Friday, August 26, 2016
In 2013 I read a novel called The Humans, an interesting read, and near the end of the novel, this song is referenced, and several lyrics are included. It ends the novel.
Because I've been listening to a bit of Talking Heads recently, this song showed up in the 'recommended' sidebar on YouTube, and remembering the novel reference, I gave it a try.
This is highly reminiscent, for me, of the cassettes my father would play in the truck when I was very young. He brought African reggae tapes back from the continent, and the guitar playing in this song essentially emulates it almost. There's a feeling of nostalgia and comfort in hearing it thanks to its old familiarity.
The drums are simple, but now and then they take on a different beat that puts the snare in between the bass drum. It reminds me of when I was obsessed with 'Our House' by Madness, which uses the same drum rhythm - leading bass drum, snare falling in the middle.
One thing I really like is the band's own acknowledgement in the song's title - "Naive Melody" - that this song's music is simplistic. The same three notes are used: D, E, C, then back to E. They had the apparent mentality that rotating around one progression is naive and not stimulating enough to be a good song musically. Of course, all the keyboard accents and additions are further examples of this: One looped progression while David Byrne and keyboard player Jerry Harrison literally messed around on a couple of keyboards. They do it well, however. There's a real world sound in it, and bassist Tina Weymouth played the guitar. What's funny is that she apparently knew how to play neither instrument and just, as the other two did, messed about.
This was David Byrne's honest attempt at writing a love song, which he did "almost completely using non sequiturs." This isn't unusual for Talking Heads, with 'Burning Down the House' almost entirely uses random phrases. There are a few notable lines I really like: "You got light in your eyes" and "You got a face with a view." The music is upbeat, happy, dynamic yet naive, and sometimes exuding cuteness. The high-pitched keyboard parts you hear just before the vocals always gave me an image of something small, like a kitten, looking up at something with interest, or, more personally, the face of a girl I liked. When I heard that riff, I actually realized I used to hear it occasionally at Wal-Mart. It was the only audible bit of the song I could hear in the store.
Thanks to the idea behind the lyrics, the music's nostalgic familiarity to me, and its dynamic, happy sound, I think I would consider it an appropriate song to dance to with my girlfriend if I actually had one. Especially if we married. That would be the wedding song, or at least one of them. Most people appear to like 'Every Breath You Take' by The Police, which is ironic considering it's a post-breakup obsession song.
The music video features the band and their session players happily watching home videos on TV before going downstairs to jam the song with easy happiness.