Talking Heads: David Byrne (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion); Jerry Harrison (guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion); Tina Weymouth (keyboards, bass, percussion); Chris Frantz (keyboards, drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Nona Hendryx (vocals); Adrian Belew (guitar); Brian Eno (vocals, keyboards, bass); Robert Palmer, Jon Hassell.
Recorded at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, The Bahamas, and Sigma Sound, New York, New York.
Though the previous album FEAR OF MUSIC provided a bit of foreshadowing, Talking Heads fans could never have guessed what was in store for them with the release of REMAIN IN LIGHT. A visionary work of innovation and inspiration, it's arguably one of the finest albums of the 1980s. The band leaves behind the two-guitars-over-a-quirky-rock-beat ethic of their previous work, adopting a funky, modal approach. Abandoning traditional song form and chord progressions, the tunes here are built around layers of overdubbed keyboard, guitar and percussion parts that weave around each other in an almost fugue-like manner, relying on the adding and subtracting of elements in the mix for dynamics, instead of on chord changes and structural development.
It was a radical approach for a rock band, and it's reflected in the lyrics as well. Byrne abandons his urban paranoia of old in favor of a more spiritual, third world-influenced style of writing. Adrian Belew injects some grit with his postpunk-psychedelia guitar work (suggestive of his upcoming work with King Crimson, as is the overall sound of REMAIN IN LIGHT). This one is for the ages.
What the critics say…
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.126) – Ranked #126 in Rolling Stone's “500
Greatest Albums Of All Time” – “[A] New Wave masterpiece…REMAIN IN
LIGHT marked Talking Heads' transformation from avatars of the punk avant-garde
to polyrhythmic magicians with hit-single appeal.”
Rolling Stone (11/89) – Ranked #4 in Rolling Stone's ‘100 Best Albums of The 80s’ survey.
Rolling Stone (11/13/03, p.101) – 5 stars out of 5 – “…The band no longer sounded twitchy and overcaffeinated; it made music that was confident and fluid. The Heads had already mastered minimalist funk, but here they built jams around thick, slurred rhythms…”
Spin (p.140) – “[They] created a big-band sound that would later inspire outfits like !!!.”
Q (p.129) – Ranked #5 in Q Magazine's “10 Essential Reissues Of 2006.”
Uncut (p.82) – 5 stars out of 5 – “[P]erhaps the Big Bang of early-‘80s culture clash…Byrne and Eno's lyrics explored the acute sense of dislocation at the dawn of the Reagan/Thatcher era.”
Vibe (12/99, p.162) – Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
NME (Magazine) (9/25/93, p.19) – Ranked #11 among The 50 Greatest Albums Of The '80s.
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) – Ranked #68 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of All Time.’