Thursday, February 25, 2010

Modern Poets: Talking Heads

Modern Poets is back and it promises to be another week of totally blowing your minds. This week we're going a little retro after we found out some very interesting bits of information about the Talking Heads. At first we just didn't believe what we had heard but then we took a look at their 1983 song "Burning Down the House".

"Burning Down the House" was a top 10 hit in 1983 off the bands Speaking in Tongues album. The idea for the chorus came to Chris Frantz after he attended a Parliament-Funkadelic concert where he heard the crowd chanting "Burn down the house".

It's widely accepted that the lyrics for the song are very political in nature. It's said that it's a protest of sorts to the nuclear arms race that was raging in the 80's. Productive Sweatpants was under that same impression until we heard from an old roadie of the band. This roadie gave us another story entirely, one that quite frankly we didn't believe until we took a deeper look. Let's check it out:

Burning Down The House

Talking Heads - Burning down the house
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Watch out you might get what you're after.
Cool babes strange but not a stranger.
I'm an ordinary guy.
Burning down the house.

PS - They just slap you in the face with the "burning down the house" nuclear war metaphor and tell us that it will result in dead babies. Very brutal  line, but it gets your attention.


OR...What we heard from the roadie is that The Talking Heads were huge into curling. And "burning down the house" is really a story about how the band would hustle curling matches. We start out with a challenge by some "cool babes". And here you see the band sheepishly accept the challenge, really setting up the hustle.

Hold tight wait till the party's over.
Hold tight we're in for nasty weather.
There has got to be a way.
Burning down the house.


PS - Here they're talking about nuclear winter and that there has to be a way to stop it.

OR...This is where the band is thinking to themselves. To really sell the hustle they need to keep it under wraps early and then unleash hell. Soon enough they'll unleash their scoring barrage and "burn down the house".

Here's your ticket pack your bag:time for jumpin' overboard.
The transportation is here.
Close enough but not to far, maybe you know where are
Fightin' fire with fire


PS - This is all about the A-bomb. They're talking about trading bombs with more bombs. Painting a dark picture.

OR...This is the turning point in the match, where we start to notice that they were hustling these poor bastards the whole time. Oh you got close to the button? But we have the hammer and we know now to use it.

All wet hey you might need a raincoat.
Shakedown dreams walking in broad daylight.
Three hun-dred six-ty five de-grees.
Burning down the house.


PS - The first line is referencing nuclear fallout. The second is talking about vaporizing people. And again the Burning down the house/nuclear war reference. You get it.

OR...Now they're running their mouths a bit about the game. Their play is so hot that it's going to melt the ice. Letting them know that they just got hustled. Curling for money, I love it.

It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself.
Gonna come in first place.
People on their way to work baby what did you expect.
Gonna burst into flame.


PS - Again talking about the arms race and reinforcing the idea that people are going to get vaporized.

OR...Now in a moment of reflect, they begin to talk about why they run the hustle.

My house is out of the ordinary.
That's might don't want to hurt nobody.
Some things sure can sweep me off my feet.
Burning down the house.


PS - They're saying that nuclear blasts are powerful and don't discriminate, everyone is going to burn.

OR...They're curling game isn't traditional but it's bad ass. And then a little tip of the hat to the sweepers. They're gonna tear up the house.

No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin yet.
Everything's stuck together.
I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set.
Fighting fire with fire.


PS - You've seen one bomb and that was nothing compared to what will happen if the two sides decide to unleash on each other. All it takes is a little fission to unleash hell. Pull your heads out of your asses, turn off the TV and do something about it.

OR...Oh yeah, you see all those rocks down there jamming up the house? Yeah the ones that are frozen to one another. What, did you think you could curl because you watched it on TV? Step up your game and give us a challenge. Still can't get over the fact that the Talking Heads had mad curling skills and back in the 80's. And they were hustlers. 

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