Sunday, February 20, 2011

Essential Albums of the '80s: Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980)

When I think of New Wave music it isn't this, which is probably why I was surprised by it when I gave it a first listen recently. Much of the New Wave revival of the last few years was driven more by the genre's later years, when synth pop was more at the forefront. From what I've read, the term was first used for rock music that was experimental and distanced from punk, incorporating electronic and other influences. Remain in Light was the fourth and most acclaimed of the American New Wave band's albums (Rolling Stone named it #4 on their list of the best '80s albums), although the albums that followed after this were more commercially successful. The music is highly repetitive, relying on loops and African rhythms moreso than pop melodies, which are largely absent. It's funk influence is pretty evident too, such as on "The Great Curve," which uses a funky guitar lick, looped throughout with tribal beats, layers of vocals and some synthesizer blasts. "Once in a Lifetime" is the most recognizable track, having been used in the opening of Down and Out in Beverly Hills. The album's closing track, "The Overload" is its most foreboding, although I wouldn't call it moody. Interesting music, but probably not what I'm into.

Best: Once in a Lifetime, The Great Curve, Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)

1 comment:

Katy said...

The only song I could understand on this album was Once in a Lifetime. Everything else sounded like distressing noise to me. I tried hard to appreciate it and failed.