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The Sunday Digest 050
This must be the place.
Welcome to The Sunday Digest — a free Sunday newsletter featuring long (and some short) reads, original columns, things I’ve saved over the last week, relaxing playlists, episodes releases, exclusive product drops, and more. Yes, you can reply to this email. I’d love to hear from you. Or, if podcasts are more your speed on Sundays, we’ve got that too.
This month’s listener questions on The Sunday Scaries Podcast include small things that make you feel luxurious, noise-cancelling headphones, international flight necessities, some Succession talk, top-five cocktail hour passed apps or hors d'oeuvres, drastic lifestyle changes, celebrities re-posting Sunday Scaries, kickstarting my mornings, and so much more.
by James Kaplan for Esquire (January 1986)
If you’ve been to a group dinner with me lately, you know one thing: I recently bought a turntable and have temporarily made it my entire personality. While this was never the plan, I do think it makes sense for me to go down this path considering other paths I’ve gone down in the past.
One of the major reasons I wanted to get one? To listen to my “Spotify Most Played Songs from 2022” on vinyl — Grateful Dead, Poolside, Taylor Swift, and yes, Talking Heads.
And while dipping into the past by collecting vinyls, I thought I’d make this week’s Sunday Read something of a tribute to that mentality with a column from January 1986 about David Byrne. Here’s an excerpt:
By 1978, Byrne had met the British musical genius Brian Eno, and now Talking Heads had a new producer. The raw, stripped-down East Village sound began to go. By their third album together, Remain in Light, the band’s music had been completely transformed. There were horns, electronic sounds, African polyrhythms: a complex texture that moved the band in one huge leap from Manhattan quirkiness to a kind of World Sound. Songs like “Houses in Motion,” “The Great Curve,” and “Seen and Not Seen” were at once highly listenable, technically lush, lyrically powerful, and urgently advanced. But one song stood even higher than the rest. It was beautiful, funny, and hauntingly infectious. It was more than compelling: it had the anthemlike quality, the humor, and the memorability of a major hit. The group chose to make it into their first video. It was the song I had heard on the radio, “Once in a Lifetime.”
The first time most Americans saw Byrne was in this video, which came out in 1981. It was something of a shock as videos go: no thighs, no spike heels, no lingerie, no car chases—it was mostly just this ecstatic, sweaty, disquietingly skinny guy with slicked-back black hair and black horn-rimmed glasses and a dark business suit, flopping, jerking, twitching, and swimming against a background of fake flowing water. What was the video about? Well, water flowing, for one thing—but mainly it was about David Byrne. He looked odd ... spastic, somehow. He kept smacking himself on the forehead with his palm, snapping his head back. Okay, what was wrong with the guy? Some people got the mistaken impression from this video that Byrne was, or was trying to pass as, some sort of Super Nerd, but these were only people who believed in this kind of category to begin with, people who confused the singer with the song. These were people who were behind the times. In fact, it took incredible grace and control and originality to move the way Byrne did. It also took incredible grace and control and originality to create a video this dreamlike, this powerful. What Byrne was up to in 1981 was establishing a standard that we are only now beginning to appreciate.
Read in full here.
The Sunday Haiku: I’m Flipping My Phone Over Because I Don’t Want To Talk To Anyone
Jazz, ice water, fan,
Window cracked, light rain, she’s there,
Perfect Panic Room.