Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Canon #5

Talking Heads - "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)"

I want to start this edition of the Canon with a quote from my good friend and co-blogger, Rob, who once said: "Songs just don't get any better than this." He is right. I could stop writing there, but, then, I would deprive my dear readers (all seven of you!) the pleasure of reading my sappy and exaggerated musings. Fortunately for me, this is a sappy song, and I say that with the utmost respect.

The Talking Heads are nothing less than one of the greatest American rock bands, or, one of the greatest rock bands for that matter. However, they were never known for being especially sentimental or sweet. Amidst all of David Byrne's detached, cynical observations and rampant musical experimentation, there are tender moments to be found, and "Naive Melody" is the most tender. Since their sweet moments are far and few between, you know there's only sincerity and vulnerability behind lines like "And you love me til my heart stops/Love me til I'm dead." The band's performance is restrained and lulling - a perfect bed for the lyrics. It's hypnotic melody, exotic instrumentation, and Byrne's impassioned vocals find a deep trench in your brain and never leave.

I should probably note that I became especially transfixed by this song after hearing David Byrne perform it with the Arcade Fire. As a devout fan of both the Arcade Fire and the Talking Heads, this pairing was a godsend. When I heard this version, I could not believe how young and passionate David Byrne still sounded. I also thought that the Arcade Fire's performance of the song sounded better than the Talking Heads' original studio version of "Naive Melody." Win Butler's guitar carries the melody instead of Jerry Harrison's keyboards, and, the kettle drums and violin add wonderful nuances to an already exceptional song.

I guess this must be the place.


At 11:52 am GMT-5, Blogger Rob said...

It's true, songs don't get any better than this.

As far as I'm concerned, the definitive version is the live version on the Heads' Stop Making Sense. Watching David Byrne perform it, and seeing how the rest of the band reacts to it, is mindblowing. One of the best moments in film.


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