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Artist: Talking Heads
Album: Remain in Light
Writers: David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison, Brian Eno, Chris Frantz
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was….
You may find yourself wondering what that catchy but weird song is called where the guy says same as it ever was over and over. Then again, you may find yourself behind the wheel of an exceedingly small automobile but you probably wouldn’t Google that. The song in question is actually called Once in a Lifetime and that goofy song is by the Talking Heads.
As weird and goofy as it is, it’s one often thought of as one of the most influential songs in the history of popular music. In 2000, National Public Radio called it one of the top 100 most important American musical works of the twentieth century. It’s been on many other similar lists.
You may ask yourself why? Well, because despite it’s tongue-n-cheek nature, it has a message that most of us take half our lives to recognize. As songwriter David Byrnes explains: “We’re largely unconscious. We operate half-awake, on autopilot. And we end up with a house and family and a job and we never stop and ask how did we get here.”
It’s the same as it ever was. We let life flow by us like ‘water flowing underground’ not realizing that each and every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
That’s all fine and well but the real power of the song is that it’s damn infectious. It was also ahead of its time. It was a minor hit in the U.K. at the time of its release, in 1981, and didn’t make the U.S. charts. In 1986, after being a big MTV hit and enjoying some American airplay, it went to no. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. Burning Down the House, in 1983, had been a much bigger hit, as well as Take Me to the River, in 1979.