Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cover of the Week – Arcade Fire "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)"

You can thank your lucky stars that I never was that big a fan of "Burning Down The House."

Because then you would be listening to Tom Jones combining with The Cardigans on their truly awful cover of the Talking Heads hit. I mean c'mon Tom – we thought "Kiss" was cute. But did that justify an entire album, Unloaded (2000), made up of 80s covers? I think not.

I'll admit I whooped it up to "Burning Down the House" at plenty of beer bashes during my college days. But my favorite song on Speaking in Tongues (1983) was always "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)," one of those rare moments when David Byrne quieted all of his anxieties in order to get melodic and sweet.

Byrne has admitted that he wrote it as a love song – another rarity in the oeuvre of a band that fretted over society being "same as it ever was." And by the way, that's not your imagination. Tina Weymouth's bass and Byrne's guitar are repeating the same riffs over and over again in the song.

Still …

I've grown rather fond of the Montreal band Arcade Fire, despite their overwhelmingly pessimistic world view. Which made it all the more fascinating to me that they chose this live version (with AF fan Byrne on the backing vocal) of the cheeriest Talking Heads tune ever as the flip side to their "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" single in 2005.

If anything, the addition of steel drums makes the song sound even happier.

Hmmmm. Rock stars. I'll never figure them out.

Play "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" by Arcade Fire

Here's a good-quality live video (without Byrne) of the cover.

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