Saturday, October 27, 2012

1980 in music pt 2: Talking Heads Remain In Light

1980 was a year of change in popular music. Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" album sounds nothing like their first album (Talking Heads '77) and at the least an extreme left turn from their 2nd and 3rd efforts (more songs about buildings and food, fear of music).

As far as I know, nothing similar (in western music) had been attempted before. These are less songs and less jams then rhythm tracks and word expositions. A lot of the sound and world music influence was helped along by producer Brian Eno (and indeed you can hear a little bit of his "taking tiger mountain (by strategy)" ethos here and there), and a huge difference was the presence of Adrian Belew. Adrian Belew, who would become even more famous with King Crimson in 1981, was discovered by Frank Zappa playing in a Nashville covers band, and featured on Zappa's album Sheik Yerbouti and other live albums of the era. Later he left Zappa to tour with Bowie (he would play Robert Fripp's HEROES solo among other riffs) where he was introduced to the talking heads.

Those of you who are familiar with KC's excellent eighties trio of Discipline, Beat and 3 of a perfect pair, will immediately recognize Adrian's tone, personality and contributions here right from the first track, "Born Under Punches". Another standout track, and the "hit" of this album, was "Once in a lifetime". World music loops, and oddbeat spoken word actually coalesce into something of an all time radio favorite.

You may find yourself behind the wheel of a strange automobile...

[1980 would only get weirder (and better)]

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