Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne has called this "a very personal love song," and has said it was written about a specific person, likely Adelle Lutz, a costume designer he had recently met. The couple married in 1987 and had a daughter named Malu before divorcing in 2004.
David Byrne keeps his personal life closed off, which makes this song unusual in that he's clearly sorting through a genuine relationship, not delivering a work of fiction like he usually does. And true to form, his love song is far from direct, with none of the gooey textures we're used to hearing from smitten songwriters.
In the song, he feels grounded, and he's not sure what to make of it. Being "home" feels comforting, but uncertain. This ambiguity stands out in lines like "I guess I must be having fun" and "If someone asks, this is where I'll be" - he knows this is supposed to be the place, so he'll go with it.
The subtitle, "Naive Melody," refers to the structure of the song itself. The bass and guitar repeat the exact same phrase for the entire song, restricting the melody of the song to the G-A-B-A chord progression.
David - Mesa, AZ
Fans quickly connected with the song, but it was only a minor hit. Over time though, it gained a much larger audience, as it expressed emotions no other song could. Its popular revival began in 1994 when Shawn Colvin covered the song. It caught on with the college crowd, and grew more popular into the next decade thanks in part to a cover by Arcade Fire, who did a version with Byrne on guest vocals. It started showing up in sets by MGMT, The String Cheese Incident, The Lumineers and many other acts. It stands as one of the most beloved songs in the Talking Heads catalog.
As expected from Talking Heads, the visuals for this song are rather abstract. The official video, directed by Byrne, shows the band watching home movies, but these movies are a strange collection of hunters and cowboys. In the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, Byrne dances with a lamp during the song.
Recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, the music for this song came out of a jam session where the band switched instruments. Bass player Tina Weymouth ended up on rhythm guitar, keyboard player Jerry Harrison played keyboard bass, and David Byrne manned the Prophet-5 synthesizer, making the space-y sounds by turning the modulation wheel.
On the album version, which runs 4:56, the vocal doesn't come in until 1:04. The repeated refrain of the intro allows the listener to settle into the song, but poisons its hit potential. The single, which was delivered to radio stations and used in the video, cuts the intro down to 16 seconds and the song to 3:50.
Byrne said this was the first love song he ever wrote. "I didn't try to compromise this time and say 'love is nice'" he told The Face in 1983.
This song has made some intriguing appearances in movies. In the 1987 film Wall Street
, it plays as Charlie Sheen's character gets his New York apartment decorated in the louche stylings of the newly rich. It's clear he's doing what's expected of him, but it's not necessarily what he wants. The song was also used in the 2010 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
It was also used in these films:Lars And The Real Girl
(2007)Adopt A Sailor
(2008)He's Just Not That Into You
(2009)Crazy, Stupid, Love.
In 2011, Byrne appeared in a movie called This Must Be the Place
, where he performs the song. The film stars Sean Penn as a rock star whose best days are behind him. In one scene
, a kid asks Penn to play the song, but thinks it's by Arcade Fire.
In a sign of how well this song aged, Entertainment Weekly
placed it at #46 in their 2005 list of the 50 Greatest Love Songs.
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