Talking Heads (1980)
A case could easily be made that nothing truly new has been done in rock music since this record. It contains traces of genres that are still emerging today. Afropop, disco, hip-hop, new wave, art rock, post-rock, funk, jam rock, dance punk, techno and goth – all are touched upon in this head-spinning tour de force, delivered with perhaps the most astonishingly deep and elaborate production ever conceived (courtesy of David Byrne and unofficial band member Brian Eno). Deconstruction, dehumanization, pop art, nihilism, humanism, technology, dadaism, and gospel choirs run together as a massive organism of countless musicians plays its heart out. To say it is the ultimate dance party and a celebration of creativity is to say nothing. Its pacing is also unique and very organic – the record is born, lives, breathes, relaxes, then slowly dies on the trudging, wintry closer, “The Overload”. Remain In Light is complete in ways albums rarely are. It’s possibly the 80s’ most influential record. And it was pretty commercially popular in its own right too. Boasting a scattershot assortment of sonic influences and polyethnic performers, it bridged the increasing racial divide in American music for one last time. It’s just important, is what I’m saying.
Key track: Any of the first four. And I don’t say that lightly – this is the ONLY album where I couldn’t possibly pick just one quintessential highlight.
See also: My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts – Brian Eno and David Byrne (1981), The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads – Talking Heads (1982), Speaking In Tongues – Talking Heads (1983), Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)