Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980), 7/10

There is a lot to love in Remain in Light, and while I don’t fully agree with its endless praise, it has its moments. This is the very first physical record I bought and for good reason. Whatever genre you label this with, it needs a qualifier, even within its individual songs. While you can argue as to their efficacy, every moment is purposeful, leaving Talking Heads and Eno with perhaps one of the most instantaneously interesting, fun records ever recorded. Like most, I first heard "Once in a Lifetime” and it quickly made a personal impact on my young ear, but unfortunately I wasn't interested in the rest of the album at that age. The big MTV hit music video for the song gave an insight into David Byrne's brilliant madness furthering its power of attraction. His essence is poured directly into these songs, yet Eno’s work is essential to furthering the sound. Remain in Light would be nothing without either of these vital components in unison. All praise aside, this is clearly a lopsided album leaning on the momentum of its first stretch and its sometimes questionable cultural borrowings. The first four songs are monstrously infectious, while the rest are too lax and moderate in their introspection to amount to much when considering their leaning on such a concept. They lack the energy and passion of the introduction and its superbly powerful single. Still, it does not suffer so much that the album is significantly lesser as a piece of music, the important songs are compelling and moving enough to cover for the rest and I am obviously in the minority in viewing its narrative as inconsistent. The momentum grinding to a halt in the last few tracks is just too jarring not to notice and “The Overload” is an even less effective borrowing of aesthetics from Joy Division; it is again so blatant that I can’t help but be unimmersed by its presence. Remain in Light is a fantastic album but not quite the flawless gem that its reputation reflects.