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Remain in Light
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Remain In Light
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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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
polyrhythmic(adj): 1: having many rhythms 2: having two or more rhythms proceeding simultaneously in different musical parts
Keep those definitions in mind when listening to this masterpiece from one of the most interesting bands I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. From the galloping multi-rhythmic opening song, "Born Under Punches(The Heat Goes On)," it becomes glaringly obvious that this is very original music. After pushing the Polyrhythmic Threshold with their previous albums, with varied success, Talking Heads shatter all their previous efforts with this epic and wholly amazing album. Along with their concert DVD, "Stop Making Sense," owning this album is absolutely essential to reach a full appreciation of this remarkable band. Both are exceptional experiences. My favorites from this CD are the faster tracks but the last two songs close the album with a somber, ethereal tone. The song "Listening Wind" is haunting, while "The Overload" is like walking around in a daze amid the ruins of some cataclysmic event. For the beginning fan I would suggest buying the DVD "Stop Making Sense" first, but soon after you should purchase this excellent album in a state of euphoria. I wish more bands would embrace polyrhythms and incorporate them in their songwriting. The songs on this album are crammed with them. Thank you.
Remain in Light is African poly-rhythms (and other World Music elements), exotic instrumentation, electronic sounds, applied to clever, highly literate songs. All of these complex elements are synthesized seamlessly by producer Brian Eno. While this album is nominally a Talking Heads record, David Byrne and Brian Eno deserve all the creative credit. The songs were written primarily by Byrne and Eno (who contributes musically to every track), with the other Talking Heads serving to accompany the other studio musicians.
A few other reviewers have remarked that this album sounds like mush, with elements thrown together without haphazardly. Nothing could be further from the truth. The World Music elements, pop elements, and studio effects are used judiciously to create music the feels effortless. It obviously isn't entirely spontaneous because there are so many exquisite sonic details and each song is precisely crafted. Every time you listen to Remain In Light, you will notice something you haven't heard before.
What makes Remain In Light even more remarkable is how endlessly listenable it is. The song structures are atypical of most popular music and Byrne writes some bizarre, esoteric lyrics. But Byrne sings with a quirky, often subtly humorous (that often isn't recognized) irony that makes the songs palatable. The songs are highly literate and impenetrable, yet infectious at the same time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
never heard it before. outside of played to death "once in a lifetime" rest is ok.Published 2 days ago by Marc Schwarz
Just a quick note after reading some of the reviews: Listening Wind is not, I repeat not about Native Americans. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Duane N. Rubadeau
New Wave meets African Polyrhythms. Totally worth any music lover's time.Published 4 months ago by Amanda T
It probably reeks of Texas public school ignorance for me to say this, but rock music is not immune from being too high-brow for its own good. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bud Sturguess
They're best work, IMHO. You'll dance all day and all night.Published 6 months ago by Michael Huntsberger
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