And the heat goes on, and the heat goes on
March 29, 2018 7:09 PM   Subscribe

The newest album by Beninese singer and activist Angélique Kidjo is a cover, in its entirety, of the Talking Heads' classic Remain in Light. Here's the video for "Born Under Punches", directed by the album's producer, Jeff Bhasker. Here's an article in Rolling Stone.
posted by hydrophonic (41 comments total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
 
Holy shit, I love this.
posted by rewil at 7:25 PM on March 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Amazing- the video of her singing with David Byrne in the Rolling Stone article is sublime
posted by Otherwise at 7:38 PM on March 29, 2018


Oh my god. Buckle up, because this is a sonic ride.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:01 PM on March 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


That was really good. I mean, really good.
posted by irisclara at 8:04 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


THANK YOU for this!

the video of her singing with David Byrne in the Rolling Stone article is sublime

Direct link to Once in a Lifetime - Angélique Kidjo with David Byrne at Carnegie Hall 2017 (decent audio recording)

Where "Remain in Light" is pure power, there's such joyous in that live duet. I'm going to re-play Remain in the Light a few times now.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:12 PM on March 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Good stuff, absolutely. I'll be picking it up when it drops in Juen.

I like the group she was in as well, Les Amazones D'Afrique - great rhythms, topical lyrics, a very modern sound.
posted by ashbury at 8:17 PM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is great!
posted by Dip Flash at 8:28 PM on March 29, 2018


Wait, this isn't out yet? I need to buy this now.
posted by octothorpe at 8:28 PM on March 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I have loved Angélique Kidjo since hearing her cover of Summertime when I was 9 or 10. I got to hear her perform last year in a really small concert which was mostly her telling stories about her life and the music that was important to her at different times. Her version of Papa's Got A Brand New Bag was so badass. Check out her other newish venture, Les Amazones d'Afrique.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:30 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


[I am tired, and not paying attention to details - I confused the forthcoming album title and the recently released single/video title]

The album comes out June 8, and she has scattered upcoming tour dates that include performances of the album.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:36 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey! She's coming to Chicago with Femi Kuti this summer! At Ravinia, no less!
posted by hydrophonic at 8:43 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yay, Denver's on the list!
posted by rewil at 8:47 PM on March 29, 2018


My first impulse - tweet the video at Jane Coaston, who must be informed about this ASAP
posted by wotsac at 8:47 PM on March 29, 2018


Well, fuck. This is great. Love the reinterpretation of "Born Under Punches." (Naturally, her L.A. show is the night of our housewarming. Sigh.)
posted by mykescipark at 9:03 PM on March 29, 2018


Also, damn, that band: "Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, bassist Pino Palladino, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, erstwhile Paul Simon bassist Abe Laboriel, Sr., Blood Orange and others."
posted by mykescipark at 9:04 PM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here's a version of her performing "Crosseyed and Painless" (at the opening gala concert of the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival) that's much better than the cell-phone video version linked in the RS article.

Great stuff, thanks for posting.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:06 PM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well holy shit! That is without question my fav album ever, and by people's reactions here and the musical endorsement of Mr. Byrne himself, I anticipate a new second fav album... really looking forward to this thanks for the heads up!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:21 PM on March 29, 2018


Fuck. Remain in Light, and to some extent Fear of Music, are such miracles of pop music. I doubt that I would have ever learned to appreciate any African pop music without those albums. And comparing them to Oliver Mtukudzi or Staff Benda Billili , the Talking Heads albums are worthy tributes, not like the Vampire Weekend albums which feel more like direct ripoffs. It’s fun to see this circle back.

And because there is nowhere more appropriate to write it, after decades of pondering it, I am pretty much convinced Once in a Lifetime is a song about the moment of Siddartha’s enlightenment in the Hesse novel. The river is always changing yet it is always the same.

It’s a brilliant piece of work and I don’t care what kind of pretentious weirdo people think David Byrne is. He tapped into something Deep and Important and I am grateful for the ways rock and roll has saved my life.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:23 PM on March 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Speaking of cover songs, Kidjo’s Voodoo Child, especially this live version from 1999, is incredible.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:39 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. Appropriate *this.*
posted by kerf at 10:46 PM on March 29, 2018


And because there is nowhere more appropriate to write it, after decades of pondering it, I am pretty much convinced Once in a Lifetime is a song about the moment of Siddartha’s enlightenment in the Hesse novel. The river is always changing yet it is always the same.

It’s a brilliant piece of work and I don’t care what kind of pretentious weirdo people think David Byrne is. He tapped into something Deep and Important and I am grateful for the ways rock and roll has saved my life.


Wow, Slarty Bartfast, nice to meet a fellow traveller on the road! How has your journey been?

Remain in Light was the first album I ever bought with my own money, I can still recall the album rotating on my grandmother's turntable in a house in Montreal that does not exist anymore, in the summer of 1980 or '81... That music is just as vibrant and powerful to me now as a 50 year old man as it was when I was first blown away as an impressionable and precocious preteen. What hooked me was seeing the video for Once in a Lifetime, with this fabulous geek doing a Buddy Holly impression and jerking his body in time with a group of African women in some mysterious and compelling ritual... We chop our arm like so, we bow down like so... And there I was joining them on the living room carpet, completely entranced!

And as I attended to the lyrics in the years that followed, there is no question at all that Mr. Byrne planted a seed deep in my mind when he exclaimed that "you may find yourself in another part of the world"... Yes, I may, I might, I could!

And here I am, an expat for most of my adult life, following Mr. Byrne's marching orders. Mission accepted! Thank you sir, it was an excellent idea! Once in a lifetime, indeed!
posted by Meatbomb at 11:17 PM on March 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sweet! We have just now acquired tickets to her show in Berkeley! This is amazing. Thank you.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:21 PM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am in favor of this.
posted by philip-random at 11:45 PM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


and for the record, David Byrne, with and without the Talking Heads, with and without Brian Eno had a gobsmackingly strong October 1980 thru December 1981 in terms of albums released.

Remain in Light
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
The Catherine Wheel

There was also time for this tour ...
posted by philip-random at 11:56 PM on March 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


For me, "Remain in Light" is from a time when music could still be intimidating, frightening and strange. Watching the "Once in a Lifetime" video on an evening half-hour music show from a Canadian TV station on the opposite side of the lake set a particular pin in me; everybody else in the room was annoyed by the unusual noise or amused by the dorky guy acting funny, I was fascinated and felt like I'd just been exposed to a truth I hadn't known before. It was both alienating and entrancing.

I kind of wonder whether that experience is possible for teenagers any more.
posted by ardgedee at 3:34 AM on March 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oh what now?!
This is so (doubly) up my alley... but on first listen/vision that version of Born Under Punches... has somehow lost something of the off-kilter syncopation, the rhythms now kind of normalised? Will go and check out the live videos of the other songs, dearly hoping for all this could be.
(Just in my head: I would have been even more excited if it had been King Sunny Adé attempting this...)
posted by progosk at 3:58 AM on March 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


And you may find yourself in another part of the world.

Oh yes.
posted by erniepan at 4:44 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


(Admittedly, in the RS piece the producer acknowledges the difference I think I’m hearing: “The Talking Heads album has this kind of uncomfortable tension," he says. "Angélique's version sounds so celebratory and happy [...]”. So I guess it’s on me, I’m not yet ready for this kind of resolution...)
posted by progosk at 4:50 AM on March 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would very much like to throw money at Angelique Kidjo to get a super-fan production of this album. Since it appears the only way I can give her anything yet is streaming, I'll just repeat this solitary track for the remainder of the day.
posted by DigDoug at 5:27 AM on March 30, 2018


the off-kilter syncopation
There’s almost always something playing the straight quarter note pulse though
posted by thelonius at 6:41 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. Didn’t know, am enriched. (Was listening to ‘Remain in Light’ yesterday evening while cooking - it’s a bit of a masterpiece. This sounds good, different and yet good.)
posted by From Bklyn at 7:11 AM on March 30, 2018


the off-kilter syncopation
There’s almost always something playing the straight quarter note pulse though


True, the groove is strong (and the beat goes on), but something is usually just out of whack or in counterpunct - in Born Under Punches those short bass darts that pierce the rhythm's fabric, plus Byrne who's always (s)tumbling through...
posted by progosk at 7:19 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I lack the musical training that a lot of you have; I'll just add that I got literal chills from the very first few beats and it was mesmerizing.
posted by martin q blank at 8:06 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I didn't know that Adrian Belew did guitar solos on Remain in Light, nor that Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz tried to pull a coup d'état and replace Byrne with Belew. Guess that partly explains the unique recording process.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2018


I thought the coup thing happened later, during Tom Tom Club sessions.
posted by thelonius at 9:25 AM on March 30, 2018


Maybe so, I guess Tom Tom Club was essentially that coup (and without Eno too). Basically the id of Talking Heads separated from the superego.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:49 AM on March 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I thought the coup thing happened later, during Tom Tom Club sessions.

Watcha gonna do, when you get outa jail? / I'm gonna have some fun!
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Having hurtled down the Remain in Light covers rabbithole, here are some inspired versions:
Born Under Punches - Fuzz Against Junk
Crosseyed & Painless - Delta Nove
The Great Curve - Electro Bamako
Once In A Lifetime - Plumbline / Frank Turner / Jacqui Naylor / The Bad Shepherds
Houses In Motion - Craig Armstrong ft. Helen White & Lewis Parker / Hot Gossip
Seen And Not Seen - Phish
Listening Wind - Geoffrey Oryema / Peter Gabriel
The Overload - Berrocal, Fenech, Epplay

posted by progosk at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


Having come out the other end of revisitation-land, on relisten - not rewatch - a confession: I'm a full convert; Kidjo's version is up there with the best of the interpretations of that seminal album. (So maybe it was just the slightly heavy-handed video that was my issue to be begin with.) Sorry for the moment of doubt, Angélique!

Just stumbled across another Once In A Lifetime worthy of a mention: Will Joseph Cook's. Oh, and: watch Byrne all kinda conflicted about Gabriel's Mojique...)
posted by progosk at 1:36 AM on March 31, 2018


I didn't know that Adrian Belew did guitar solos on Remain in Light,

I remember listening to Remain in Light for the first time and thinking some of his solos were actually keyboards... if you watch the Phillip-Random link of the Rome concert, and also this one from 1980, Belew toured with them for that tour along with additional musicians and it's pretty amazing.
posted by Huck500 at 9:32 AM on March 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Kidjo premiered this rework at Carnegie Hall last Memorial Day weekend ... I was lucky enough to catch it. Among the many highlights: Nona Hendryx on backup and duet vocal, and special guest star David Byrne!

Review here.

Thanks for posting this! I was wondering if/when an album would be released...
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:49 PM on March 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


« Older Besźel Don't Know Bout Ul Qoma   |   AWK: A History Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments