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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Talking Heads: Remain In Light (IAS #26)

We have a wild one for us tonight:

Talking Heads: Remain In Light

13 comments:

  1. Easily my favorite studio album of theirs. The Name of This Band is my favorite overall, which your old site actually introduced me too. So, thanks for that!

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  2. "easily the best album of 1980"

    A little bit of trivia regarding other albums from that year: on the old site this was rated a 13/15 while Zenyatta Mondatta was rated 14/15, Peter Gabriel (III) was rated 13/15 as were Double Fantasy and Sandinista.

    Also, Fear of Music was given the best Talking Heads studio album tag, while The Name of this Band is Talking Heads was given 14/15.

    --

    For my personal opinion, my relationship towards the Talking Heads studio output is very similar to my one towards Deep Purple's, or The Who's . I felt their earlier output was superseded by The Name Of This Band, though I didn't think they fully captured the nuances of this album in live mode, which makes this the most indispensable of the Heads' studio output to me.

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    Replies
    1. George's opinion has changed since that old site, and his opinions then should not be used as a basis for judging his opinions now.

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  3. It's an objective fact that the best album of 1980 is Searching For The Young Soul Rebels.

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    Replies
    1. Your opinion isn't, nor is anyone else's, subjective fact.

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    2. You may want to acquaint yourself with the concept of comic hyperbole; it's often a handy way to express enthusiasm.

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    3. "subjective fact"

      ...?

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  4. "King Crimson never went for that African / Haitian voodooistic angle"

    Uh, "Thela Hun Ginjeet" says otherwise.

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  5. This album, having been released in 1980, when I was 14, completely missed me. Only after going to college in 1984 and having my musical horizons expanded, did I find about it. I thought it was new then. It still sounds new now. It's a work of musical art. And is now one of my top ten. I'm not gonna play it a dinner party or anything, but it lives in my heart as a complete album. Just blows my mind.

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  6. I'm generally not a fan of Byrne's vocal style, but this was definitely worth the listen. I may try to go deeper into their catalog. That guitar on Born Under Punches was crazy, I've never heard that tone before. As far his lyrics, I guess all you can do is shrug your shoulders to the beat and stop trying to make sense of them. Just like Eno.

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  7. George, I'd like to ask why did you skip Television's Marquee Moon (currently RYM #25, I think that it swapped places with The White Album fairly recently)? Any plans to review this album as the next one in the series or are you going straight for "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady"?

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    Replies
    1. RYM's ranking mechanics are wonky; I recall looking at them several weeks ago to see what albums are likely ahead for the next month. "London Calling" was roughly 26/7th at the time, then drop one week later all the way to 33rd, and has since risen again to 29th. Even this album he reviewed under the belief it was still ranked 26th before it and "White Album" each dropped a spot for otherworldly reasons.

      Short of the matter is, don't worry too much. If not tomorrow, he's likely to pick it up soon.

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  8. Stunned by the almost feverish language used in this review - "one of the greatest songs ever written, and maybe the best ever use of vocal polyphony in a rock setting, period" and "perfect synthesis" etc., I experience a major downer with Side A. I hold GS' encyclopedic knowledge of the material very high and so do not doubt his word on this being the best use of vocal polyphony in a rock setting. If that is the case, I have hope that sometime in the future that this will be improved upon. Until then, I may have to go back to Act II of Figaro to satisfy the craving that this description effected.

    Thankfully, Side B comes to the rescue with its more Talking Heads-like sound. And just because it may not break new ground, does not mean it is worse than the Side A material. What I welcome there is the return of white space, the small dots of silence that help form the light and shade contrast with the small dots of non-white. I am receptive to completely dark sound paintings as well, but I expect a lot more than just layering and vocal polyphony.

    Still, this one is a great example of how this Defense/Prosecution format works extremely well. You don't really have to agree or disagree to derive benefit from the review. I am one who is not normally satisfied with a brusque dismissal of the feeling that my reaction is divergent from everyone else's. It is frustrating when your favorite is dismissed by everyone else or if you are unmoved by what others rate highly. I feel a compelling need to break this down through multiple listens and investigation. And this review format is of immense help. Either it helps me make a breakthrough and resolve it by effecting a musical education for myself or a sort of resolution where you get the reasons why the divergence exists in the first place but reconcile yourself to living with that. Either way, I am better off than before.

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