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Remain in Light

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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$2.25 $0.34
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Remain in Light + Speaking in Tongues + Fear of Music
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Way back in 1980, the original wave of Talking Heads fans were pleasantly stunned to hear Remain in Light, produced and co-written by Brian Eno, on which Byrne and company are joined by guitar god Adrian Belew, and funk legends Bernie Worrell (keyboards) and Steven Scales (percussion), among others, for a fuller, funkier sound nobody imagined they had in them. The first three songs are long, layered, full-body dance parties, with incessantly repeated phrases (musical and lyrical), and increasingly catchy melodic hooks that won't let go for days. "Once in a Lifetime" was the big hit, but the rockingest track is the third, "The Great Curve," after which the songs get more linear and subdued. It's still great stuff, right through to the especially Eno-like droner, "The Overload," but the second half is maybe better to sleep to than dance to. Which is fine: after the exuberance of the first three songs, you'll need a little nap. --Dan Leone

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Born Under Punches ( The Heat Goes On ) ( LP Version ) 5:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Crosseyed And Painless ( LP Version ) 4:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The Great Curve ( LP Version ) 6:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Once In A Lifetime ( LP Version ) 4:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Houses in Motion ( LP Version ) 4:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Seen And Not Seen ( LP Version ) 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Listening Wind ( LP Version ) 4:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Overload ( LP Version ) 6:00$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1980
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002KO3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,204 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. Packham on April 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Remain in Light is perhaps the Talking Heads' best album. Technically it is flawless, and as far as music goes, Remain in Light unifies electronica, African rhythms, guitar riffs and Bryan Eno's signature minimalism to hypnotic effect. The music is captivating and melodic - great dance music, but also great careful-listening music - and David Byrne's halting, discordant voice and thoughtful lyrics transcend each song to a more intellectual and compelling level. Ultimately, Remain in Light is a piece of art as well as a piece of music - Byrne and Eno have carefully layered music, vocals and thoughtful lyrics to create perhaps one of the best albums of the eighties.
The first three tracks are primarily dance tracks, but each one is subtly constructed and multi-layered. `Born Under Punches' combines repetition, African rhythm and a variety of eclectic instruments Tom Waits would be proud of. The end result is a dance track with a political slant: "Take a look at these hands... I'm a tumbler/ I'm a government man... I'm so thin... all I want is to breathe." `Crosseyed and Painless' is another dance track, however the weakest of the three. `The Great Curve' is perhaps one of the Heads' best work - it is an exemplary piece of music that showcases the great song-writing and compositional aptitude of the band's frontman, David Byrne. The Great Curve is a haunting, melodic and multi-layered work that stays with the listener for a long time - but, if you like, you can get up and dance to it because it's got one hell of a rhythm pounding through it.
The next five songs are exceptional, however the focus shifts from dance to more of an art-rock.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By spiral_mind on January 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Believe all the raves: Remain in Light is the zenith of the Heads' career and a classic essential for anyone who loves inventive music. This is a madly addicting collision of new-wave, pop, dance-rock and African trance that hasn't dated in the least. From David Byrne's masterful way with melodies to Brian Eno's impeccable onion-layered production work to Adrian Belew's stunt-guitar effects to the all-pervading percussion, every piece of the whole is perfect and falls into place just right.

The core of the album of course is the songs; the mad dance frenzy of "Crosseyed & Painless" and "The Great Curve," the beautiful tones of "Once in a Lifetime" (one of the Greatest Songs Ever), the slow trance of "Houses in Motion" and "Listening Wind" (which remains relevant enough to be downright eerie). Underneath there are layers upon layers of fascinating rhythm throughout, which make it much more than just a bunch of repetitive danceable beats (this release is also augmented by four bonus unfinished/demo tracks that give a nice window into how the original was constructed).

RiL has finally gotten the remastering that's been long overdue, so there are nuances of sound and percussion here that probably haven't been audible on any recording since the original LP. The sound improvement alone makes this an upgrade well worth buying.. assuming you can play it.

But that's one of the problems with this reissue: it's in Dualdisc format, which means a fair amount of CD players old and new won't be able to play it. And as novel as the idea of a single disc with CD & DVD sides is, it also makes storing/protecting the thing itself much more difficult than it needs to be. More strange, this release is in a cardboard/plastic digipak.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shotgun Method on September 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The Talking Heads, members of 1977's CBGB scene, certainly carved a unique niche in the music world. While the Ramones were pounding out 3-chord witty anthems and Television and Richard Hell were making literate punk rock, the Talking Heads were pioneering their own blend of dancy art-rock. While every album from Talking Heads '77 to Speaking In Tongues is classic material, if I was forced to choose their best album I'd have to side with Remain In Light. Although some gripe over Brian Eno's increased role in the band (some have said that he is the "fifth member") there is no denying that under his auspices as producer, David Byrne (vocals), Tina Weymouth (bass), Chris Frantz (drums) and Adrian Belew (guitar, later of King Crimson) released their best material.
Released in 1980, Remain In Light is often considered one of the seminal "New Wave" recordings, but it isn't really. The Talking Heads couldn't be compared to tripe like The Human League or Culture Club. Their music was diverse, intelligent, fluid, weird, and shake-your-hips-FUNKY.
The first half of Remain In Light is highly eccentric and upbeat dance music, sounding like some odd mutation of punk, African bush music, and funk. Wild polyrhythms abound, Byrne's vocals are quirky and neat bits of beat poetry ("I'm not a drowning man/I'm a tumbler!") and brilliantly inventive guitarist Belew unleashes sounds more remiscient of wild animals and electronic effects than the buzzsaw blast of punk. The second half, beginning with mainstream hit Once In A Lifetime (propelled by that timeless music video on MTV) progressively slows down the blistering pace with more moody and introspective pieces, ending with the dark dirge of The Overload (written by Eno, and very unlike the rest of the record).
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The Beatles, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello
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