Brian Eno (produced)
Combining influences from funk bands like Funkadelic and James Brown and punk bands like Velvet Underground and Patti Smith is no easy task. Talking Heads pulled it off however with their masterpiece Remain In Light, creating a style of music that has yet to be duplicated.
The unpredictability of this album hits you immediately with "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)". This song is just so off the wall, you don't know what to expect next. Random sounds, and crazy video game syntehsized noises litter the song, but in a very good way. Belew's vocals just blend so perfectly with Byrne and the song is amazing. And this is only the beginning. 5/5
Next up comes "Crosseyed and Painless", my personal favorite on the record. The song is musically similar to "Born Under Punches". There are two distincitve rythms going on throughout the song, but they pull it off nicely. The piercing guitars midway through the song are really what makes the song for me. Byrne is just amazing vocally on this song, and while it isn't quite as intentive as the opening song, this one has a bit more substance. 5/5
"The Great Curve" hits as something completely different. Instead of relying on guitar and keyboard synth, this is more of a vocally and percussion driven song. The percussion isn't your normal set of drums either, it sounds a bit like African drums. The vocals in the song are really what makes the song superb though, with the nice guitar solo mixed in here and there. 3.5/5
"Once In A Lifetime" is the song most people will have heard. It was their failed attempt at a single. If you haven't heard this song you have been under a rock, but I'll describe it a bit anyway. The bass riff is extremely simple, but catchy nonetheless, the song has a twinkly feel to it, and again has very catchy vocals. Another great song on an album full of them 4.5/5
"Houses In Motion" is kind of a lazy song, and one of my least favorite on the album. The trumpet just doesn't seem to fit. Most of the vocals are spoken rather than sung, and it is musically very simple, which is good for the kind of song it is, but generally this is a skipped song for me. 2.5/5
"Seen And Not Seen" is another strong Eno inspired song like "Houses In Motion" although this one has more redeaming qualities when it comes to the music. The vocals are still spoken, but the song has a magical feel to it. The handclaps and synthesized noises and background singing are what makes the song. This is a song which is more like a story similar to Velvet Underground's "The Gift", although "Seen And Not Seen" doesn't ramble, and is a much easier listen. 4/5
"The Listening Wind" is a fucking amazing song. I cannot even begin to describe the greatness of this song. It really calls upon many African influences. It is soft, yet powerful. The lyrics in the song are so deep, and the guitar is amazing. Belew has moments of pure genius on this song. I could listen to this song on repeat all day. 5/5
"The Overload" is another Eno inspired song. It is slightly ambient; there are swirling guitar-loops. A pulsing synthesizer that sounds like the buzz of electricity. Byrne’s vocals are slow and measured. They couldn't have picked a better song to end the album on. Pure magic. 5/5
For an album lacking any true "single", Remain In Light is still able to shine bright. The later half of the track is very Brian Eno influenced, and sounds little like anything else that the Heads have done. This is near the top in my favorite album list, and is a must listen for anyone in the art-punk scene...ah, what the hell, it is a must listen for anyone.
Great review, but I think you can be even more generous with this one, to be honest. Usually I'm a conservative rater, but this is a brilliant album. Anyone who hasn't heard this definitely should, regardless of what kind of music they like. It sounds different from most things, and it's fresh and just great. 5/5.
Once In A Lifetime is a 5/5 song, easily. I agree with Zappa that you could have been a bit more generous, especially since Franz Ferdinand's success should see a lot more people interested in punk-funk like Talking Heads and Gang Of Four.
Wait, Robert Fripp was on this album? The guy from King Crimson? Weird.
Also, this band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Anthony Kieidis of RHCP spoke at the band's inauguration. He said that this band was the greatest in the world and it was the reason he started playing music. Is this surprising?
Whoa. First off, Fripp is not on this album. In ANY way.
Second off, um, you'd really mark an album down because it has less than say, 1 hour of music on it? Some of the greatest albums ever produced have 34-45 minutes of music on them. I personally perfer shorter albums, they often make a more difinitive statement.
[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Whoa. First off, Fripp is not on this album. In ANY way.
Second off, um, you'd really mark an album down because it has less than say, 1 hour of music on it? Some of the greatest albums ever produced have 34-45 minutes of music on them. I personally perfer shorter albums, they often make a more difinitive statement.[/QUOTE]First off, I pulled the members off a list of Talking Heads members. I didn't research to make sure that every said member was on this particular album. Sorry. I will do that next time.
I actually agree with the shorter albums thing that BoF said. I really seem to find a shorter work to be more coheisve and filler-less than some of the longest works. There are obvious exceptions, in fact some of my favorite albums are over 70 minutes, but even the greatests artists sometimes don't have that much good material to release at once.
I prefer that an artist release the music while it's fresh to them, and not to wait for more ideas to develop before putting out an album. In a lot of cases, I like to think of an album as a look at the artist's feelings at the time of its release. If they allow it to sit too long, different ideas end up on the album that are completely unrelated to how they felt when the first tunes were written.
I also would prefer that the artist does not write some filler songs to make the album a more "respectable" length for immediate release, because that, of course, detracts from the overall quality of the effort.
In short, an album should be as long as it takes for the artist to paint their musical picture accurately and without any revisions or add-ons.
I didn't say that I wouldn't give a short album a 5/5, just not this particular one. Of the 8 songs I'd say I was unimpressed with 2 of them. That's a quarter of the album. The average "filler" songs don't have as big of an impact on an album with say 14 or so songs as they do on an album with 8. I didn't mean to imply that no short albums deserve a 5/5, nor did I say that.
TH are true 'all time' greats. Not exactly my genre, but i still love and admire them.
as for that "length of album" discussion. its quite simple. quality vs quantity. although some bands can fill an entire album with pure quality (e.g. tool), I'd rather listen to 30mins of quality rather than an hour of mediocre