I always have a tough time deciding my favourite Talking Heads album. “Remain in Light” almost seems like the obvious choice, but every time I put this album on I love it to bits and consider it to be one of the all-time greats. How would I rank its songs?
I rank all of Talking Heads albums in the list below, and I’ve also given “Remain in Light” the same treatment:
11 – Electric Guitar
Easily the most forgettable track on the album, “Electric Guitar” is kind of funky but doesn’t really go anywhere.
10 – Paper
This used to be a favourite of mine, but after many subsequent listens I’ve sort of lost interest. It’s not bad at all, but it’s just a very standard track.
9 – Air
One of the strangest lyrics that Byrne has ever conjured, “Air” seems like a weird topic to write about. The actual song is still good, but it’s just the lyrics that are a bit off-putting, even by Talking Heads’ standards.
8 – Animals
A very odd song that seemingly devolves into some sort of demonic chant by the end, “Animals” is a track only Talking Heads could pull off, and it would only work on this album.
7 – Memories Can’t Wait
One of the most nightmarish songs I’ve ever heard, but a very cool and intriguing listen.
6 – I Zimbra
Fear of Music kicks off in the most unexpected of ways – “I Zimbra” is completely different to the band’s first two albums, and the African poly-rhythms would go on to define their sound for the next decade.
5 – Cities
One of my favourite Byrne lyrics, “Cities” sees the aforementioned singer ramble on about the various places he’s visited. Talking Heads at their erratic best.
4 – Drugs
An amazing sonic masterpiece to close off the album, this collaboration between Byrne and Eno just works for some reason that I don’t even know of.
3 – Mind
“I Zimbra” lets you know that this album was going to be different, but “Mind” hits you like a ton of bricks with its funky, psychedelic sounds. I’d probably consider this to be a Top 10 Talking Heads song.
2 – Life During Wartime
One of the more famous songs from this album, “Life During Wartime” is a delightfully crazy song that is even better live – especially when Byrne frantically sprints in circles around the stage.
1 – Heaven
A truly beautiful track that shows the band’s more sentimental side, and I think it’s the simplicity of the song that has stuck with me all these years. There’s just something so moving about heaven being a place “where nothing ever happens”, and the other non-sequiter lyrics give the track an ethereal feel that fits the tone perfectly. A true classic.
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