Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Talking Heads: Remain in Light [Sire, 1980]
In which David Byrne conquers his fear of music in a visionary Afrofunk synthesis--clear-eyed, detached, almost mystically optimistic. First side's a long dance-groove more sinuous than any known DOR that climaxes in the middle with the uncontorted "Crosseyed and Painless" but begins at the beginning: when Byrne shouts out that "the world moves on a woman's hips"--not exactly a new idea in rock and roll--it sounds as if he's just discovered the secret of life for himself, which he probably has. Second side celebrates a young terrorist and recalls John Cale in his spookiest pregeopolitical mode but also begins at the beginning: with "Once in a Lifetime," the greatest song Byrne will ever write. It's about the secret of life, which even a woman's hips can't encompass. A