The 30 Greatest Talking Heads Songs Ranked

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The 30 Greatest Talking Heads Songs Ranked

In 1975 in New York City, David Byrne, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz struck up a band together and called themselves the Talking Heads. They joined an East Coast punk scene populated by Blondie, Television, the Modern Lovers and the New York Dolls, ushering in their unique, idiosyncratic fusion of art-rock and new wave—which would later turn into an obsession with country music and Afrobeat, with elements of jazz and rap added in for good measure. Cut to 1977 and the Heads added gutarist and keyboardist Jerry Harrison into the fold, solidifying their core lineup that would last until their break-up in 1991. Between 1977 and 1988, the Talking Heads would release eight studio albums (four of them being the greatest collections of music anyone has ever heard) and a handful of live LPs, including the grandiose, unparalleled concert film Stop Making Sense—which debuted at the San Francisco International Film Festival 40 years ago this month.

To celebrate the anniversary of Stop Making Sense and the band’s untouchable legacy in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, we’ve decided to rank the highlights of their catalog. It was no easy feat, as even their worst album (here’s looking at you, True Stories) has some hits that pack a wallop. Though the band reunited last year to promote Stop Making Sense’s return to theaters, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see them take the stage together again and play the songs that made them immortal. So, if all we’ll have is the music they’ve left us with, we might as well rank it! Without further ado, here are the 30 greatest Talking Heads songs of all time.

30. “Houses in Motion” (Remain in Light, 1980)

Released as the second single from Remain in Light, “Houses in Motion” is one of the more underrated parts of the Talking Heads’ most beloved album. Byrne’s vocals take a sonorous, deepend stance that quakes through a towering wall of choral singing from Harrison, Weymouth, Frantz, Brian Eno and Nona Hendryx, and it’s what makes the track so multi-dimensional. Add in a bevy of synthesizers and some truly massive guitar work, and “Houses in Motion” becomes a tone-setting, shapeshifting arc of worldbeat and afrofunk—a giant accomplishment, given that it follows the perennial all-timer “Once in a Lifetime” on a stone-cold tracklist brimming with the best, most indescribable music you’ve ever encountered.

29. “Don’t Worry About the Government” (Talking Heads: 77, 1977)

“Don’t Worry About the Government” will always be my “Talking Heads do Sparks” song, as Byrne channels his inner-Russell Mael here (the intro has the sort of dainty, high-pitched prettiness that “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” does, in my opinion). The least-punk song on 77, “Don’t Worry About the Government” is art-rock to the bone—and it’s Byrne at his quirkiest. “Some civil servants are just like my loved ones, they work hard and they try to be strong,” he sings. “I’m a lucky guy to live in my building, they own the buildings to help them along.” It’s a song that’s non-sensical and infectiously goofy.

28. “Electricity (Drugs)” (The Name of This Band is Talking Heads, 1982)

Sure, there is probably a little bit of bias here from me—given that this version of “Electricity (Drugs)” was recorded at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland in 1978—but it is a serious jam that really is all-encompassing of what exactly the Talking Heads were about pre-Remain in Light. A tune about the untamable energy between genders, “Electricity (Drugs)” finds the Heads arguing that that kind of kinetic chemistry is intoxicating to a drugged-out degree. “The boys are making a big mess, this makes the girls all start to laugh,” Byrne sings. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. The boys are worried, the girls are shocked. They pick the sound and let it drop, nobody knows what they’re talking about.” All of that lyrical confusion swells into a blistering guitar breakdown and Byrne’s incomprehensible intoning. It’s moments like this where you can’t help but believe that the Talking Heads were one of the greatest live bands of their generation—if not of all time.

27. “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” (Remain in Light, 1980)

If you’re going to be the opening track on one of the, as many would agree, greatest albums in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, you better be transcendent—and “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” certainly checks that box. It’s not the Talking Heads’ greatest album opener, but it’s still singular. It’s the first chapter in the band’s best era, as the Brian Eno-produced masterpiece nurtures you into newness through slap-bass and digitized, otherworldly set-dressings. That breakdown that hits around the 2:50 mark endures as one of the most explosive moments in the band’s history, and it’s wild, kooky and, well, perfect.

26. “City of Dreams” (True Stories, 1986)

While True Stories was, for the most part, a flop, closing track “City of Dreams” is one of its bright spots—with Byrne reckoning with centuries of violence and lineage, as he sings of Native Americans, Spaniards, war and an optimism still alive beneath concrete. It features some of his sweetest lines ever, including “We live in the city of dreams, we drive on this highway of fire / Should we awake and find it gone, remember this—our favorite town,” which remains one of my favorite moments in the entire Talking Heads timeline. The track is a huge ballad Byrne wrote in-service to the influences cast upon him by Neil Young, and Tommy Morrell’s steel guitar elevates it to an beautiful, mature place that soars far beyond Byrne’s already-mystifying lyrics. “City of Dreams” lives up to its name, existing as one of the Heads’ dreamiest assemblies ever.

25. “Warning Sign” (More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1978)

Co-written by Byrne and Frantz, “Warning Sign” is an underloved and overlooked standout from the Heads’ sophomore album that I very deeply love returning to. Featuring some of Byrne’s signature sequiturs, there are consumerist undertones on “Warning Sign” that feed directly into the album’s thematic overtones—as he bemoans hairstyles and a voice “saying something.” “It’s a natural thing and you have to relax, I’ve got money now, I’ve got money now,” Byrne sings. “C’mon baby, c’mon baby, warning sign of things to come.” It’s a fun track with some brilliant and bright guitar work from Harrison, especially. And the way Byrne’s vocals coil upwards into a quasi-falsetto when he sings “when I remember” is one of the silkiest moments in the Talking Heads’ discography.

24. “Take Me to the River” (More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1978)

Al Green’s original version of “Take Me to the River” is great—as most Al Green songs are—but the Talking Heads completely changed the song’s destiny when they re-invented it on More Songs About Buildings and Food. Who knew the track was malleable enough to become a new wave masterpiece? David Byrne certainly did. When you take into consideration the unbelievable rendition the quartet did during their Stop Making Sense concert film, nothing can stand in the way of “Take Me to the River” and its eternal urgency. Folks were so into the Talking Heads’ cover that it hit #26 on the Hot 100—and that would remain the band’s highest-charting single until 1983. The best cover songs, in my opinion, are the ones that shine across multiple genres. “Take Me to the River” has that versatility in spades.

23. “The Book I Read” (Talking Heads: 77, 1977)

An underrated gem in the Heads’ catalog, “The Book I Read” is one of my favorite vocal performances from Byrne across the board. There’s a sense of innocence in his higher-pitched refrains, which converge lovingly with his grittier, idiosyncratic deliveries we associate his voice with on tracks like “Girlfriend is Better” and “Life During Wartime.” It’s cool to look back at the band’s debut and hear, in real time, a genius shaping his shtick in real time. The staccato guitars on “The Book I Read” are the perfect pillows for Byrne’s “na-na-na” refrains, and Frantz’s snare/hi-hat combo arrives particularly rapturous on this cut.

22. “Road to Nowhere” (Little Creatures, 1985)

Every time I revisit Little Creatures, it’s much better than I remember it being. It’s hard for any band to sustain any run of masterpieces, let alone putting out—arguably—four of them in a row (and a few perfect live records, too). But Little Creatures is a great record full of charming vignettes, and “Road to Nowhere” is one of its boldest. With a marching rhythm and Byrne’s singing going extra melodic (with the help of background vocalists Erin Dickens, Diva Gray, Gordon Grody and Lani Groves), the track finds the Heads playing around with instruments not usually in their toolbox—like Andrew Cader’s washboard or Jimmy Macdonell’s accordion. It’s a unique, eclectic entry into a catalog that was founded on those two adjectives in the first place—as the band closes their last good project with one of their most ambitious offerings ever. It was a fitting conclusion for the Talking Heads we know and adore, even if they still had six years and two albums left to come.

21. “Psycho Killer” (Talking Heads: 77, 1977)

The Talking Heads’ third-ever single and their first whip-smart success, “Psycho Killer” hit #92 on the Hot 100 and was a certified slam-dunk of art-rock grandiosity—pairing macabre new wave with slick funk, all sung through Byrne’s nervous lilt. “You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it,” he lets out. “You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.” It’s a tune that most listeners have considered to be a rumination on the inner-workings of a serial killer’s mind, and the “run, run, run, run, run, run, run away” refrain certainly helps make a good case for it. Byrne originally wrote “Psycho Killer” while imagining Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman song, and it’s the one track that feels quintessentially Talking Heads. What makes it so quintessential, though? Of course, it’s Weymouth’s electric current of bass that propels “Psycho Killer” into one of the most recognizable songs of the CBGB era altogether.

20. “I Zimbra” (Fear of Music, 1979)

I will long contend that Fear of Music is the best Talking Heads album, and it all kicks off with “I Zimbra”—which was co-written by Byrne, Brian Eno and Hugo Ball. It was the band’s second single from their third album, and it immediately showcases Byrne’s newfound interest in African popular music. Behind him, Harrison, Weymouth and Frantz was a backing crew of Robert Fripp, Gene Wilder, Ari, Hassam Ramzy, Abdou M’Boup, Assane Thiam and Julie Last, and it’s one of the most striking, vibrant album openers of all time—brightened by the percussion of Wilder and Ari’s congas, Ramzy’s surdo and M’Boup’s djembe. “I Zimbra” did its job by effectively ushering in a new era for the Talking Heads, packed with Byrne’s adaptation of Ball’s poem “Gadji beri bimba” for the lyrics. It’s Harrison’s favorite Heads song, and you can clearly see just how “I Zimbra” would play a crucial role in the formation of Remain in Light just a year later.

19. “Found a Job” (More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1978)

The Talking Heads’ holy grail of bizarro rock ‘n’ roll is “Found a Job” with a bullet, as Byrne’s fantasticals about a couple creating their own television show in order to keep their love burning are ripe with dreamy passion. “Judy’s in the bedroom, inventing situations. Bob is on the street today, scouting up locations,” he sings. “They’re enlisted all their family, they’ve enlisted all their friends. It helped save their relationship, and made it work again.” There’s some serious riffage here that glitter, and “Found a Job” holds one of the Talking Heads’ best choruses. It’s a real show-stopper on, arguably, the band’s most-complete record.

18. “The Big Country” (More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1978)

Some might call this the best track on More Songs About Buildings and Food, and I’d wager that they are, in fact, correct about that. “The Big Country” is Byrne doing what Byrne does best: singing about things he’s looking at. In this case, it’s a shoreline, a baseball field, restaurants and factories—all seen from inside a plane flying above. “Then we come to the farmlands and the undeveloped areas, and I have learned how these things work together,” he sings out. Backed by the best instance of country converging with new wave, “The Big Country” finds the Heads going from scene-setting optimism to a slash of unavoidable cynicism. “I’m tired of traveling, I want to be somewhere,” Byrne concludes. “It’s not even worth talking about those people down there.”

17. “No Compassion” (Talking Heads: 77, 1977)

Thanks to Byrne and Harrison’s guitar-playing, “No Compassion” is a certifiable ripper. A lesson in empathy, the track is easily the standout on 77—grandiose in measure thanks to a brightened set of arpeggios and a sublime rhythm section from Frantz and Weymouth in-tandem. “Other people’s problems, they overwhelm my mind,” Byrne sings. “They say compassion is a virtue, but I don’t have the time.” There’s a moment on this track that is, for me, the epitome of the Talking Heads—when, near the conclusion, the very of-the-era New York guitar lines quickly swell into an uptick in tempo that the band would deliciously master on Fear of Music two years later. What makes “No Compassion” so slick is how terminally modern Byrne’s depictions of disaffected adulthood still feel.

16. “Love → Building on Fire” (1977)

It always dumbfounds me why the Talking Heads did not include one of their best-ever tracks on their debut album, given that it would have easily been the best cut from 77 had it been featured. Instead, “Love → Building on Fire” was the band’s debut single in February 1977 and failed to chart, only appearing on later compilations and box sets (and on the live album, The Name of This and is Talking Heads, of course). It came packaged with the B-side “New Feeling,” which did make it onto 77. What sets “Love → Building on Fire” apart from tracks like “Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town” and “Psycho Killer” is Brad Baker and Lance Quinn’s horn arrangement—which pairs beautifully with Frantz’s steel pan-drumming and a beautiful guitar interplay from Byrne (as Harrison was not yet a member of the band) that, as the Harrison would later say, sounded “a bit like early Television.” I think Jerry was right on the money.

15. “Burning Down the House” (Speaking in Tongues, 1983)

The successes of Speaking in Tongues can be attributed, for the most part, to that of lead single “Burning Down the House”—which became the band’s highest-charting single ever, peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 in 1983. It’s the first Heads song I can ever remember hearing, as it would often grace the rotations of whatever pop station my mom would turn on in her car. While I’m not usually one to award high placements to bands’ most successful songs—as they are usually not their best—it’s hard to speak of the Talking Heads’ legacy without giving flowers to “Burning Down the House,” which helped get the band’s music in front of audiences not so closely linked to the New York post-punk scene that shaped them nearly 10 years prior. What cannot be overlooked, however, is the synthesizers implemented here by Harrison and Wally Badarou—just pure magic.

14. “And She Was” (Little Creatures, 1985)

While not the Talking Heads’ greatest song by any measure, “And She Was” very well might be one of their very best pop songs. Few songs can make verses sound like choruses in the way that this tune can—which says a lot, given that its actual chorus is timeless and perfect. “The world was moving and she was right there with it, and she was,” Byrne sings. “The world was moving, she was floating above it and she was.” It peaked at #54 on the Hot 100 but found success on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and helped solidify Little Creatures as a misunderstood-but-charming late-career entry for the Heads. If anything, “And She Was” is a proper example of just how masterful of a songwriter Byrne is, even if the record all but kickstarted the band’s slow descent towards their eventual breakup in 1991.

13. “(Nothing But) Flowers” (Naked, 1988)

I think we can all come together and agree that Naked is an underrated Talking Heads’ album (still not great, but at least it isn’t True Stories, yeah?). Okay, now that we’ve pushed that out of the way, it’s crucial that I highlight “(Nothing But) Flowers,” the project’s bulletproof focal point that returns to the groove of Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Heads. Byrne does his best to reckon with environmental changes, both in climate and in production, through wry humor—as he sings “There was a factory, now there are mountains and rivers” over an Afrobeat-inspired dance arrangement. “Flowers” solidifies why Byrne is so good at his craft, because lines like “Years ago, I was an angry man and I’d pretend that I was a billboard” and “This was a Pizza Hut, now it’s all covered with daisies” and “Don’t leave me stranded here, I can’t get used to this lifestyle” are all just home-runs on the band’s last great song performed together on-record. Byrne was batting 1.000 on “Flowers”; talk about going out with a bang.

12. “A Clean Break (Let’s Work)” (The Name of This Band is Talking Heads, 1982)

Recorded in Maynard, Massachusetts in 1977, “A Clean Break (Let’s Work)” is another non-album track the Talking Heads absolutely crushed live in their heyday. A version of this track recorded at CBGBs exists on the Bonus Rarities & Outtakes collection that was released in 2006, but it sounds just plain abysmal in comparison to the OG cut from the band’s first live album over 40 years ago. Spiritually, “A Clean Break (Let’s Work)” likely would have fallen beautifully on More Songs About Buildings and Food, but luckily the TNOTBITH version sounds irreplicably singular and perfect. It’s compelling, to an extent, that Byrne and the band never got around to finishing a studio cut of this one—as it easily could have elevated any project it landed on. Well, we’ll always have Maynard, Massachusetts and Byrne’s out-of-body, prismatic yelps.

11. “Air” (Fear of Music, 1979)

A symphony within a pop song, “Air” is so beautifully dynamic that any list would be remiss to not have it in the top-15. It being, by my calculations, the fourth best song on Fear of Music is just an example of how perfect that record is—because “Air” is, let’s face it, a masterpiece packed into three-and-a-half minutes. “Some people say not to worry about the air, some people never had experience with air” is one of my favorite deliveries from Byrne, and it arrives after he reckons with some great airborne fallout that leaves him questioning the metamorphosis of his own skin. The Sweetbreathes (Weymouth and her two sisters, Lani and Laura) provide backing vocals here that make Byrne’s melodic construction all the more tender—that is, until Harrison’s keyboards and Byrne’s guitar cut through the harmonies with a stunning mirage of vibrancy.

10. “Once in a Lifetime” (Remain in Light, 1980)

If “Psycho Killer” was the track that made the rock ‘n’ roll world pay attention to the Talking Heads, then “Once in a Lifetime” was the track that demanded those gazes never wane. The lead single and focal point of Remain in Light, the band and Eno wrote “Once in a Lifetime” with Afrobeat and rap in mind and constructed the track through various jam sessions between July and August 1980 and isolating the best parts. With an artist like Fela Kuti in mind, whom Byrne has considered to be a “human sampler,” Eno’s production style was an era-specific precursor to the mirage of sampling that would endure in the following decades. As it were, “Once in a Lifetime” sounds the way it does because the Talking Heads couldn’t figure out how to play funk music—and we can all be thankful for that failure, as it gave us the greatest bridge of all time: “Same as it ever was.”

9. “Cities” (Fear of Music, 1979)

Obviously, most of the songs performed for Stop Making Sense are superior or on-par with their studio companions—but the SMS rendition of “Cities” is most certainly the one. Nonetheless, its original form on Fear of Music is an incredible centerpiece for a terrific album, with Byrne going absolutely feral on the mic (I believe he even… growls at one point?). “Find a city, find myself a city to live in” is one of my favorite Talking Heads choruses ever, and it speaks greatly to just how damn good at making melodies the band was. The “it’s only the river” ending, too, is an agent of musical chaos all on its own, a measure of continuity in the band’s catalog that ruptures an already-multi-dimensional album into an avalanche of perfection.

8. “Moon Rocks” (Speaking in Tongues, 1983)

I mean, what a tune. I wish more people talked about “Moon Rocks,” a masterclass unfortunately relegated to deep cut-status in the Talking Heads’ widened lore. Put on the less-acclaimed but perfect side two of Speaking in Tongues, “Moon Rocks” flirts with some reggae influence and features one of the coolest singing performances from Byrne. “Protons, neutrons, I ate a rock from the moon,” he sings. “Got shocked once; shocked twice. Let’s see what it can do! Man in the moon, moon in the man. I got a rock in my throat—upside, up side down. My tummy starts to talk…” It’s a tremendously nonsensical verse in a tremendously nonsensical song, one that finds Byrne sending his voice through a few octaves and reveling in his own outlandish abstractions. When he sings “I got wild imagination, talkin’ transubstantiation,” you believe him.

7. “Crosseyed and Painless” (Remain in Light, 1980)

“Crosseyed and Painless” is one of those songs that, even 44 years later, you struggle to even fathom how it came to exist in the first place. The melody is so frantic and jittery that it sounds like it’s powered by something stronger than cocaine or caffeine. Though it didn’t crack the Hot 100, “Crosseyed and Painless” did hit the US Dance chart. It’s the kind of bombastic, larger-than-lfie song that flourishes in small details. Cowbells, congas, staccato rhythm guitar, glitchy electronica—it feels like African music colliding at full-speed with a sonic language not yet invented. Byrne’s “facts are simple and facts are straight; facts are lazy and facts are late” was inspired by Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks,” adding another dimension to an already dense, erratic and hued song—and the rant fries the track’s already obvious and puncturing themes of paranoia and alienation into another stratosphere completely.

6. “Girlfriend is Better” (Speaking in Tongues, 1983)

For all of the ways that the Talking Heads failed to make funk music on Remain in Light and came out with something unequivocally their own, “Girlfriend is Better” marks a moment where the band tried to make something that sounded like themselves but ended up with a funk song. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the Stop Making Sense version of the song is lifetimes better (I mean, they named the film after the damn thing!), but Byrne’s vocals exist here on a tapestry of ambition, paranoia and braggadocious attitude. “Down in the basement, we hear the sound of machines,” he sings. “Ha-ha-ha-ha, ha! Driving in circles, come to my senses sometimes.” The song is animated through Bernie Worrell’s smoking-gun synthesizer—one of the greatest elements in a Talking Heads song not performed by the core-four ever.

5. “Wild Wild Life” (True Stories, 1986)

Save all of your belly-aching for someone who wants to hear it—“Wild Wild Life” is one of the single greatest pop songs ever written, and I will defend it until the end of time. Let the soft animal of your body love Byrne’s most infectious songwriting deeply and adoringly. One of only a few songs on True Stories that I can stomach, “Wild Wild Life” is so vibrant when Byrne, Harrison and Weymouth harmonize together—and Weymouth’s singing is particularly harmonious here. Never have the Heads been so danceable, and I’m beyond floored every time this track starts playing and Byrne starts singing about wearing fur pajamas and riding a hot potato. “Piece of mind, it’s a piece of Cake,” he grooves. “Thought control, you get on board any time you like!” I don’t care if Byrne regrets True Stories; it has “Wild Wild Life” on it—and that’s a success in my book, as I’ve never wanted to sleep on an interstate as badly as I do right now. In the greatest decade for pop music ever, thank goodness the Talking Heads couldn’t exit it without first delivering their own sticky-sweet and infectious earworm that could shift tectonic plates if played loud enough.

4. “Life During Wartime” (Fear of Music, 1979)

While “Burning Down the House” was the first Talking Heads song I ever heard, “Life During Wartime” was the first Talking Heads song I sought out. It’s the roaring, moody, definitive cut from Fear of Music, one that harbors Bryne’s most bombastic vocal performance ever (and sounds phenomenal live). Sung from the perspective of a terrorist, Byrne waves goodbye to CBGBs and Mudd Club and celebrates his handsome arrangement of visas and passports, lamenting that he “might not ever get home” because he sleeps during the day and works at night. “Why stay in college? Why go to night school?” he questions. “Gonna be different this time!” It’s odd, out-there and terminally funkified. The eccentricities of the Talking Heads’ legacy all meet here, as Byrne and his crew make paranoia sound like a hoot—but this ain’t no disco.

3. “The Great Curve” (Remain in Light, 1980)

Released originally as a B-side to “Crosseyed and Painless,” “The Great Curve” is the best track from Remain in Light and an exotic mark in the Talking Heads’ career—as it is, quite plainly, their sexiest song ever. I mean, “the world moves a woman’s hips” is one hell of a thesis statement and Byrne’s commitment to the idea is sold through his own paranoid glint of reckoning and desire to escape. “The world has a way of looking at people, sometimes we feel that the world is wrong,” he sings. “She loves the world, and all the people in it. She shakes ‘em up when she starts to walk.” Eno and Nona Hendryx’s backing vocals are particularly engaging here, too—making it sound like the band nailing this arrangement (christened into immortality by Jon Hassell’s missile trumpet) was a one-in-a-million capture. “World of light, she’s gonna open our eyes up,” indeed.

2. “Heaven” (Fear of Music, 1979)

I wrestled between this and “This Must Be the Place” for a while, because both are, arguably, two of the greatest songs ever written period. But when I revisited “Heaven” for this list, I couldn’t ignore just how beautifully mundane the whole ordeal is. Byrne sings of the afterlife as being ordinary, and it is here that he sings the best verses of the band’s entire career: “There is a party, everyone is there. Everyone will leave at exactly the same time. When this party’s over, it will start again; will not be any different, will be exactly the same.” Byrne and Harrison co-wrote the track together, and the melody wraps itself around Harrison’s piano-playing and Byrne’s very sincere, country-inspired strumming and angelic, echo-chamber singing. If eternal life mirrors nothing but Byrne’s fantasy of a boring, monotonous bar, then we should all consider ourselves lucky.

1. “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” (Speaking in Tongues, 1983)

What makes Speaking in Tongues such an important and enigmatic rock ‘n’ roll record is “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” which is the greatest love song ever written. While I firmly believe the Stop Making Sense version is the greatest live performance of any piece of music in the lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll up until this point, “This Must Be the Place” has the unique privilege of being the best song in recorded human history—as its lyrics so beautifully transcribe the truly marvelous and transcendent and ordinary wonders of affection. “Hi-yo, I got plenty of time,” Byrne sings. “Hi-yo, you got light in your eyes, and you’re standing here beside me. I love the passing of time.” To me, “This Must Be the Place” is the musical personification of a smile emoticon and “I come home, she lifted up her wings” is the single sweetest and handsomest depiction of angelic admiration I’ve ever heard. “If someone asks, this is where I’ll be,” Byrne croons, tenderly, as the band’s new wave inclinations hush into the whisper of a breathless rapture of disco ostinato. Few bands put out their swan song three albums before they actually break up, but “This Must Be the Place” is where the Talking Heads ended and the David Byrne show began. And yet, his vocalizations on the “ah-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ohh” transition in the final chorus still leave me speechless.

Listen to a playlist of these songs below.

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