Bonus Video! I moved Mlady’s new bed nearer to me when I’m at the computer. I noticed she was lost in dreamland and took a video:
Today’s song is another cut from Talking Heads’, Stop Making Sense. I wrote about it here.
“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is a song by new wave band Talking Heads, released in November 1983 as the second single from their fifth album Speaking in Tongues. The lyrics were written by David Byrne, and the music was written by Byrne and the other members of the band, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.
In the “Self Interview” on the DVD of the concert film Stop Making Sense, Byrne states that it is a love song, a topic he tends to avoid because it is “kinda big.” He also said of the song:
That’s a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don’t have any narrative qualities. It’s a real honest kind of love song. I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.
According to the Stop Making Sense commentary track, the title “Naive Melody” refers to the music. On the recording, the guitar and bass each repeat an ostinato for the entire song. According to David Byrne, many professional musicians would not play a song written in that fashion, and that is what makes the melody naive. Byrne played the lead keyboard solo.
Bassist Tina Weymouth stated in the liner notes of Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads that the song was created through “truly naive” experimentation with different instruments and jamming. Weymouth played guitar, guitarist Jerry Harrison played a Prophet synthesiser (including the bassline) Wally Badarou used the same synthesizer to add the stabs, and Byrne switched between guitar and another Prophet synthesizer, the latter of which he played using the pitch modulation wheel and “campy” piano glissandos.
Pitchfork later described the song as “an aberration for the Talking Heads. It was more of an exercise in understated musical hypnosis than polyrhythmic, Kuti-quoting funk, well-compressed instead of bursting at the seams, and (in its abashed way) it was a full-blown love song. … With “This Must Be the Place”, the band simplified their sound dramatically, condensing their sonic palette to the level of small EKG blips (having switched instruments for a lark, this was nearly all they were able to reliably deliver chops-wise) and wringing out only a few chords.”
In 2014, Pitchfork ranked the song at number 22 in their list of “The 200 Best Songs of the 1980s,” with Winston Cook-Wilson of the website saying: “In the process of stripping down, Talking Heads showcased something at the root of their art: David Byrne’s inimitable gift for melody, and his unique ability to make every musical figure seem both familiar and tied directly to the lyrical thought (see ‘I feel numb…born with a weak heart/ I guess I must be having fun’). Is there a better moment of catharsis in a pop then the song’s final eureka realization, after Byrne gets whacked with the monolithic spiritual hammer and awakes from a life-encompassing daze into unexpected stability? There’s nothing to narrow his eyes at anymore: ‘Cover up the blank spots, hit me on the head/ Aaoooh, aaooh, aaooh, aaoooh.’ For a band rarely given to addressing issues of the heart head-on, ‘Naive Melody’ remains an unexpected and peerless achievement.“
Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong, nothing
Oh! I got plenty of time
Oh! You got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money, always for love
Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight
Home, is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home, she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place
I can’t tell one from the other
I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be, where I’ll be oh!
We drift in and out
Oh! Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home and
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead
Eyes that light up
Eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head I got ooh!
Chris Frantz / Christopher Frantz /
David Byrne /
Jerry Harrison /