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Talking Heads — The Big Country
Album: More Songs About Buildings and Food
Avg rating:
6.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 453









Released: 1976
Length: 5:25
Plays (last 30 days): 0
I see the shapes
I remember from maps
I see the shoreline
I see the whitecaps
A baseball diamond
Nice weather down there
I see the school
And the houses where the kids are
Places to park
By the factories and buildings
Restaurants and bars
For later in the evening

Then we come to the farmlands
And the undeveloped areas
And I have learned
How these things work together
I see the parkway
That passes through them all
And I have learned
How to look at these things, and I say

I wouldn't live there if you paid me
I wouldn't live like that, no siree
I wouldn't do the things the way those people do
I wouldn't live there if you paid me to

I guess it's healthy
I guess the air is clean
I guess those people
Have fun with their neighbors and friends
Look at that kitchen
And all of that food
Look at them eat it
I guess it tastes real good

They grow it in those farmlands
Then they bring it to the store
They put it in the car trunk
And they bring it back home, and I say

I wouldn't live there if you paid me
I wouldn't live like that, no siree
I wouldn't do the things the way those people do
I wouldn't live there if you paid me to

I'm tired of looking
Out the window of the airplane
I'm tired of traveling
I want to be somewhere
It's not even worth talking
About those people down there, no

Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo, ga-ga-ga
Goo-goo-goo-goo, ga-ga-ga-ga
Comments (106)add comment
What is it with this guy and baby noises?

Gah-gah-gah!

Almost like he got stuck developmentally somewhere. But I guess it works for him. Just not my thing.
 mooseisadick wrote:
Cool song, but if it is a put down of non-New York America then I don't get it. I've spent a lot of time in NYC and I can't think of a bigger cesspool than that place. Unless maybe Ohio. Anyway I like the tune.
 
You say that you've spent a lot of time in NYC, but it sure reads like it was written by someone who has never even been close to NYC, let alone actually in it. 

Great song.  It's a recurring theme with the Talking Heads, all the way through to Nothing But Flowers.
Don't care much for this song off a quite good album with great cover art and album title.  Still have the vinyl.
 mooseisadick wrote:
Cool song, but if it is a put down of non-New York America then I don't get it. I've spent a lot of time in NYC and I can't think of a bigger cesspool than that place. Unless maybe Ohio. Anyway I like the tune.
 
IF.  Exactly.  Why do so many people here assume the lyrics are a) meant to be taken so seriously and b) referring specifically to the "flyover" states?  (People actually do fly over all the coastal states, too...and other countries...and most of them have some suburbia and farmland.  How many communities in the "Heartland" have prominent shorelines?)

I always thought of it as maybe some wry, thought-provoking observations about post-WW2 suburban sprawl development, industrialization, and the car-dependent, highly consumptive, often materialistic lifestyle that developed.  It's hard for me to see it as passing judgment on particular groups of people at all.

Fascinating how different the interpretations and reactions are.  That alone bumps the rating up for me.
 LowPhreak wrote:
Great, under-appreciated album.

 
Not by me...
Great, under-appreciated album.
No vaseline.. no my way, anyway. End july David B and Marianne F ensemble. at les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon, france. So check it up..
Love this band. But really dislike this particular song.
FFS, David - you do go on, don't you? Short is sweet, you know ;-|
 bam23 wrote:
 A number of his songs appear to me as commentary on the attitudes of ... people ...
 
So true. Listen to the other songs on the early Heads albums, and this is exactly what you see/hear. To take this literally is, literally, crazy talk.

slowly, he goes me on the nerves  {#Lol}
Reading the comments on RP illustrates the obvious truth that everyone hears things in a unique way. For this song, there are those who assume, apparently because they read the lyrics as if they are in a textbook, that David Byrne is strictly literal in his outlook. He is knocked by some commenters for his arrogant attitude. And so on. Oddly, I have always seen more than a little humor in his writing. To me, "I wouldn't live there if they paid me" is a sort of sarcastic take on a bi-coastal attitude that is strong in such places as New York, or even Providence, RI. A number of his songs appear to me as commentary on the attitudes of the people he has been associating with for years. Of course, maybe he is a smug artiste who scorns the common among us, maybe. But I also like the music.
Always enjoyed this one a lot, even though it's not exactly a typical Heads tune.
 greyfin10 wrote:
Of all the groups I've ever not liked that RP plays, Talking Heads is the only I'm not won over on yet.  I get the suspicion that Bill likes em more than a little bit, and I'll keep trying to have an open ear since I trust Bill.  

A recent development that bodes well is that I recently found out that Adrian Belew (I know him from King Crimson and his quirky solo stuff) was involved with TH at some point in the past.  Never knew that, made me go hmm.  I think one thing that influenced me in my attitude is that I equated (rightly or wrongly) TH with the Punk attitude of not caring about the music as much as the heart/fire of the delivery.  Maybe I got them confused with Sonic Youth?
 
Same problem the record companies ran into over and over so that's why things got called New Wave.
 greyfin10 wrote:
Of all the groups I've ever not liked that RP plays, Talking Heads is the only I'm not won over on yet.  I get the suspicion that Bill likes em more than a little bit, and I'll keep trying to have an open ear since I trust Bill.  

A recent development that bodes well is that I recently found out that Adrian Belew (I know him from King Crimson and his quirky solo stuff) was involved with TH at some point in the past.  Never knew that, made me go hmm.  I think one thing that influenced me in my attitude is that I equated (rightly or wrongly) TH with the Punk attitude of not caring about the music as much as the heart/fire of the delivery.  Maybe I got them confused with Sonic Youth?
 
Always remember: Bill loves Byrnin' down the house.

Of all the groups I've ever not liked that RP plays, Talking Heads is the only I'm not won over on yet.  I get the suspicion that Bill likes em more than a little bit, and I'll keep trying to have an open ear since I trust Bill.  

A recent development that bodes well is that I recently found out that Adrian Belew (I know him from King Crimson and his quirky solo stuff) was involved with TH at some point in the past.  Never knew that, made me go hmm.  I think one thing that influenced me in my attitude is that I equated (rightly or wrongly) TH with the Punk attitude of not caring about the music as much as the heart/fire of the delivery.  Maybe I got them confused with Sonic Youth?
 rscherm wrote:
unpopular, nonfavorite
 
{#Dancingbanana_2}

unpopular, nonfavorite
I have to admit they're honest. It's not singing, just talking.
rosedraws wrote:
I love TH. But not this one.
Ditto. This one plods, the melody is atonal in places, and Byrne's vocal is really annoying. Blech.
Wow! Lots a bashing of this TH album #2 closer cut. I always thought it was a pretty cool song, regardless of whether or not Byrne was trashing "flyover America". And I live here! And nobody pays me to!
miahfost wrote:
Yet these days, the music is childish in its arrangement, with insipid lyrics. His voice, which used to stand out as the warbling nerd now just sounds untrained and dull. They used to have something to say, these talking heads. Now they just talk.
true, but isnt that what happens when you get old? you have something to say until you are almost dead
I love TH. But not this one.
love it!
wookie wrote:
The only way I could dance to this is with a pogo stick...enough already with the Heads!
This has to be the most awesome idea I have heard all day. I am getting a pogo stick on my way home tonight.
miahfost wrote:
Yet these days, the music is childish in its arrangement, with insipid lyrics. His voice, which used to stand out as the warbling nerd now just sounds untrained and dull. They used to have something to say, these talking heads. Now they just talk.
Well said, gotta agree. TH has not aged well.
miahfost wrote:
Yet these days, the music is childish in its arrangement, with insipid lyrics. His voice, which used to stand out as the warbling nerd now just sounds untrained and dull. They used to have something to say, these talking heads. Now they just talk.
I couldn't have said it better myself. RP could use a few days...weeks...months without Talking Heads or any offshoots. :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
The only way I could dance to this is with a pogo stick...enough already with the Heads!
not TH again and again and again Bill!!
Not one of their best. I always thought the beat on this was Neanderthal compared to some of the interesting riffs they found elsewhere.
mooseisadick wrote:
Cool song, but if it is a put down of non-New York America then I don't get it. I've spent a lot of time in NYC and I can't think of a bigger cesspool than that place. Unless maybe Ohio. Anyway I like the tune.
i used to listen to this song when it first came out and think, yes, that is right... of course, i grew up in NYC for all my life, then i moved to AZ and found out what am arrogant, hubris lyric it is... having said all that, "More Songs about... is still one of my favorite all time records...
Yet these days, the music is childish in its arrangement, with insipid lyrics. His voice, which used to stand out as the warbling nerd now just sounds untrained and dull. They used to have something to say, these talking heads. Now they just talk.
I guess my take on the lyrics is a little different. I was just thinking how political the song is - and was even more so in the Reagan years, when turning your back on the values of the self-interested mainstream of America was a hugely political act. At the same time, it's also an expression of the slightly self-important art school graduate he also was. But by instinctively supporting the outsider in songs like 'Listening Wind' and 'Life During Wartime', which flirts dangerously with the glamor of guerrilla chic, he gave voice to many others at the time who felt they just didn't fit.
Very cool song IMO. Always liked it a lot. For any who think he is being an arrogant "city slicker", I would say "no-sirree!"
the most irriverent name for an album in the music history! :clap: :notworthy:
hcaudill wrote:
My take on the lyrics is that the person being parodied is a self-important urban sophisticate, who thinks he's better than all the people down there. David Byrne's a pretty subtle and thoughtful guy, and I don't think he's being scornful of rural/suburban people - just the opposite. Here are the lyrics for your reference:
For all those folks discussing and pondering the meaning of the lyrics, I suggest you read AllMusic's insightful song review: (click here)
You can never overplay the talking heads Bill. Also, to the people below. He isn't singing as if he is better and more sophisticated then country folk. In college I did acid and listend to this song. You see what he is saying.
ndfan75 wrote:
$$#@!$^Y%^#&%@&%&@$$^^#$ make it stop
seriously, wtf. I'm replying to my own messages now
ndfan75 wrote:
$$#@!$^Y%^#&%@&%&@$$^^#$ make it stop
Agree with you. Can't stand that voice.
Cool song, but if it is a put down of non-New York America then I don't get it. I've spent a lot of time in NYC and I can't think of a bigger cesspool than that place. Unless maybe Ohio. Anyway I like the tune.
hcaudill wrote:
My take on the lyrics is that the person being parodied is a self-important urban sophisticate, who thinks he's better than all the people down there. David Byrne's a pretty subtle and thoughtful guy, and I don't think he's being scornful of rural/suburban people - just the opposite. Here are the lyrics for your reference:
I think the key line is "And I have learned how to look at these things." Not a slam at all; it's about someone forced to rationalize because he can't live like those down below because he's too busy climbing the ladder of success.
$$#@!$^Y%^#&%@&%&@$$^^#$ make it stop
ObsidianInfinity wrote:
i hate the talking heads so much...his voice hurts my head
Turn it up. Loud. You will be cured soon.
Immediately evokes my junior and senior years of high school. A perfect song of alienation for people of a certain age and temperament -- which I most definitely was. Is it any wonder I went on to become a land planner?
stonesmaster wrote:
Very disrespectful of rural america.
My take on the lyrics is that the person being parodied is a self-important urban sophisticate, who thinks he's better than all the people down there. David Byrne's a pretty subtle and thoughtful guy, and I don't think he's being scornful of rural/suburban people - just the opposite. Here are the lyrics for your reference:
I see the shapes, I remember from maps. I see the shoreline. I see the whitecaps. A baseball diamond, nice weather down there. I see the school and the houses where the kids are. Places to park by the fac'tries and buildings. Restaunts and bar for later in the evening. Then we come to the farmlands, and the undeveloped areas. And I have learned how these things work together. I see the parkway that passes through them all. And I have learned how to look at these things and I say, (CHORUS) I wouldn't live there if you paid me. I couldn't live like that, no siree! I couldn't do the things the way those people do. I couldn't live there if you paid me to. I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean. I guess those people have fun with their neighbors and friends. Look at that kitchen and all of that food. Look at them eat it' guess it tastes real good. They grow it in the farmlands And they take it to the stores They put it in the car trunk And they bring it back home And I say ... (CHORUS) I say, I wouldn't live there if you paid me. I couldn't live like that, no siree! I couldn't do the things the way those people do. I wouldn't live there if you paid me to. I'm tired of looking out the windows of the airplane I'm tired of travelling, I want to be somewhere. It's not even worth talking About those people down there.
Meghan: what happen to queen liner-notie drag on paragraphs ???
Why does this have to be a song? Why couldn't he have just written it down as an essay in the New Yorker? Why couldn't it just be a painting?
:bananajumprope: :bananajam:
I just think it's funny how DB loves baby noises...cracks me up! Gagaga....
:bananajam: I wouldn't do the things that most people do!!!!!!!! Gagagagagagaga :music:
LOVE IT! and the guitar slidin' is waaay fun....
My lowest rated RP song ever, downright unlistenable. :wall:
theticket.com
i really don't like this one. he sounds like he's straining to hit every note. every single one. i can't appreciate this one's sound at all. perhaps i need a lyric sheet.
the thumping part at the end makes it good enough for me: a 5.
sergeant_x wrote:
The album this song originally came from is one of my favorites and definitely the best Talking Heads. Another song from that one, "Found a Job" always sticks with me, espeicially when I hear about yet another bad television show. "Good Thing" and, of course "Take Me to the River" are excellent cuts as well.
Agree 1000 percent.
I think of flying when I hear this song, and I think of this song when I fly.
redeyespy wrote:
Uh uh. A perfect closer to a fabulous album (More Songs about Buildings and Food).
What redeyespy said. "People fighting over little things and wasting precious time."
timandjuliet wrote:
The only bad song on the album.
Uh uh. A perfect closer to a fabulous album (More Songs about Buildings and Food).
Excellent song. Love the lyrics. Amazing journey, following the ideas he is putting out, describing what he is seeing and his reaction to it. Super!
timandjuliet wrote:
The only bad song on the album.
Of course. Oh, and by the way, white is black and monkeys are bananas.
UPLOAD "DRUMMER BOY" BY VBC...
The only bad song on the album.
i hate the talking heads so much...his voice hurts my head
one of my rem faves. makes me look deeper in myself
ga ga ga ga ga ga ga :guitarist:
:headshake: Whiny. One of those songs that made me turn off the computer.
phineas wrote:
Not the best use of Byrne's sometimes-great voice. And the music? Plodding.
totally agreed.
spoko wrote:
Is there anything from the Talking Heads that I don't hate?
If you were me, the answer would be no. :frustrated:
aharamanx wrote:
I do apologise for my ignorance, but I think this stinks. :(
Ah, that's not ignorance, it's discernment.
I love this song and the whole album from which it sprang, really. I love the musical accompaniment and don't think anyone should take a 20-something David Byrne's opinions about the heartland too seriously. I think it's meant to be ironic and fun.
Is there anything from the Talking Heads that I don't hate?
Not the best use of Byrne's sometimes-great voice. And the music? Plodding.
sergeant_x wrote:
The album this song originally came from is one of my favorites and definitely the best Talking Heads. Another song from that one, "Found a Job" always sticks with me, espeicially when I hear about yet another bad television show. "Good Thing" and, of course "Take Me to the River" are excellent cuts as well.
Damn that television!
The album this song originally came from is one of my favorites and definitely the best Talking Heads. Another song from that one, "Found a Job" always sticks with me, espeicially when I hear about yet another bad television show. "Good Thing" and, of course "Take Me to the River" are excellent cuts as well.
tg3k wrote:
Regardless of the lyrical parody (or lack thereof, whatever), I just can't get past the wanky music behind this song. Talking Heads have never been one of my favorites, but this song stands out in its ability to push my buttons. (The wrong buttons, too -- the ones that make me reach for the Mute button.) No offense intended at all to the Talking Heads fans out there -- if we all liked the same things all the time, it'd get real boring real quick.
I couldn't agree more!! This guy's voice was just grating on my nerves! Usually if I don't have anything nice to say, I don't write, but I was moved to log on and see what others were saying... like tg3k said, no offence..... Happy Turkey Weekend (all you Canucks, anyway)
I thought this was a Beck song until I heard Byrne's unmistakable voice.
hondok wrote:
One of their best songs, usually overlooked. I think of it every time I fly.
Yes, very, very overlooked and never played on commercial radio these days, although it was played often on the old KSAN in San Francisco way back in '78. Keep playing it, cuz no one else does. A suggestion...another song that sorta sounds like this and would be great played next to it is Prarie Rose by Roxy Music. Off their Country Life record from '74. dairyman from Oakland
hondok wrote:
One of their best songs, usually overlooked. I think of it every time I fly.
Yes, very, very overlooked and never played on commercial radio these days, although it was played often on the old KSAN in San Francisco way back in '78. Keep playing it, cuz no one else does.
AJ_the_Voice wrote:
Great tune. Some folks are taking David a little too literally. He is a master of parody. Take a listen to: "Nothing But Flowers"... a GREAT song which RP should pickup. It's about how the world DE-EVOLVES back to cornfields, waterfalls and peaceful oases... "I miss the Honky Tonks, Dairy Queens and 7-11s... if this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn mower... Don't leave me stranded here, I can't get used to this lifestyle" It doesn't take much to see that these lyrics are social commentary, not to be taken literally. Yes, I agree, great song that never gets played on any radio station probably anywhere in the country. So many of the Heads songs have been overplayed to death, like Take Me To The River, and Psycho Killer. Nice to hear a vastly underplayed song by them. dairyman in Oakland --AJ
I do apologise for my ignorance, but I think this stinks. :(
Regardless of the lyrical parody (or lack thereof, whatever), I just can\'t get past the wanky music behind this song. Talking Heads have never been one of my favorites, but this song stands out in its ability to push my buttons. (The wrong buttons, too -- the ones that make me reach for the Mute button.) No offense intended at all to the Talking Heads fans out there -- if we all liked the same things all the time, it\'d get real boring real quick.
Other people have covered this topic already, but i\'d like to add that this song makes copious, unironic -- indeed, very good -- use of slide guitar, an instrument primarily associated with Country music, which is primarily associated with \"rural America\".
Great tune. Some folks are taking David a little too literally. He is a master of parody. Take a listen to: \"Nothing But Flowers\"... a GREAT song which RP should pickup. It\'s about how the world DE-EVOLVES back to cornfields, waterfalls and peaceful oases... \"I miss the Honky Tonks, Dairy Queens and 7-11s... if this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn mower... Don\'t leave me stranded here, I can\'t get used to this lifestyle\" It doesn\'t take much to see that these lyrics are social commentary, not to be taken literally. --AJ
Way Too Cynical! (perhaps that\'s why it\'s one of my favorite Talking Heads tunes?)
Originally Posted by 1jerry: 1/2 boring 1/2 interesting
henceforth the 1 jerry?
Getting to overplayed here on RP.
This is the Heads best song. Disrespectful?!? Your missing the point of the song. I think of this song everytime I fly. :clap:
Originally Posted by stonesmaster: I love the style and sound of this song, but the lyrics suck. Very disrespectful of rural america.
I'll bet you think Randy Newman's "Short People" is a serious indictment of the height-challenged too. When Byrne juxtaposes comments like "I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean" and "I wouldn't live there if you paid me to", which one do you think should be taken seriously? And which one is being ridiculed?
Originally Posted by stonesmaster: I love the style and sound of this song, but the lyrics suck. Very disrespectful of rural america. Where most musical styles originated.
Uhh. Maybe there's a little more going on. Maybe, since David often makes statements that seem insensitive, and we know he's really NOT a jerk, he's caught himself thinking things and then parodying his own thinking. Sorry. I just broke my brain.
this song annoys me big time - yuck
1/2 boring 1/2 interesting
One of their best songs, usually overlooked. I think of it every time I fly.
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Originally Posted by ImFallingDown: START TODAY!
I assume you've already started yourself? Can I get your website adress, etc. so I can see if- and how you are making progress?
Artist: Beatles Song: It's All Too Much (remix) CD: Yellow Submarine (1999) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Buy This CD Artist Info (AMG) Request This Song -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 - Sucko-barfo 2 - Marginal 3 - Ho Hum 4 - Acceptable 5 - Decent 6 - Pretty Good 7 - Quite Likeable 8 - Most Excellent 9 - Outstanding 10 - Godlike Average: 8.2 < Lowest: 1 > < Highest: 10 > < Rated by 45 listeners > Last Played: Tue Jun 04, 2002 - 17:30:08 PDT -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Song Comments: Add your comments -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tue Jun 04 17:40:57 By: ImFallingDown Location: Lowest Heights HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN "RADIOPARADISE:" 1. Ask for listener donations, threatening them with commercials if they don't contribute. Then, brag about your travels all over the world, financed by....? 2. Demand that listeners upload files @ 192 bps, even though you only broadcast @ 128 bps.This: a)Gives you source material to re-broadcast free of charge, thus making the contributions in 1. (above) go even farther. b)increases your personal music collectionalmost free. START TODAY!
I always thought this song was dissing people living outside of New York (I guess), but if you saw the movie \"True Stories,\" I felt that was a much more friendly view of life in suburbia. Since this song was released relatively early in the bands career, I\'ve always wanted to find out what changed in David Byrne\'s head between when this song was released and the film.
Jacques, According to the lyrics:
I wouldn't live there if you paid me. I couldn't live like that, no siree! I couldn't do the things the way those people do. I couldn't live there if you paid me to.
Byrne is dissing the country. As to music and rural america, most modern styles (rock, blues, country, bluegrass) originated there. I will give you they were modifications of earlier styles, but they are truly original.
Originally Posted by stonesmaster: I love the style and sound of this song, but the lyrics suck. Very disrespectful of rural america. Where most musical styles originated.
Actually most musical styles originated in Africa, Asia, the Near East and pre-Renaissance Europe... rural America, like most of the modern western world (post 1700) imported (through immigration) then borrowed from these elements to create their "own" musical forms... David Byrne and Talking Heads aren't putting anyone down... rural America, urban America and all other western, eastern, southern and northern "urban" and "rural" areas have good and bad things about them, mentioning them in a song isn't blaspehmous or even negative, it's just stating facts... Fly the flag, don't wear it. Love Jacques Radio Paradise: Great Radio Deserves a Catchy Tag Line
I love the style and sound of this song, but the lyrics suck. Very disrespectful of rural america. Where most musical styles originated.
I agree, this is their best album. they were at their artistic peak here.
This was their best (my favorite) album. \"I wouldn\'t live there/if you paid me to...\"
Talking Heads doing alt-country a decade before it was cool. Yum.
Their music is better than it sounds.
Sorry but I had to rate this lower than average... some of the talking heads songs were \"catchy\" .. had a melody.. something you could hum to or sing along with ... but this one... its like a rusty squeze box that doesn\'t get any easier to work with as the song goes on... :roll:
i\'ve always liked this one. it didn\'t get played much when \"more songs about buildings and food\" came out. which was a shame but thats usally the case in my taste in music.