Review Summary: Remain in Light
Talking Heads at this point in time was nearly done in. Dysfunction and disagreements, as well as David Byrne’s desire to go solo, all signaled and further sped up the dissolution of Talking Heads. Among the several problems, was one bright spot. Enter the Heads’ swan song, Naked
. Marking a return to the African-influenced sound of Remain in Light
is a welcome return to form, with the band dishing out quality music just as they did years earlier. A major difference between the two albums is the quality of the albums, with the difference in quality of the latter sticking out like a sore thumb. Despite this, Naked
not only serves as a return to form (or as close as it can get to being one), but as a pretty decent way of calling it quits.
In tracks such as Mr. Jones
, Ruby Dear
, and the standout track, Blind
, instantly inherit bits and pieces of what made Remain in Light
so great. The worldbeat-flavoured (Nothing But) Flowers
, however, showcase the wavering quality of the Heads’ music. The theme of modern society being reverted to a natural state and its narrator being unable to get used to his new world only parallels with Life During Wartime
from 1979’s Fear of Music
, a classic song of a post-apocalyptic society with an unheroic urban guerilla as its narrator who was willing to live in the remains of his world. The track only drags down the album in the end.
, the final track, wanders upon a foreign theme yet undiscovered by Talking Heads. Featuring Johnny Marr of The Smiths on guitar, Byrne delivers a pained vocal performance, detailing a tale of hard labor without end. Cool Water
, with its unusually dark theme, ends Naked
on a rather brooding note.
Not long after the release of Naked
, Talking Heads would go on hiatus, only to come to a bitter end in 1991. In comparison to classic albums such as Talking Heads: 77
and Remain in Light
is outmatched in about everything from classic tracks to a withstanding legacy, whereas Naked
is destined to be put on the backburner and ignored. Despite the problems concerning the band, it is worth the time to check out and deserves just as much attention as their classic albums.