Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rock of Ages: Talking Heads - "The Great Curve" (1980)

Picking just one song from a band is hard. What's even harder sometimes is picking one song from ONE album by one band. One of these cases is in the Talking Heads fantastic magnum opus Remain in Light. The single "Crosseyed and Painless" was my first choice, although "Once in a Lifetime" may be the quintessential Talking Heads song. I also wrestled with the tracks "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" or "Listening Wind" for their world music vibe and social comment. However, the song that currently gets my rocks off and may be the best overview of the music from this record would have to go to "The Great Curve." An album cut that is ambitious, layered, frantic and gorgeous. It has every trapping that this fantastic album has overlayed by the funkiest beat and bassline that Heads were able to concoct. Brian Eno produced the record as well as helped out with some instrumentation, and other notables like budding session gutarist and future King Crimson inductee Adrian Belew lends a helping hand with his ferocious and animalistic guitar shredding on the solos.

The Talking Heads did not need such help creating great music, but having some nice support definitely adds to the experience, especially on this song. David Byrne's lyrics of desperation of trying to figure out the world around it is frantic and layered with tons of backing vocals peircing through and overlaping and causing more confusion, but beautiful confusion. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz head the percussion section and with furious ryhthms from congas, bongos, drums and Weymouth's bass set a strong backbone of kinetic energy. Jerry Harrison helmed keys and guitars and his support is nothing short of fantastic. The band melds world music into their own form of art pop on "The Great Curve" and on every song on this album. It's the fantastic nature of this song that garners my utmost respect. It's a dance song, an anthem to the paranoia of the times and has some of the strangest and artistic acheivments in recording and sound.

Up Next: Adam and the Ants find ridicule is nothing to be scared of

No comments: