Monday, June 18, 2018

This must be the place

When we were in Torino's cinema museum last week, one of the musical films which were shown was David Byrne singing "This must be the place", as part of the soundtrack of the eponymous film. I was extremely taken by this infectious piece, staying on my couch until I saw it a few times. I even filmed it on my video camera before I realised that the clip would almost certainly be on YouTube. Indeed it is.

Looking past the music, there are some somewhat strange moments in the clip. What is the beginning supposed to be (the woman at the pool side)? I like how, at about 3:20, everybody lowers themselves then returns to a standing position; I like the little dance steps of the female backing singer at around 2:25. What I don't understand is the distribution of parts between the violinists; the third to Byrne's left seems to have little to play, whereas the violinist to her right is playing almost all the way through.

Once I discovered this version, I quickly discovered that there are many other versions available. Three are by Byrne - the original with Talking Heads, an interesting version on Jools Holland and a very recent (29 April 2018) but not too interesting version in which the choreography seems to be more important than the song. There is an article about this tour on the Guardian.

Of all the other versions, the most interesting seems to be by the (badly named) Ham Sandwich, a version which at least tries to differentiate itself from the original. There's also a swing version which I didn't like that much.

Looking back on my interest in the song, I note that it is almost played with one chord; generally I don't go for such minimalism. Also - so many people have recorded covers of a song of which I was totally unaware of until a week ago.

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