1

This album is anxiety inducing. I hated everything. I can’t believe this was allowed to be released much less hailed to be an incredible album.

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Sat Sep 26 2020
5

Still like FoM better, but great album. The outtakes are stellar too.

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Tue Jan 12 2021
5

великолепно, про этот альбом стоит расписать очень серьезно.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

Love the energy of the looping grooves and stream of consciousness lyrics. Listened to Deluxe Edition.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

So good. I’ve never listened to the whole album. And now I have, and feel richer for it.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

Now this is the new wave thag I want to listen to. Classic, love it, all around amazing

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

My only real negative note is how repetitive the songs are, but at the same time, they kind of use that to add effect. Incredible album. Favorite Track(s): “Born Under Punches,” “The Great Curve,” “Once In A Lifetime,” and “Houses In Motion”

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

One of my favorite bands of the last decade (for me, not them. They haven't been together in a while). This album is not my favorite Talking Heads album. It's pretty middle of the road for me. However, I gave Modern Lovers and Fun Loving Criminals 4 stars, and Remain in Light is WAY better than either of those. Once in a Lifetime is a song that gets better and hits harder every single time I hear it. That track alone also makes this a 5 star album. But Born Under Punches, Crosseyed and Painless, and Fela's Riff are also all top notch

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Might not be everyone’s cup of team but you can definitely see how it was influential for the new wave genre specially by mixing a bunch sounds that you wouldn’t expect

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Love love love this album. "Crosseyed and Painless" & "The Great Curve" are 2 of my top 3 or 4 Talking Heads songs. This album is so funky and not as stiff as their earlier work. Classic

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Talking Heads + Eno always yields amazing results. Dark and weird. One of my favorites album of all time.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

One of my all-time favorites

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

ooooooooooo that bass sound. dude this album is great.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

El empleo de la guitarra me resulta refrescante en este disco, aporta sonidos interesantes. La primera canción fue la que más me gustó, me pareció un gran inicio y Felas's riff tiene una ondita padre. Tiene también variedad de moods. No es mucho mi estilo, pero está chido de todas formas. Mood: no sé, esta vez no se me ocurre un buen mood cagado.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

Loved it, the range of instruments made the songs catchy and upbeat without being overly cheesy

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

i think i prefer fear of music as far as heads/eno collabs, but its still a classic

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

40 años después sigue sonando moderno, como recién grabado. Mathpop, repetitivo y africano, con arreglos indescriptibles y computarizados. Eno y Byrne contra el mundo. Agotador y obsesivo. Muy grande.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

No había escuchado nunca un álbum completo de los Talking Heads, pero este lo disfruté mucho. Te lleva por una mezcla de ritmos muy divertida, con distintos moods que funcionan bien juntos.

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Polished enough to justify the quirky nature of their lyrics and rhythm, The Talking Heads fall for me outside the realm of music and closer to painting in that they appear to be a manifestation of subconscious thought materialized by art, creativity, and discipline.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Talking Heads almost always take chances with their music, trying out odd songwriting and instrumentation that doesn't always work out. The second half of this record, for example, is only okay. The last two songs in particular I take the needle off the record and move on. So it says something about how good the first four songs are that this album is still a 5. "Once in a Lifetime" has a legit claim to being one of the best songs ever, elevated by fantastic, innovative production. A record that rewards repeated listenings.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Great album. Already knew it, but nice to have a reminder to listen to it again.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

I really liked the album. I grew up with the talking heads so 8/10

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Mon Sep 20 2021
5

A1 album good from beginning to end.

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Tue Sep 21 2021
5

David Byrne!!!! That is all.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

Top 3 album of all time. An absolute masterpiece. 10/10 1. The Great Curve 2. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) 3. Once in a Lifetime

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

First record with a computerized image on the album cover! And what a record it is!

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

Talking Heads at their peak. Their evolution from full-on weird punk to masters of New Wave reaches its climax before they would go on tours for a few years. There are only 8 tracks, but they're absolutely perfect. There is quite literally not a single forgettable track. I feel like everyone who's listened to this album at least a few times can say something about each of them. Everyone has a different favorite. You'll notice that a lot of people rank their favorite tracks nearly exact to the track listing. That's because the album starts out loud and bombastic. "Under Punches" kicks off with a yell and goes straight into the action with weird lyrics and incredible synths that define everything great about Talking Heads. It's no wonder some consider them to be the epitome of the New Wave movement. The entire first side could easily be smash hits if placed on different albums, and it's incredible hearing them back to back. Very hard to pick favorites. Second side is also full of top tier tracks, but they're not dance based... it gets incredibly eery and involved. This makes for a thematic experience overall, but could push people away from finishing the album. My first few times listening to the album, my brain would always space out the last few tracks. But then I started listening to the lyrics. "Seen and Not Seen" is a lesson to be learned about the whims of appealing to how you wish to appear, and the consequences that may follow. "Listening Wind" is about a terrorist sick of intruding globalization. "The Overload" is a gothic atmospheric track which ambiguous, haunting lyrics that I still have no idea what to make of. They're not hits by any mean, but I love their sounds. Oh and the chorus of "Listening Wind" catches on. So many things I find perfect about this album. I was assigned Fela Kuti a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved his work, but didn't know why. Turns out it sounds just like Talking Heads. Talking Heads takes a lot from funk and afrobeat, most notable Parliament-Funkadelic and Fela Kuti respectively. Such developments came to fruition in Fear of Music, but I feel the sound is at its peak here. Not to mention Eno is back here again with the flawless production. It just sounds fantastic, and it's insane how they combined all these channels without divine guidance. Of course, Byrne's vocals is also a central strong aspect, not only with his peculiar yet accessible lyrics, but his speech pattern, and his delivery between melodic singings and proto-rap-like verses. I'm a sucker for synths and for weird music and complexity. This has all of that. Parts like when all voice channels sing different lines in "The Great Curve," or the speech about facts in "Crosseyed and Painless," or the part about water at the bottom of the ocean in "Once in a Lifetime," I look forward to it all as highlights. Sometimes I rewind just to hear them again. Truly, this album checks off everything I look for in an album, and delivers much much more I couldn't possibly expect other albums to have. You are guaranteed I will be listening to this album many times a year for as long as I live.

👍
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