Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads
Once In A Lifetime Image

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: This 3-disc attractively-packaged retrospective on the groundbreaking New York band includes completely remastered tracks from each of their studio LPs as well as the same previously-unreleased-on-CD demos and new tracks included on the earlier 2-disc Sand In the Vaseline complilation. Also included are never-before-released alternate versions of five songs. The set also contains a DVD with an updated version of the Talking Heads music video compilation Storytelling Giant, with three additional videos not found on the original VHS release. Expand
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. This collection is laced with a compelling sense of psychosis. [Dec 2003, p.156]
  5. 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]
  6. The first two discs rock with transcendent grace, but stumble on disc three, in part because their last studio albums were uneven.
  7. 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.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. AshleyMonday
    Mar 7, 2005
    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. Expand
  2. JayS
    Jun 13, 2005
    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. Collapse
  3. Mar 1, 2013
    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. 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. Expand