Music

Talking Heads’ ‘This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)’: Who Covered It Best?

We all know the original's the best, but who else gets it right: The Lumineers, Arcade Fire, Kyp Malone, Kishi Bashi or Miles Fisher?
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No matter how you feel about the Talking Heads, you can’t deny the beauty of their sweet, sad love song “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” off 1983′s Speaking In Tongues. You just can’t.

On the DVD of the band’s concert film, Stop Making Sense, David Byrne describes the song as “a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don’t have any narrative qualities.”

“It’s a real honest kind of love song. I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before,” he said. “Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.”

Most people would agree that he succeeded with “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).” It’s not the band’s biggest hit; that honor goes to “Burning Down The House.” But as the New Yorker pointed out in 2012, it’s the Talking Heads song you hear most consistently. It’s played in bars, where it’s awkwardly danced to. It’s featured in movies, specifically ones starring Ryan Gosling–2007′s Lars and the Real Girl and 2011′s Crazy, Stupid, Love. It’s even the title of a Sean Penn film nobody saw, which also features original music from David Byrne. Most of all, it’s been covered many, many times, by everyone from MGMT (who didn’t do so great) to “Sunny Came Home” singer Shawn Colvin.

The most recent artist to take on the track is The Lumineers, who put their own folky spin on the song for the forthcoming deluxe edition of their album. It got us here at Radio.com wondering: Out of all those who have covered “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” who among them actually made it their own, while still honoring the song?

We focused in on four covers of “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” and rated them on a scale of 1-10. We judged how original the cover is and also how well the artist executed the cover. (Meaning, that a cover might be an inventive take on a classic but when it’s all said and done, do you actually want to listen to it anywhere near as much as the original?) Then we chose a winner based on the scores. Feel free to disagree with us in the poll below.

THE LUMINEERS

Why? The band’s been covering it (along with other classics like “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac, “The Weight” by The Band,“Boots of Spanish Leather” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan) in concert for the last year, but a studio version is included on the deluxe edition of the band’s 2012 debut, out Aug. 20. 

The band keeps things mellow with a very ho-hum rendition that is comprised mostly of an acoustic guitar. This softer take on the song makes it kind of boring.

Originality: 6
Execution: 6
Total: 12

Listen to Arcade Fire’s and three other band’s cover it Radio.com. See who covered it best.

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