Friday, February 8, 2013

126 Remain in the Light. Got this covered

Album: Remain in the Light
Artist: Talking Heads
Genre: Rock
Year: 1980


1. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
2. Crosseyed and Painless
3. The Great Curve
4. Once in a Lifetime
5. Houses in Motion
6. Seen and Not Seen
7. Listening Wind
8. The Overload

There's a jam band named Phish who you may or may not be aware of. They're four guys from Vermont who play long shows to a die hard fans who expect a different setlist every night and look forward to extended songs that wander away from their initial structure and end up somewhere in the jammed stratosphere after 20 minutes of improvisation.

I mention them because for a few years they performed an entire album as a Halloween "costume". On their halloween night performance they pretended to be another band and played someone else's album from start to finish. One night in 1995 they decided to play Talking Heads Remain in the Light and it's fantastic. 

I might be committing musical sacrilige here but I'd suggest Phish's live version of Talking Head's classic album is better than the original. Not that I'm saying Talking Heads are no good it's just that the songs that make up Remain in the Light really benefit from some breathing space. While the original was recorded amidst the restraint of a studio environment and the limits of an album's length, Phish are set free to take the songs to wherever they want them to go. Along with horns and an extra percussionist they command the stage and they're allowed to do whatever they want. They clearly remain in the structure of the original compositions and have rehearsed the vocal harmonies and complicated bits but they've left themselves room to stretch, move and create. The tunes are recognizeable and unmistakeable but serve as a launching point for the groove and mood they've developed to go beyond their original confines.

Phish make you appreciate how good the songs are. Talking Heads are great, don't get me wrong, but the limitations they had to work on didn't do the songs they'd written the justice they deserved.

If you're a fan of Talking Heads then give Phish's full length rendition a try (it's commercially available as Live Phish volume 13). If you have never heard Remain in the light then give both the original and the cover a go, they're both worth hearing.

Highlight: Crosseyed and Painless
Lowlight: Listening Wind

Influenced by: The Beatles
Influenced: Phish

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "The only problem with this cd is that I've heard Phish's hyperenergetic version of it and now all of the songs on the first side seem like they're playing on a record player set on 16."

-Yeah. I can see your point.

So are you happy to remain in the light or are you going to step away from it? Let me know below.

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