Monday, June 4, 2012

Song #210 of 9999 - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads

Song #210 of 9999 

Title: This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Artist: Talking Heads
Year: 1983 
Album: Speaking in Tongues

"This Must Be the Place" is a classic example of keeping things simple and in their right place. There is absolutely nothing complicated about this song—in fact, it's quite repetitive—but it is just one of the most satisfying pieces of music. According to the band, the "Naive Melody" refers to the accompaniment, especially the bass line and drums, which are essentially loops, offering no variation. But the sound bytes that dot the piece—listen for snippets of electric guitar, keyboard punctuation, percussion strikes, percolating synths, marimba trills—come together to form the audio equivalent of a Seurat masterpiece. Talking Heads have always been brainy, but this is one time we actually get to hear the synapses firing in the stereo field.
I have to think much of the musical accompaniment for this track was assembled or directed by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, who were, by this point, well-established as the dance club band Tom Tom Club. This track embodies much of the glee found on their 1981 debut. But the music really finds its footing when paired with David Byrne's imaginative lyric and (relatively) subdued vocal performance. Byrne aimed to write a love song that wasn't so obvious, using phrases that evoke feelings but never simply spelling it out for the listener. Ultimately, "home" is the metaphor Byrne exchanges for "love" and when he says "home is where I want to be," it's a universal statement everyone can understand.
(The official video has some additional noise that gets in the way of the song, but it's a charming little film. Click here for an unadulterated version of the song.)

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