Morning Music: Crosseyed and Painless

Remain in Light - Crosseyed and PainlessToday we get to the greatest Talking Heads album, Remain in Light. And I guess I will spend two days on it. I figure you’ve all heard “Once in a Lifetime,” so let’s skip it. Although I have to admit, that was the song that got me into the album. I love the way that Byrne shouts the lyrics. And the rhythm section part is so infectious. Of course you could say the same thing about everything on the album. You could certainly say it about today’s tune “Crosseyed and Painless.”

Byrne is at his best when he is writing about people who are pathologically alienated from life. I suspect that says something about him, although I’ve never gone out of my way to find out what he is like as a person. He’s always seemed overly intellectual — sort of the way people see me. Of course, they are only partly right about me, and so I’m sure I’m only partly right about Byrne.

Regardless, I love the rap part of “Crosseyed and Painless”: facts are simple and facts are straight; facts are lazy and facts are late; facts all come with points of view; facts don’t do what I want them to… It’s rare that white people — especially of that time — were able to make rap their own. It is absorbed into the music, not poured on like taco sauce to give it a different culture’s taste.

The whole thing is amazing. I often complain about production, but in this case, all the stops are pulled out. The song goes crazy. But that drum and base riff is just unstoppable and it carries us through. It’s amazing to think that the band that started with Talking Heads 77 was able to reach this point of musical brilliance.

4 thoughts on “Morning Music: Crosseyed and Painless

  1. You could have picked any of those first four songs. I remember years ago driving with a friend listening to the Heads, and “Lifetime” came on. My friend, then beginning his descent into Rich Jerkness, said, as if hearing the song for the first time, “wow. This song is about self-examination.” Why yes it is. Yes it is.

    • I come back for more tomorrow. Then I’ll do a day on why people think Speaking in Tongues is better than it is. And then I’ll do a live set from the Remain in Light tour, which is great.

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