My Top 1000 Songs #208: Memories Can't Wait

When I first starting getting into Talking Heads early in high school (or maybe at the tail end of junior high), I checked out their '79 album Fear of Music from the public library. Frankly, I didn't care for it--a little too jarring and strange. (I've since come around, of course). I loved the newer one, Remain In Light, which sounded warmer to my ears and made for a terrific headphone-abetted experience, and the quirky debut; but something about the aptly-titled Fear kept me at arms' length. Even the single, "Life During Wartime," kinda put me off as just a little too abrasive for my tastes. 

But there were exceptions. "Heaven" was awfully pretty; and "Mind" was a fantastic psychedelic trip that sounded great on headphones, like the follow-up record. And I really loved "Memories Can't Wait," which retained the jagged art-punk of the rest of the album but with some of the trippier touches from "Mind." Those echoing vocal tracks, speeded up and slowed down, totally freaked me out. Indeed, the whole song was just scary as hell, from those creepy manipulated vocals to the vaguely threatening, rumbling bass, to the brittle slashes of guitar and menacing beat. And then, about two and a half minutes into the song, some of that big creeping evil cuts out, and you get a momentary glimpse of peace--"Everything is very quiet, everyone has gone to sleep." The feeling of release is palpable. But the reprieve is a brief one, the nightmarish aesthetic of the song lingering.

David Byrne playing it live:
Of course, you can't talk about the song without acknowledging Living Colour's absolute barn-burner of a cover: