Schuppel’s Scoop: my favorite (love) song

Claire Schuppel, Arts & Life Editor

With just a few days away from Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect time of year to indulge in love-themed media. Personally, I will be playing on repeat what I believe is the greatest love song of all time: Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody).”

“This Must Be The Place” is the most important song I have come across. The first time I heard it, I was working at a local movie theater in 2019 that was showing “Stop Making Sense,” Jonathan Demme’s recording of a Talking Heads concert in 1983. I was granted permission to use some of my shift to go watch the movie. I walked into the theater around “Making Flippy Floppy,” and I was transfixed. The audience was full of Talking Heads fans dancing in their seats; the energy was electric. “This Must Be The Place” from the concert film has been my favorite version of my favorite song since then (not to mention my most played Spotify track of all time). 

While the song might mean a lot to me and at least a few others in the world, what did it mean to its writer, front man David Byrne? Byrne had recently met his future wife, fellow Lakewood native and costume designer Adelle Lutz. She has been rumored to be the muse of the track. As for instrumentals, the “(Naïve Melody)” part of the title comes from the fact that each band member picked up a different instrument for the song. The lyricism is where the song truly shines.

Byrne pictured in “Stop Making Sense” in his famous large suit. (Alamy Stock Photo)

The song’s focus is around its first sung word: home. Byrne is showing us the beauty of comfort that a significant other can bring into a shared life through his words. As mentioned on Songfacts, there is uncertainty that occurs throughout the song, with lines such as, “I feel numb, born with a weak heart / I guess I must be having fun.” He is moving along with the natural flow of a romance, pushing any hesitation behind him. There is no certainty with love, nor is there a formulaic way of going through the motions of it all; Byrne wants us to remember that.

Helplessness is another theme of the story being told in the near five-minute song. Byrne was writing about being saved and brought in by his love, with words like “I’m just an animal looking for a home and / Share the same space for a minute or two.” He feels looked after, especially when he before said “…she lifted up her wings / I guess that this must be the place.” The combination of hesitancy mentioned before and the need for a comforting home to go to makes these lyrics so perfect in encapsulating the whole feeling of the song. To elevate the feeling of comfort, Byrne dances with a warm floor lamp during the song in “Stop Making Sense,” which is a perfect symbol for what reminds us of home. 

The song having themes of comfort in love relates closely to the idea that relationships sometimes require dedication and sacrifices. This ties in perfectly with the history of St. Valentine, as he died a martyr and served those he cared about. The couple of “This Must Be The Place” is dedicated to one another—they have become one. He sings, “And you love me ‘til my heart stops / Love me ‘til I’m dead,” as their love and dedication spans a lifetime.

“This Must Be The Place” is a work of modern art that reflects the warmth of love. There is something so comforting about the famous synth riff at the beginning that replays throughout the song. The simplicity of the instrumentals, paired with such remarkable works, makes for a memorable song that transcends time.