Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    Marred only by incredibly pompous liner notes and a lack of worthy rarities. [#23, p.122]
  2. Avoid the last disc, groove on the first two, and ruminate on the strange beauty of this sui generis body of work.
  3. If Once in a Lifetime does run out of steam toward the end, it has to be said that it doesn't outstay its welcome, and apart from a track or two at the very end, this is a compelling, entertaining listen from start to finish.
  4. 80
    At a time when all things punky or funky with an NY zip code are the peak of chic, Talking Heads ought to be lauded as authentic pioneers. [Jan 2004, p.118]
  5. 80
    These are songs to admire rather than lose oneself in. [Jan 2004, p.116]
  6. Even the vague pointlessness that hangs over this product (some interesting rarities – aside from the not-very-different 'alternate takes' of a few tracks included here – wouldn't have gone amiss) can't detract from the incredible music contained in the first two CDs.
  7. This collection is laced with a compelling sense of psychosis. [Dec 2003, p.156]
  8. The first two discs rock with transcendent grace, but stumble on disc three, in part because their last studio albums were uneven.
  9. Once in a Lifetime shies away from the Talking Heads’ life force. It presents them as winking ironists, not the true black-music believers that they were.
  10. Not that they didn't crank out a generous dollop of highlights - I Zimbra, Life During Wartime, Heaven, And She Was et al - but stuff from the debut album now sounds irritatingly thin and scratchy, while material from their last couple of albums, True Stories and Naked, is the sound of a band reaching the end of its tether.
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 1, 2013
    8
    I always feel like I should be a bigger fan of this band than I actually am. They are one of these bands that are really cool to be into. II always feel like I should be a bigger fan of this band than I actually am. They are one of these bands that are really cool to be into. I like them but I'm certainly not in love. This compilation has absolutely everything you'll want from Talking Heads and possibly more besides. 3 discs is probably a bit much if your looking for an introduction. For me this completes my Talking Heads collection alongside The Name of this band is Talking Heads. Full Review »
  2. JayS
    Jun 13, 2005
    8
    The music is top-notch - even the third CD, the weakest, is catchy and enjoyable, if not as memorable - but this is a seriously flawed The music is top-notch - even the third CD, the weakest, is catchy and enjoyable, if not as memorable - but this is a seriously flawed collection. There's only a few rarities, none of which are essential or all that interesting. Some diss the packaging as unwieldy and pretentious, but I kind of like it - it's perverse and amusing. The liner notes could've been a lot better, and in terms of sound, you get more compression and a sharp, bright EQ boost. The fourth disc, a DVD, is actually pretty cool - their videos were pretty funny and inventive, and the presentation (interviews with anonymous people act as interesting segues) is cool. But, it's not worth buying just for one DVD. The two-disc SAND IN THE VASELINE is a cheaper and more concise compilation, and if you're looking for a good 'best of' or an introduction, it's much better than this box set. If you want more, get the albums, and let's hope Rhino releases the DVD separately. Full Review »
  3. AshleyMonday
    Mar 7, 2005
    8
    Very attractively packaged, but it falls short much like "Sand in the Vaseline". It has the same problems including no real rarities, very Very attractively packaged, but it falls short much like "Sand in the Vaseline". It has the same problems including no real rarities, very few album tracks, and the liner notes here are atrocious. The only thing that saves it is the genius of the Talking Heads pop hits. Full Review »