571. with our love

“My introduction to Talking Heads went something like this.  Maybe 1978, artist guy (obviously high on quality drugs) walks up to me at a party and says, ‘Where does everybody live? In some kind of building. What does everybody eat? Food. More Songs About Buildings and Food is about everybody.’ And it was good at parties.” (Philip Random)

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592. needles in the camel’s eye

“Sometimes I need to see a song used in a movie to truly get it. In the case of Needles in the Camel’s Eye (the first song on the first side of Brian Eno’s first solo album), that movie was Velvet Goldmine, the title sequence in which glam-rock fervour erupts through drab Britain circa 1971-72. As the story goes, David Bowie refused to let director Todd Haynes use any of his music in a movie that was a essentially about him. So Haynes scrambled, signed up everybody else that was relevant at the time, and the result was perhaps more confusing than originally intended, but probably better.” (Philip Random)

VelvetGoldmine-POPidol

594. eggs in a briar patch

The Catherine Wheel was David Byrne‘s first solo album, recorded while the Talking Heads were officially on hiatus. The soundtrack for a Twyla Tharp ballet, it stands as exhibit three of Byrne’s 1980-81 hat trick of zeitgeist defining genius (something he still hasn’t topped). The first two were collaborations with Brian Eno (the Talking Heads album Remain In Light, and then My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts) but Catherine Wheel was Mr. Byrne going it alone in the production/writing department. Eggs In A Briar Patch (and really the whole sweep of Dinosaur, The Red House, Weezing, Eggs in a Briar Patch and Poison) gets the nod here because of how effectively the convoluted path between song and atmosphere gets traversed, and all the cool mysteries thus uncovered.

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601. losing faith in words

Peter Hammill  (aka the Jesus of Angst) is probably not a good choice for listening to while high on LSD. But we did it anyway any number of times. I remember Losing Faith in Words popping up once at exactly the right moment once, because words were indeed failing and I was trying to force the issue, which was only ever making things worse in the psychedelic realm, the reality barrier being revealed to be onion-like – peeling away in fractal layers. Stop it, counselled the song! You can’t win at this. And then some ambient Brian Eno got put on and I focused on my breathing.” (Philip Random)

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614. heaven

Fear of Music is the Talking Heads album that finally turned me from outside appreciator to full-on fan, because holy sh**! what a great album! every second of it. With Heaven speaking of a bar where nothing ever happens, and passionately so. Call it ironic, I guess, though I’d be lying if I said I’ve never known the special hell inherent in non-stop fun and games.” (Philip Random)

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699. listening wind

Remain In Light is one of those albums that changed me forever. Because here were the Talking Heads, a so-called New Wave band, embracing every sound (musical and otherwise) that the world had to offer and making it work, brilliantly, rearranging how my ears heard music. Listening Wind comes from toward the end of Side-B and speaks of wide open spaces, infinity even, all manner of mystery and imagination and reasons to live. I’ve watched a lot of suns set to this one, and even a few rise.” (Philip Random)

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705. mea culpa

“In which David Byrne and Brian Eno step outside of the Talking Heads for a bit and, to no surprise, end up changing music forever. No, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts didn’t invent sampling (Holger Czukay was already messing around with disembodied voices inside and out of Can), but it did rather open the gates, with Mea Culpa proving ideal for heroic doses of LSD, assuming you were up to it. I wasn’t always. I recall once hearing  it at a gloomy, January dusk, a riverbank, a cold wind blowing. We were in the flight path of the local airport. I became convinced an incoming plane was crashing. But it wasn’t the plane. It was me.” (Philip Random)

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747. the great pretender

“It says 1974 on the cover but Brian Eno‘s second solo album Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy) will always be pure 1981 for me. Weird and oft times jagged pop was pretty much perfectly in synch with the times and thus not at all afraid to just dissolve into abstraction if necessary. Which was fine by me given all the acid I was taking. I needed those dissolutions, like at the end of The Great Pretender when the crickets (or whatever they are) just take over, suck us into the insect realm, alien and strange.” (Philip Random)

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787. king’s lead hat

“Second of two in a row from Brian Eno’s Before And After Science, because the already post-punk frenzy of King’s Lead Hat has never really sounded right to me unless it’s fading up from the strange and sensual calm of Energy Fools the Magician (and vice versa). In fact, the whole first side of that album is an argument for the whole being more than the sum of its parts, even as the parts are, in turns, disorienting, magnificent, groovy, abstract, intense, everything. And Side Two – well, that’s a whole other kind of journey.” (Philip Random)

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