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The Thursday Throwback Track - Episode 179: Talking Heads & "Make Me Mic My Mouth"

Welcome to WEEK 179 of 4T! (Video Episode #5)

Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)

The Slow Burn

I never really knew much about Talking Heads. They were one of those peripheral bands for me – floating in and out of my field of vision depending on my mood & taste timing out right with what they were releasing. Lately I’ve been discovering more about them because I’ll be heading out to see David Byrne’s show in NYC soon, and saw an awesome new tune of his on Colbert. It piqued my interest.

Byrne & Talking Heads have always been their own thing. Not quite post punk or New Wave or world music or experimental or pop. Pretty much all of those things at once, and more. Not everything they’ve done is my deal, but when a song of theirs hits me it hits hard. (“Once in a Lifetime” from this album is a perfect example.) Anyone who’s been following along knows I have a soft spot for music that was produced roughly around 1977/8-1982/4. Tighter than what came before, yet still had crisp open-air ambience, and not as bombastic as what came after. This album is no exception. It’s got a hell of a range, but the tight production values really keep it together, and allow the ambient funky world weirdness to really shine.

Funny thing about Talking Heads. They were always respected. Every album they released is considered good/great. Yet their first FIVE albums really only had ONE successful song each. Their commercial breakthrough didn’t happen until 1983, and their best-selling album was in 1985 – TEN YEARS after they formed. They were ahead of the curve, or totally off the curve – probably didn’t give a damn about the curve – so it makes sense it would take a while for public tastes to catch up. Yet unlike other bands with a similar trajectory, when Talking Heads hit they stuck, and never really went away. Sometimes weird becomes its own hook, and when David Byrne does weird, he makes it sticky.

I don’t do a ton of out-and-out weird – I like to sprinkle it in everywhere to keep things interesting no matter how many times you listen. TH’s kind of eclecticism is off my center, but it still had its influence, especially in the ability to write about existential shit, produce in quirky ways, and wrap it all up in a yummy hooky beaty burrito. This song has all that:

Favorites are: Side one Track 2, and Side two Tracks 1 & 2. What’s your take on all this? Or what band do you love that had a slow burn kind of career. Discuss dammit!

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