Thursday, November 20, 2003

Review - Once in a Lifetime

Artist: Talking Heads

Posted on Thu, Nov 20, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Among all the horribly self-important "essays" -- by band members, fans and, apparently, anyone the compilers thought to contact -- that make up the liner notes to this box set, it's none too surprising that the recollections that come from David Byrne are perhaps the most illustrative of why Talking Heads were such a great band. In one piece, Byrne acknowledges the sanctimonious disregard he's evinced for the enormous impact the Heads' music had Ã? and then he turns around and begrudgingly admits that this stuff was pretty good. Except, of course, he does it in a sanctimonious fashion. In another essay, he describes the combined record collection shared by himself, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in their perfectly run-down Manhattan apartment. "Equal parts avant arty rock and disco and R&B," he says. "There were probably some odd international and new music recordings as well -- some Balinese recordings and Ã? John Cage or Xenakis. One could pretty easily see where we were heading." Like it's no big deal. Sorry, Dave, but that ought-three kid with Stockhausen and Jay-Z and Matching Mole in his New York flat probably ain't gonna be making music that's as special as what you and your simultaneously self-aggrandizing and self-effacing bandmates did. Evenly acknowledging all phases of the band's career, "Once in a Lifetime" expands the double-disc "best of" that was "Sand in the Vaseline," adds five unreleased tracks and tacks on an expanded DVD version of the video compilation "Storytelling Giant." That's really all you need to know since, unlike David Byrne, everyone else already knows how great this band was.

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