Song of the Day: Talking Heads – The Good Thing

Jordan Posner Recalls: I have trouble sleeping at night sometimes because I can’t decide which Talking Heads album is my favorite. It’s a real problem. I’ve definitely narrowed it down to More Songs About Buildings and Food and Fear of Music. Both are flawless, but Buildings and Food is definitely funnier, so let’s talk about that one today. In a virtual soup of great tracks, “The Good Thing” rises to the top as the funniest and most biting. The lyrics read like the diary of a robot who is discovering religion. In one sense, it’s a parody of the single-minded and stubborn doctrine of various faiths. In another, it covers even more ground and targets anyone who thinks their way is the only way, religious or not. That hits me a little closer to home, so let’s say “The Good Thing” is exclusively about religion.

Keeping the titular “thing” as abstract as possible is David Byrne’s way of pointing out the arbitrary nature of both the promises of religion and this reward-based system that humankind has devised. A statistically significant number of people who attend religious services do so because they believe it will lead to a reward. Whether this “reward” is eternal bliss or a Red Lobster Gift Card depends on your god, I suppose.

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Everybody has their “Good Thing,” that end that we pursue with absolute trust. For me, it’s winning the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for online rock journalism (The award-winning piece will be called “America’s Next Top Fart”). I will stop at nothing to achieve this goal, no matter how many orphans I have to tease.

What’s yours?

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