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November 18, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-18

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, November 18, 1980-Page 7

Daily Photo by MAUREEN O'MALLEY,
G oodman Sell1s, o ut

There is a line. On the safe side stan-
ds the'rest of the world. On the other
side stand Talking Heads, beckoning.
They're pointing an accusing finger.
Remain In Light is a sink-or-swim
proposition that - propels the band into
uncharted waters without the benefit of
a paddle, and the result is an
enlightening and joyous exploration of
a whole new world.
THE MUSICAL and lyrical history of
Talking Heads has been a progressive
movement forward in defiance of
stagnation, of which they seem to be
both terrified and appalled. Their lyrics
are permeated with images of motion
and stagnation, of shapelessness and
lack of substance, of edifying light and
shadowy dark.
The "new" Heads we have all been
hearing about is the logical extension of
what apparently must be called the
"old" Heads. What they have been
doing since the beginning essentially
amounts to imploding rock and roll, an
inward and progressive pursuit of its
primordial plasma.
Logically enough, the sound has now
gotten very close to the earliest roots of
rhythm. The Heads' crowning brillian-
ce has been their exquisite experiments
with minimalist rhythm, structures
inextricably locked around each other
in a variety of extremely danceable
TALKING HEADS is now a funkier
and much more African-influenced
band than it has been to date. Remain
in Light is obsessed with primitive
passion, with natural progression, and
with emotional accountability and
awareness. The characters in the songs
act in accordance to things inexplicably
felt, move with "the wind in my heart"
like the guerrilla in "Listening Wind"
or ignore itand are wasted for having
lost their shape and become
stalemated, as in "Crosseyed and
The music and the lyrics are in-
separably bound in accordance with a
prevailing philosophy of the necessity
of movement. Even the vocals have
gotten caught up in this. David Byrne
still sings as if someone snuck up on
him from behind much of the time, but
the band has added the voices of Nona
Hendryx and Brian Eno on this album
and wastes no time incorporating them
into the whirlwind of rhythm at the core
of the Heads' music.
Voices accentuate the feeling of thin-
ness, the spacelessness Byrne encoun-
ters in "Born Under Punches," in
which he asserts "'All I want is to
breathe." Just to be consistent, the
arrangement is itself absolutely
spaceless, with new percussionist Jose
Rossy filling some of the holes with in-

reproduce the wind in "Listening
Wind." But their greatest contribution
is in the shaping of "The Great Curve."
This song is perhaps the most
masterful work the Heads have ever
produced. The congas are there, the
funk is there, the marvelously dan-
ceable melodies are there, and the
vocal arranger absolutely demands
awe. Adrian Belew, former David
Bowie sideman, produces an
ingeniously twisted guitar solo that

ending "The Overload," in whicn Byrne
carefully makes his conclusive point.
".The center is missing," Byrne
ironically warns to a somnolent, gutted
background, and the inevitable result is
"a gentle collapsing / The removal of
the insides," an overload.

blindness and disorientation.
"Remain in Light" has effectively
captured the emotional essence of rock
and roll in a way quite unparallelled in
contemporary music. And you can
dance to it.

Cenre!Student Judicisiy
All students are eligible, grad or undergrad, from
any school. The Central Student Judiciary is the
highest appellate court of the student judicial sys-
tem. Previous experience is not required.
DECEMBER 1, 1980, 5 p.m.

Heads: The beat deepens
sistent conga work and bassist Tina the shimmering, shushed percussion This entire album is an assault on
Weymouth filling the rest with thick, work of Chris Frantz in "Listening numbness, on emotional and physical
elongated bass notes. Wind," all seem to step right out of the stultification. It is unashamedly and .
THE VOCALS contribute a sense of subconscious to" take their rightful quite effectively moralistic, demanding
wistfulness and waste in "Once in a place in the mania. movement, preaching progression,
Lifetime" and seem almost to They are missing only on the album- denouncing darkness in the sense of

but who "s
"Bop and boogie woogie and they all
sound nice.. .
Nice? 'Nice' is a word my gran-
dmother uses to describe anything she
doesn't particularly understand. It is a
comment, but it doesn't say anything. It
fills a vacuum.
SO IT IS with Steve Goodman's most
recent effort, Hot Spot. Hot Spot, in
fact, inspired my companion as we
listened to the album for the first time,
to throw back his head and open his
mouth wide. You know, the dental chair
pose. In the immortal words of my
grandfather, who, unlike my gran-
dmother, always has a ready option to
offer, "phooey."
Save for one song, the last one on side
two, no less, Hot Spot is-well, not exac-
tly offensive, for it has too little charac-
ter for that-but uninteresting. The
only intellectual challenge the music
commands is the effort involved in
distinguishing one song from another 20
minutes after the turntable stops. Put
quite simply, the album is mellow-pop
bland. Sort of like eating Kraft
American cheese on Wonder Bread
(with Miracle Whip).
The last song, "sdrawkcab klat", is
an especially painful finale because it is
a final glimpse of the old, folksy Good-
man. Here the half-talking, half-singing
Goodman advises nonconformists that
talking backwards is the up and coming
trend, and we are reminded that he
,started out doing finger-snapping,
,whimsical folk music, and doing it in-
telligently, rather than the sort of stuff
that inspires infatuated eleven-year
olds to ggaze mistily off into
notAingness, as his last couple of
albums would have us believe.
Only one other song has so much as a
promising title. It too, ultimately
disappoints. "Hit and Run Lover"
initially gave me visions of Goodman
falling in love with the victim of an
Beware the
hipp ie p unks
It's hard to get used to the idea that
life isn't any fun and that we're all
going to die. This explains why groups
like Journey, Queen, Billy Joel, et al.
are so popular on college campuses
everywhere. That kind of music
provides no real challenge, or ef-
fort-it's background music while you
haze a freshman. Don't you worry,
'cause that wheel in the sky, it just, you
know, keeps on turning. Wow.
Thank God there's some new, in-
teresting, and enormously talented
music groups that don't make a career
of catering to mass public naivete. Like
the Psychedelic Furs, whose self-titled
debut album shows just how fun the
modern dance can be.
THEY COULD SAY what you want to
hear, maybe all you expect to hear
forever, but the P-Furs don't com-
promise by rephrasing stale maxims.
Most of these songs drip with inar-
ticulate venom and fragmented
imagery, pushed immaculately over
te edge by singer Richard Butler,
whose unique voice and range twist
lyrics into pure sound effects. '
And the band doesn't just sit in
chairs. A two guitar set-up allows an
aural haze to build and then be cut
apart like so many syringes into
mouseflesh. Duncan Kilburn 's
saxophone jumps off the turntable to
strangle your roommate and the
,.hvthw aant inn rnh1iterates anvthind

automobileaccident he causes, or some
other absurdity. But no, it is about the
all too conventional woes of a man who
realizes he has been taken in by the
-stars-to-me' routine of a woman on the
make. Similarly, the rest of the songs
on the album are about subjects which
have, to say the least, been treated
The song titles-"Sometimes Love
Forgets", "Part of Your Life", "Can't
Find My Heart", "Danger", to name a
few-are indicative of the conven-
tionality of the lyrics. The lyrics, in
turn, reflect the insipidity of the music.
It is -over-produced, studio-tight goop.
Because of that, Goodman's skill on the
acoustic guitar is undetectable. It is
almost open to speculation whether
Goodman really wrote the material on
the album, as it short-sells his two best
features-innovative and skillful
guitar, and manipulations of the kinds
of goofy folk songs you probably learned
at camp. But the album sleeve un-
mistakably beers credits to Goodman
on every song.
Goodman is at his best as his own
whimsical self. Disappointing it is,
then, to find that the album is little
more than a day's work for his
producer, who probably calls himself a
.sound packaging consultant, judging
from the sound of the album ("Good
job, Stevie, listen baby, gotta catch that
other line. Must run, love ya.").
Hot Spot was obviously designed to
sell albums. Goodman's producer's
thinking obviously fell short one step,
however. The kind of people who buy
the old folksy, "barefoot and overalls"
music probably aren't interested in the
disco beat. If I'd known, I would cer-
tainly have saved my money.

scrapes the very edge of the nervous
system and leads into a counterpoint of
four vocal harmonies masterfully blen-
ded into an ecstacy of praise. This song
is a enraptured tribal dance to a
feminine deity who "defines the
possibilities," who "is only partly
human being."
The musicianship itself inspires a
shadowy, mysterious passion in the
album's more urgent cuts. Weymouth's
punching bass notes, the flickering,
jagged eyboard work in Byrne's fire
baptism "Born Under Punches," and-
a film and lecture
travel series
The Kingdom of
the Netherlands
Friday, Nov. 21
8:00 p.m.
Aud. 3, Modern Languages Bldg.,
U-M Central Campus
TICKETS: $3.50 general admission,
$2.50 students & senior citizens,
$1 .50 children, under 12.
AVAILABLE AT: U-M International
Center, Michigan Theater, Complete
Cuisine, Hudson's and UAC Ticket
Office (Michigan Union)
A presentation of The University of
Michigan International Center, in
cooperation with the University Ex-
tension Service.


of a Nightingale
;. OPSITY 4 MHIGAN yS"(.! M -XX , xAK-)N'
800PM NOVEMBER 19-22
Theatre Program
Ticket Office &
Michigan League
M-F, 10-1 and 2-5
Phone: 764-0450
I P1~-~

Filet ofi
Fish Dinn1er


The League is the place where they meet,
Our most esoteric elite,
The super-sedate
Discuss and debate:
The rest of us go there to eat.
Next to Hill Auditorium Y

3354 East
Washtenaw Ave.
(Across from Arborland
Shopping Center)
On West
Stadium Blvd.
(Just North of Intersection
of Stadium and Liberty)

Lunch 11:30 to 1:15
Dinner 5:00 to 7:15
Send your League Limerick to:
Manager, Michigan League
227 South Ingalls
rou will receive 2 free dinner
tickets if your limerick is used in
one of our ads.

Cannot be used in combination
with other discounts. Applicable
taxes not included. At Partici-
pating Steakhouses.
C1980 Poncterosa Systemr inc
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