The composition of most love songs usually consist of a passionate, heart-wrenching tune wailed from a man or woman to their significant other, professing their feelings to another. The Talking Head’s, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” is a narrative sung by David Byrne singing an almost melancholic, yet starry-eyed tune to share with his audience his journey of meeting his significant other. Figurative examples, metaphors, symbolism, slight repetition and characterization are all used to express Byrnes journey of his first romance. Natural emotions such as desire, naivety, and passion, allow the audience to reflect on their own experiences of all-encompassing love, and set a theme to the entire song.
The first emotion triggered is desire. The song begins with Byrne stating: “Home is where I want to be/Pick me up and turn me around,” (line 1-2) which initially present longing. Generally, humans and animals across Earth all find that having a dwelling is significant because it is a sacred place offering security and safety. Byrne is asking for guidance towards the right direction to his home. You will see Byrne uses a bit of parallel structure to repeat his message throughout the song: in line 1 (used above), “Home is where I want to be/But I guess I’m already there/I come home, she lifted up her wings” (line 15-17) and “I’m just an animal looking for a home,” (line 27). He wants to feel like he belongs somewhere, and being a generally gregarious species, we can hear a theme, identify with these feelings and empathize with Byrne.
The parenthetical phrase in the title, (Naive Melody), allows us to reflect on naivety. The I guess at first sounds melancholic and doubtful, but the more it’s repeated, the more it sounds like a risk- a young, unexperienced, naive heart that is unfamiliar with love. The I guess can be a metaphor to shrug. “I guess I must be having fun,” (line 4) sounds like the speaker is enjoying life and having a good time, but he is unaware or inexperienced with the idea of romantic love. This is a very easy metaphor for the audience to relate to since many of us shrug our shoulders in times of uncertainty and doubtfulness. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, “Home is where I want to be/But I guess I’m already there,” (line 15-16), reinforces his desire to feel secure and belong somewhere; but due to his naive heart, the guess still lingers in his mind (possibly he has found his home). To him, his significant other feels safe and he thinks he belongs here, but is still unsure.
Let’s look at how Byrne uses the word wings (line 17) to make a comparison between the relationship he has with his lover to that of a provider. The figurative use of wings let’s us think of animal imprinting(one of the first behavioral instincts a child and mother form). With birds, a mother may open up her wings to her offspring, allowing them to witness their first gesture of acceptance and safety, thus giving them their first impression of unconditional love, acceptance, and support. He repeats another animalistic reference by comparing himself to, “I’m just [an] animal looking for a home,” (line 27), reinforcing our theme. The use of characterization is very important in this song because it allows us to reflect on natural traits we witnessed from our caretakers or providers-similar to imprinting.
Another emotion provoked is passion. “Oh! You got light in your eyes/And you're standing here beside me/I love the passing of time,” (line 10-12) and “Oh! Sing into my mouth,” (line 24) tells us that Byrnes sees his lovers eyes beaming with radiance and that he loves spending time by her side, symbolizing how his emotions feel consumed or intoxicated. Both of these lines explain to the audience how Byne views his lover. The song finishes with Byrne proclaiming: “And you love me till my heart stops/Love me till I'm dead,” (line 29-30). He is heartfelt and genuine, and seeks to be with his lover until the end of his days. This characterization is important because we understand the complexity, seriousness, and genuineness of their relationship.
Love is such a complex topic, but true love, parental or romantic, is all-encompassing at best. Byrne illustrates his experiences by emphasizing desire, naivety, and passion; all natural emotions that allow us to reflect. David Byrne singing, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads uses figurative examples, metaphors to make his song relatable; and symbolism, repetition and characterization to make set the theme to tell the full circle journey of a young heart finding its one true love.