Saturday, October 2, 2010

No Fear of Music

We're long over due for Talking Heads time, so let's fix that.

I dove back into Remain in Light recently, the Heads 4th album, most widely known for the hit, Once in a Lifetime.  The music video of David Byrne and his spastic gyrations (dancing would be overly kind) was the visual backdrop for his famous line, "Same as it ever was", and was the precursor to his Big Suit incarnation on the live Stop Making Sense.

Remain in Light introduced us to the band's world sound.  They transformed seemingly overnight from a 4 piece band to a large ensemble of background vocalists, unique percussionists, and pulsating ethnic vibrations.  I had the pleasure of seeing them once in concert, Central Park 1980.  Hypnotic is the only adjective that describes the noise experience.

The lyrics of one particular track, Seen and Not Seen, epitomizes Talking Heads hypnotic poetry best for me.  It has to have been several years since I worked my way through the entire album, front to back, but on a long car trip last month, I did it.  I was alone in the car, so the volume might have been a tad "enthusiastic".  Odds are good that I was singing in a loud, off-key baritone, and that cars passing by honked and bored travelers had a healthy laugh at my expense.  No guilt, and no You Tube version available, to my knowledge. 

I encourage you to listen to the music, but here are the words.  Tip for you kids out there - good poetry doesn't need to rhyme; it only needs to speak unique emotional truth.

He would see faces in movies, on T.V., in magazines, and in books....
He thought that some of these faces might be right for him....And
through the years, by keeping an ideal facial structure fixed in his
mind....Or somewhere in the back of his mind....That he might, by
force of will, cause his face to approach those of his ideal....The
change would be very subtle....It might take ten years or so....
Gradually his face would change its' shape....A more hooked nose...
Wider, thinner lips....Beady eyes....A larger forehead.

He imagined that this was an ability he shared with most other

people....They had also molded their faced according to some
ideal....Maybe they imagined that their new face would better
suit their personality....Or maybe they imagined that their
personality would be forced to change to fit the new appear-
ance....This is why first impressions are often correct...
Although some people might have made mistakes....They may have
arrived at an appearance that bears no relationship to them....
They may have picked an ideal appearance based on some childish
whim, or momentary impulse....Some may have gotten half-way
there, and then changed their minds.

He wonders if he too might have made a similar mistake.

Original Release Date 1980

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