This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)

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"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"
This Must Be the Place.jpg
Single by Talking Heads
from the album Speaking in Tongues
B-side "Moon Rocks"
Released November 1983[1]
Format 7"
Recorded 1982
Genre New wave
Length 4:56
Label Sire
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Talking Heads
Talking Heads singles chronology
"Burning Down the House"
(1983)
"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"
(1983)
"Slippery People"
(1984)
"Burning Down the House"
(1983)
"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"
(1983)
"Slippery People"
(Live)
(1984)

"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" is a song by new wave band Talking Heads, released in November 1983 as the second single from their fifth album Speaking in Tongues. The lyrics were written by David Byrne, and the music was written by Byrne and the other members of the band, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.

Composition[edit]

In the "Self Interview" on the DVD of the concert film Stop Making Sense, Byrne states that it is a love song, a topic he tends to avoid because it is "kinda big." He also said of the song:[3]

That's a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don't have any narrative qualities. It's a real honest kind of love song. I don't think I've ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn't corny, that didn't sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.

According to the Stop Making Sense commentary track, the title "Naive Melody" refers to the music. On the track, the guitar part and the bass part are doing the same thing throughout the whole song. According to David Byrne, many professional musicians would not play a song written in that fashion, and that is what makes the melody naive. Byrne played the lead keyboard solo.[citation needed]

Bassist Tina Weymouth stated in the liner notes of Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads that the song was created through "truly naive" experimentation with different instruments and jamming. Weymouth played guitar, guitarist Jerry Harrison played a Prophet synthesiser (including the bassline) Wally Badarou used the same synthesizer to add the stabs, and Byrne switched between guitar and another Prophet synthesizer, the latter of which he played using the pitch modulation wheel and "campy" piano glissandos.[citation needed]

Pitchfork later described the song as "an aberration for the Talking Heads. It was more of an exercise in understated musical hypnosis than polyrhythmic, Kuti-quoting funk, well-compressed instead of bursting at the seams, and (in its abashed way) it was a full-blown love song. [..] With "This Must Be the Place", the band simplified their sound dramatically, condensing their sonic palette to the level of small EKG blips (having switched instruments for a lark, this was nearly all they were able to reliably deliver chops-wise) and wringing out only a few chords."[4]

Stop Making Sense[edit]

The song is featured in Stop Making Sense (1984), a concert film featuring Talking Heads and directed by Jonathan Demme. Throughout the Stop Making Sense version, Byrne and his bandmates perform by a standard lamp, while close-up images of various body parts are projected onto a screen behind them. As revealed on the commentary to the film, the body parts belong to Byrne and his girlfriend (later wife) Adelle Lutz who was also known as Bonnie. When the song reaches a bridge, the musicians step back and Byrne dances with the lamp, a reference to Fred Astaire's similar dance with a coat-rack in the film Royal Wedding. During the song, Weymouth is seen playing a rare Fender Swinger electric guitar, instead of her usual bass.

The Stop Making Sense version was released as single in 1986, peaking at #100 on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

In 2015, Pitchfork ranked the song at number 22 in their list of "The 200 Best Songs of the 1980s," with Winston Cook-Wilson of the website saying: "In the process of stripping down, Talking Heads showcased something at the root of their art: David Byrne’s inimitable gift for melody, and his unique ability to make every musical figure seem both familiar and tied directly to the lyrical thought (see 'I feel numb...born with a weak heart/ I guess I must be having fun'). Is there a better moment of catharsis in a pop then the song's final eureka realization, after Byrne gets whacked with the monolithic spiritual hammer and awakes from a life-encompassing daze into unexpected stability? There’s nothing to narrow his eyes at anymore: 'Cover up the blank spots, hit me on the head/ Aaoooh, aaooh, aaooh, aaoooh.' For a band rarely given to addressing issues of the heart head-on, 'Naive Melody' remains an unexpected and peerless achievement."[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video depicts the band members and their session musicians watching light-hearted home movies, before going down into the basement and playing their instruments.

In other media[edit]

The name of the song serves as the title of a 2011 drama film starring Sean Penn as an aging rock star. In one scene, the main character attends a concert in which David Byrne performs the song.[7][8][9]

The song was featured in the 2007 film Lars and the Real Girl during a party scene.

It was also featured in the Oliver Stone 1987 film Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen, as well as the 2010 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

In 2011 the song briefly appears in the Steve Carell romantic-comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love.

The song is briefly played in the 2009 romantic-comedy He's Just Not That into You.

The song briefly appears on a radio in the Once Upon a Time episode "Welcome to Storybrooke".

Part of the song was played in the final moments of the Season 6 premiere of the Northern Exposure episode "Dinner at Seven-Thirty" in September 1994.

Covers[edit]

The song was covered live by the Montreal-based band Arcade Fire, and is featured as the B-side to their single "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)". Their version features David Byrne on guest vocals. The song is featured on the album Sing into My Mouth by Band of Horses and Iron & Wine, which is named after a lyric from this song.

The song is sampled in the song Mama by the Spice Girls. The song has also been covered by Kishi Bashi,[10] Car Seat Headrest, In Wilderness, Keller Williams, The Lumineers, Fenech-Soler, Postmodern Jukebox feat. Sara Niemietz, Hotel X, Iron and Wine, Shawn Colvin, Perpetual Groove, MGMT, Mysteries of Life, Animal Liberation Orchestra, The String Cheese Incident, Gunnar Madsen, Counting Crows, Ryan Montbleau Band, Miles Fisher, Tim Bowness, Samuel Smiles, Weatherbox, Youthless, Walk the Moon, Kyp Malone, Cornmeal, Euforquestra, Logger and the Fatties, Alex Mills, Alex Patten, Hidden Ballroom,[11] and the Swedish band Gloria.[12]

Charts[edit]

Original version
Chart (1983) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[5] 51
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 62
Live version
Chart (1986) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[5] 100

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]