28 February 2005

this must be the place : talking heads

click here to listen.
listening time: 4m 57s

About two years ago I joined the Thorn Tree, Lonely Planet's travel forum, and became a semi-regular of the Culture Vultures branch. According to Lonely Planet, that branch was meant for members to "wax lyrical on the art of travel – film, books, art, music, architecture." I'm not sure that's been achieved, because most of what we talk about are elements of American and British pop culture. There's no doubt that they have a far-reaching influence across the globe, but they hardly embody the diversity of topics Lonely Planet probably envisioned for that branch.
That's not to say it isn't fun. A popular activity is posting surveys. If one day one member asks what's the best musical score in a movie, expect the next day to find a poll on the worst. It gets more mundane and repetitive, but still fun. One of the first polls I initiated was about the best travel song, one that captures the spirit of independent travel. Of all the replies I got, I think This Must Be The Place is the clear winner. (Not that I remember the other replies, but it clearly beats my candidate, One Place by Everything But The Girl.)

I don't know the exact story behind this song, or what David Byrne wrote it for, but it's clearly about commitment to a loved one, and Byrne expresses it sweetly. But regardless of the female pronoun and the reference to "those kinds of people" in the lyrics, the song can be about a traveler's romance with the road, abandoning material attachments in exchange for the freedom that you feel when you're on a journey on your own. I can wax lyrical about it, or I can just let the lyrics do the talking:
this must be the place
david byrne

home is where i want to be
pick me up and turn me 'round
i feel numb, burn with a weak heart
(so i) guess i must be having fun

the less we say about it the better
make it up as we go along
feet on the ground
head in the sky
it’s ok i know nothing’s wrong, nothing

hi-yo, i got plenty of time
hi-yo, you got light in your eyes
and you’re standing here beside me
i love the passing of time
never for money
always for love
cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

home is where i want to be
but i guess i’m already there
i come home, she lifted up her wings
guess that this must be the place

i can’t tell one from another
did i find you, or you find me?
there was a time before we were born
if someone asks, this where i’ll be, where i’ll be

hi-yo, we drift in and out
hi-yo, sing into my mouth
out of all those kinds of people
you got a face with a view
i’m just an animal looking for a home
share the same space for a minute or two

and you love me till my heart stops
love me till i’m dead
eyes that light up, eyes look through you
cover up the blank spots
hit me on the head
tell me your favorite travel song.

1 comment:

  1. wizni3.3.05

    its not exactly a travel song...but it makes me want to get throw much caution to the wind, pack up , withdraw all of my measly savings and just go...to europe particularly...haha, singing and humming always..."always take the weather with you..."