Talking Heads
Remain in Light


5.0
classic

Review

by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 45 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist


Rolling Stone album #126

Members:

Brian Eno (produced)
Adrian Belew
David Byrne
Chris Frantz
Jerry Harrison
Tina Weymouth

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.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zappa
March 21st 2004


355 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

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.

Scott Herren
March 22nd 2004


192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The only reason it isn't a 5/5 is because although it is magnificent, it is only 8 songs.

Iai
Emeritus
August 6th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

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.

manoulos
August 7th 2004


28 Comments


Good review, but the great curve is awesome (5/5), and the whole album too (5/5). I don't think the velvet underground can be called a punk group though i know what you mean.
Very good effort. :thumb:

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 7th 2004


2125 Comments


Top albumThis Message Edited On 09.26.05

BirdsOfFires
September 6th 2004


92 Comments


Dude, how can you rate this any less than 5/5? Also, Houses In Motion is one of the best songs on this album, the vocal tradeoffs are a complete highlight.

Besides, Brian Eno didn't sing on this. That was Belew on "Born Under Punches".

YDload
September 6th 2004


1207 Comments


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?

Scott Herren
September 6th 2004


192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Besides, Brian Eno didn't sing on this. That was Belew on "Born Under Punches".[/QUOTE]
Whoops. A mistype there. Should be Belew.

Scott Herren
September 6th 2004


192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

[QUOTE=BirdsOfFires]Dude, how can you rate this any less than 5/5? Also, Houses In Motion is one of the best songs on this album, the vocal tradeoffs are a complete highlight.
[/QUOTE]
It's just my opinion on listening to the album, nothing else. I gave it a 4.5 because of it's length. The material on the album is 5/5.

40 oz 2 freedom
September 6th 2004


96 Comments


My dad got me into this album a long time ago, it is amazing.

BirdsOfFires
September 8th 2004


92 Comments


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.

Scott Herren
September 8th 2004


192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

[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.

Second off, yes.

Zappa
September 8th 2004


355 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

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.

Scott Herren
September 8th 2004


192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

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.

Tomahawk
December 16th 2004


124 Comments


This album is amazing, I love it.

Yeah that's all I have to say. But it is amazing, and everybody should listen to it.

sr800bkBassist
February 4th 2005


115 Comments


oh my god this album is great.

i love Listening Wind.

knife_prty
June 13th 2005


4 Comments


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

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2006


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I must get this, for it's one of the highest rated albums on sputnik, and I'm a sucker for post-punk.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

The Jungler
June 27th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^ He's right. I just changed their genres to show that.
This CD still rules.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2006


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed, this album is awesome.



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