Rolling Stone album #126
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.