Degrees of separation: Talking Heads and Joy Division

Posted April 24th, 2009 by eric

I had never made the correlation between the Talking Heads song “The Overload” and Joy Division, but I’m Waking Up To… has an intriguing post about the history of that closing track off Talking Heads’ seminal Remain in Light LP from 1980. None of the members of the Talking Heads had ever heard Joy Division’s music at that time, but they’d all read the press that year covering Ian Curtis’ suicide and were intrigued by the common descriptors used for Joy Division’s dark, depressing music. The band decided to write a song based solely on journalistic interpretations of what Joy Division sounded like, and the result is eerily accurate.

“’the overload’ loses the band’s distinctive compactness in favor of an ambience spread thin over its 5 minutes, with david byrne’s vocals inheriting an eerily distant ian curtis drone, reminiscent of deathly ballads like ‘candidate’ from unknown pleasures (1979) or ‘the eternal’ from closer (1980). if anything, though, talking heads attempts this mimicry far too well in reconstructing perfectly the structure and form of joy division while paying little attention to its heart and soul.”

Compare and contrast:

Talking Heads – The Overload.mp3

Joy Division – Candidate.mp3

Joy Division – The Eternal.mp3

Tags: mp3 · stream

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