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Talking Heads

Remain In Light

If you are friends with a Talking Heads fanatic, and they claim any Heads album other than Remain In Light as their favorite, get a new friend. This is their masterpiece, end of story. But it is not their greatest album for the obvious reasons. "Born Under Punches" and "Once In A Lifetime" are the ones that got massive airplay, yes, and David Byrne popularized giant suit jackets and made chopping motions on his arm while he asked us to ask ourselves how did we get here...all of those things are great, and were weird and different from all the other things Talking Heads had done up to that point. And this was the album that presented the new Jumbo-Pak Talking Heads band with Adrian Belew and 23 other people for about two years. But NONE of that matters, because the true greatness of this album rests soley on two songs.

The first is obvious; "The Great Curve." Gently put, this song is a Motherfucker. This song is God. This song swallows and shits the entire Universe, burps, wipes the corner of its mouth with all of Recorded History. This song existed at the dawn of time and waited until 1980 to become known to Man, and chose the Talking Heads to be its sculptor, not The Beatles (too soon) or Led Zeppelin (they got "Kashmir"). This song has nothing to do with Talking Heads. This is the Talking Heads doing a fairly decent cover version of that song which cannot exist or be known at human level of conciousness. There is a wildass immortal spirit of some kind that waited millions of years to have its own theme song on a dinky planet called Earth, and this song is that theme. "The Great Curve" is the sound of Eternity fucking Infinity and both of them coming at the same time, represented by the otherwordly sounds of Adrian Belew's untouchable screaming guitar solo. This is the best song recorded by anyone in the 1980's or afterward, not much of a compliment so far, but still, an accomplishment. This song was a gift to mankind from another dimension, the Talking Heads just held the paint brush. Got it? Its omission from three best of collections is a severe error of judgement.

The other, less obvious song, is "The Overload." Simply one of the most beautiful and spooky mood pieces ever recorded. Lyrically, it could be inspired by an autopsy, or an autopsy turvy. Who knows. Hear it on headphones and get lost to its beauty. Even most diehard fans would never name this as a favorite, but it is truly one of their masterworks. This is the strongest album of the band's career, considered by almost anyone into the band as their masterpiece. Every song is truly great, but it's really about just those two songs. The Talking Heads went on to better selling albums and even greater fame, but this stands as their creative zenith. They would never push the envelope quite this far again, a point that saddens many fans. The Beatles sobered up after Magical Mystery Tour, and the Heads came back to earth after this one. Great cover art by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, by the way. Truly monumental, prepare to be outlived by it.  -  Bucks Burnett

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