Today I attempt the impossible, I will explain the complex meaning behind the classic hit “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads. Now these guys did a lot of drugs way back when, and by a lot, I mean enough to take down a full grown african elephant. Because of all this illegal activity, their lyrics are…illogical. But I’ve never let logic or reason hold me back from achieving my goals. So let’s head back to the 80’s for the number 91 song of 1985.
If you don’t believe me that this song is weird just watch the music video:
I’ve seen this video dozens of times, and I’m still not sure what the frack is going on. At certain points it looks like David Byrnes is getting beat up by an invisible person, having a seizure, and doing calisthenics. This video is either some kind of practical joke, or it was made by someone who just discovered green screen, or maybe both. I’d hate to make a habit of relying on Wikipedia, but it actually states that he based some of his movements on those of people who suffer from epilepsy, so I’m not crazy.
Wikipedia says that this song has something to do with a mid-life crisis. Well yet again Wikipedia is spewing blasphemy. No this song is deceptively simple. Way back when David Byrnes was trying to come up with some lyrics for a new song. He couldn’t think of anything, so he got super high and started walking around town, writing down all his thoughts, and a song was born. Look at this line, “Into the blue again/after the money’s gone.” oh why’s the money gone? Maybe because you spent it all on drugs. Later Byrne asks “You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?/You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?/You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?” Notice how he asks, “what is that beautiful house?” That is purely nonsensical. In fact none of the question words really work, expect for maybe how and where. Also note how he never completes a thought, he asks a question, then immediately ask another one without even trying to answer the first one. He’s like a small child constantly being distracted by everything they see, “what’s that, what’s this, what’s there?” Shut up already, you won’t even let me answer! So either David Byrnes is 5 or, more likely, he’s very high.
Continuing on, Byrnes asks, “You may ask yourself, how do I work this?/You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?/You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house/You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife.” First off, notice the wierd and discontiguous thought patterns, none of those things are related, except for the last two. Secondly, forgetfulness is a very common symptom of marijuana, the guy is probably just too high to remember how to use a can-opener. Lastly, only someone who is stoned out of their mind, and Raihan (AKA Big Sneezy), can walk into the wrong house, and Raihan did not write this song.