Song of the Day #4,934: ‘Life During Wartime (Live)’ – Talking Heads

Continuing my look at 1984, first by counting down my own top five albums of that year.

#2. Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads

The greatest live album ever recorded, and the greatest concert film, Stop Making Sense finds Talking Heads in peak form. Touring in support of 1983’s Speaking in Tongues, my favorite of their albums, the band tears through songs from that record and its predecessors, bringing new energy and warmth to already exhilarating material.

The official release of this album features only nine tracks, and it’s great, but I’m including the special edition, which runs 16 songs long and includes every track performed in the filmed concert.

The extended version features brilliant renditions of ‘Heaven,’ ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’ and ‘Crosseyed and Painless,’ among others. It gives every band member a chance to shine and really captures the epic quality of this performance.

You don’t need to see the video to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that went into every note.

[Verse 1]
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
Packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
A place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I’m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in the ghetto
I’ve lived all over this town

[Chorus 1]
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey-dovey
I ain’t got time for that now

[Verse 2]
Transmit the message, to the receiver
Hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas
You don’t even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading
Everything’s ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime
I might not ever get home

[Chorus 2]
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C.B.G.B
I ain’t got time for that now

[Verse 3]
Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody’ll see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones
Ain’t got no records to play

[Bridge]
Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send no postcard
I ain’t got time for that now

[Outro]
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
We blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we’re tapping phone lines
I know that that ain’t allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
Or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
I don’t know what I look like
You make me shiver, I feel so tender
We make a pretty good team
Don’t get exhausted, I’ll do some driving
You ought to get you some sleep
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won’t help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
The burning keeps me alive
Get your instructions
Follow directions–

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,934: ‘Life During Wartime (Live)’ – Talking Heads

  1. Reb says:

    Pure gold. I didn’t see this tour, but was fortunate enough to see Talking Heads on our around 1979 in the D.C. area.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    I love this album though I have never heard the extended version nor am I even sure that I watched the entire movie – two things I need to remedy!

    Much like Billy Joel’s Songs in the Attic featured better live versions of songs from earlier records, I find the live versions of older material on Stop Making Sense to be much better than the studio recordings.

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