Cities (Talking Heads song)

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"Cities"
CitiesSingleSleeve.jpeg
Single by Talking Heads
from the album Fear of Music
B-side "Cities (Live version)"
"Artists Only"
Released 1980
Format 7", 12"
Genre New wave, post-punk, funk
Length 4:10
Label Sire
Songwriter(s) David Byrne
Producer(s) Brian Eno, Talking Heads
Talking Heads singles chronology
"I Zimbra"
(1980)
"Cities"
(1980)
"Crosseyed and Painless"
(1980)
"I Zimbra"
(1980)
"Cities"
(1980)
"Crosseyed and Painless"
(1980)

"Cities" was a single released by the American new wave band Talking Heads. It is the fourth track on the 1979 album Fear of Music.

Song style[edit]

"Cities" is a fast-paced bass and keyboard-led song. Tina Weymouth's bass playing in the song is described[by whom?] as both "melodic" and "funky", while David Byrne's guitar is said[by whom?] to be jittery, but clean-sounding. The song fades both in and out with a very aggressive funky rhythm and the fade-out makes a building-up feeling before the next song, "Life During Wartime".[1]

Lyrics[edit]

The song's meaning is simple: it is mainly about a man looking for a city to live in, though lead singer David Byrne's surrealistic yet humorous delivery of the song is anything but simple. The lyrics are both deadpan and silly causing a mixed humor in the song. This combination can be seen in lyrics such as "Did I forget to mention, forget to mention Memphis, home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks."[2][3][4]

Other versions[edit]

The jam band, Phish, covered "Cities" on their album Slip, Stitch and Pass and it has been played frequently at their concerts.[5][6]

Track listing[edit]

7" release

  1. "Cities" – 4:10
  2. "Cities" – (live version)[7]

12" release

  1. "Cities" – 4:10
  2. "Cities" – (live version)
  3. "Artists Only" – 3:36[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cities - Talking Heads | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  2. ^ "Talking Heads - Cities Lyrics". MetroLyrics. 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  3. ^ Bill Janovitz. "Cities - Talking Heads | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  4. ^ Ian Gittins. Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime : the Stories Behind Every Song. Books.google.com. p. 54. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  5. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Slip, Stitch and Pass - Phish | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  6. ^ "Cities Every Time Played". Phish.net. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  7. ^ "Talking Heads - Cities". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Talking Heads - Cities". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-10.