Talking Heads
Remain in Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jeffery J. Bigglestein USER (51 Reviews)
October 16th, 2020 | 110 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Experimental Done Right.

This review has been pre-approved by my lawyers, and brought to you by the Sputnik Writer's Union: united we are based, divided we are losers.

When it comes to genre-defying experimental music, the results can be extremely varied. For every album people like to suck off and act snobbish about, there will actually be a release that holds up to the insufferable standards that the neckbeards on this site have. Talking Heads’ 1980 release Remain in Light is….actually a pretty solid example of the latter. It’s not perfect, but this concoction of funk, punk, afrobeat, and ambient rock actually holds up today despite being over 40 years old.

“Once in a Lifetime” is the main single here, and while it was initially just a simple attempt to make a radio-friendly hit, it actually is the best track on this record. The straightforward, yet groovy baseline and catchy production has made this track an iconic listen that even the normiest of normies will appreciate. “Crossyed and Painless” and “The Great Curve” both stand out as energetic and captivating listens. These two tracks’ influence draws strongly from artists like Fela Kuti and James Brown, but Talking Heads are able to put their own spin on this piece of art. The chorus of “Houses in Motion” is sexy and sleek. “Listening Wind”, meanwhile, is a brief moment for the listener to catch their breath. This song features deep and emotional lyrics, a great vocal performance, and an unsettling combination of electronic, yet natural, chips and whistles. At times, the listener feels immersed in this strange world of clashing genres and mesmerizing emotion.

While this album soars, it does sink on occasion. Colton now might be the time to look away. Anyways, while the Talking Heads nail the funk and the upbeat energy, the immersion is broken by a few slower paced, weaker tracks. David Byrne is a solid vocalist but can be a bit melodramatic and almost paranoid at times – this comes off well most of the record, but can be a bit disjointed and uneven as well. “Houses in Motion” has a great chorus, but when Byrne retreats and awkwardly mumbles his verses, the song loses its energy and intrigue. These compositions are impressively assembled, but seem to lead nowhere. At times the production is overwhelmingly crunched, cluttered, and confusing , seen best on “Born Under Punches”. Part of this may be studio shenanigans by producer Brian Eno, but this doesn’t add to the record besides being experimental for the sake of being experimental. This is the reason experimental as a genre is overrated, and why so many attempts to make experimental music fail.

I read an interview while doing research for my Kid A review, where Thom Yorke said Remain in Light was one of his biggest influences and a “massive reference point” for the record. Unfortunately for Thommy boy, he completely fails to grasp what makes a record like Remain in Light such a timeless spin. Picking lyrics out of a hat and shitting out gobeldygook outsider art that is the musical equivalent of a three year old vomiting his cheerios on a blank canvas is Kid A's formula, but it doesn't apply to Remain in Light. The depth and genius behind this record lies so much deeper than a pretentious and forced clustefuck. When this album slags, it sucks, sure, but when it soars, it’s brilliant and sophisticated. Is this the greatest album of all time, probably not, but at least there’s an argument to be had for it. Talking Heads impressively draws upon several different genres in order to create a refreshing, yet natural concoction of sounds and ideas with Remain in Light. And I'm giving this one a 4/5. This is based and confirmed.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2020


15130 Comments


One of these days I need to check David Byrne's work properly.

Digging: Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

*recrosses picket line*



yeah the union wasnt happy i keep crossing that damn picket line but ironically the only way to make the mods listen is to unwithhold our labor. its confusing but i think its time we form an anti-union to get what we want.



nice rec colton. was worried this would be another "wah muh experimantal" crap but no this was actually really good.



*unrecrosses picket line*

Colton
October 16th 2020


4209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sweet. I had a feeling you would have an appreciation for this one. It holds up tremendously well for a 40 year old album

Colton
October 16th 2020


4209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And same notrap, I plan on reviewing some

Ryus
October 16th 2020


20767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well im a tumbler!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2020


29329 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cooooooole when you gonna review Sound-Dust :[

Digging: Tricot - 10

Colton
October 16th 2020


4209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It’s like 2/3 done Johnny. It’s hard for me to listen to it even though I love it cause I basically only listen to Talking Heads right now. But I will get it done and get that thread made. Let’s say monday. I’ll post it monday or I suck forever.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2020


29329 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Okay lol if you're riding that wave, you're riding that wave - but ig Stereolab is probs one of the best options when it comes to bands to cool off on after Talking Heads ;]

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

slightly off topic, but anything gang of four made before 2005 is decent as well. it's sad to see how far theyve fallen.

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

nowaday's theyre a bunch of old fart suckers using generic fl studio synths and stale beats, making neolib bait. their lyrics dont have any depth besides "donald trump is orange/fat/ugly/a bully". and this is coming from a trump hater myself.

Colton
October 16th 2020


4209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah Johnny it’s been a pretty ridiculous wave, bound to die down eventually though. I’ll make an effort to relisten to Sound Dust today. Btw what’s the next album by them I should check?

TundraL5Z
October 16th 2020


5179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Seer biggles

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

anyone who negged is a loser and ignorant.

rellik009
October 16th 2020


1015 Comments


some really dumb/unnecessary lines in there, but overall I liked this review.
Have a pos' !

Cygnatti
October 16th 2020


33703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd

Digging: Autechre - SIGN

parksungjoon
October 16th 2020


22194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sexperimental

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

based as fuck.

MaryBabko
October 16th 2020


594 Comments


"Straightforward, yet groovy baseline"

Bassline you mean

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

nope.

JefferyBigglestein
October 16th 2020


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

great. now the neg bombers are here. 5/6 to 5/12. fuck off!!!!!



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