“I wrote the words later for the opening scene of Wim Wenders’Until the End of the World. The movie is supposed to take place in the year 2000, so I spent a lot of time trying to image music of the near future: post-rock sludge with lyrics sponsored by Coke and Pepsi? Music created by machines with human shouts of agony and betrayal thrown in? Faux Appalachian ballads, the anti-tech wave? The same sounds and licks from the 60s and 70s regurgitated yet again by a new generation of samplers? The Milli Vanilli revival? Rappin’ politicos… sell your soul to the beat, y’all? Well, it was daunting… so I figured, hell with it, I’d imagine Talking Heads doing a reunion LP in the year 2000, and them sounding just like they used to.”
— David Byrne on Sax and Violins
Sax and Violins was one of Talking Heads’s final hits before the band broke up in 1991. It was also one of their final videos and it seems appropriate that the song sounds like both a warning and a celebration. Whenever I hear “Mom and Pop, they will fuck you up,” I wonder if that was a description of the band’s inner dynamic, which had become Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz vs David Byrne by the time of the time of the band’s break-up.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the video is all David Byne, with the band’s lead singer singing the song with his trademark look of detachment on his face.