David Byrne’s New Single Is, Unsurprisingly, Quirky And Fascinating

Like most Rock Legends, David Byrne’s latter-day work suffers in comparison to his salad days, which in Byrne’s case was leading the explosive innovations of the Talking Heads in the Seventies and Eighties. But that doesn’t mean this quirky genius has been any less innovative since then, and one could even argue his post-Heads career is richer and fuller in a lot of ways.

He is a genuine renaissance man. He’s created at least 12 solo studio albums, a few soundtracks, and many art installations. He has written the best practical guide to the music business I have ever seen, and is constantly getting involved with workshops, causes and musical collaborations. His 2012 collabo with St. Vincent is one of the musical highlights of the decade so far. He curates a great playlist on his website every month, and in 2008 he even helped New York City design new public bike racks. He’s like the new Da Vinci, but quirkier.

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Among his solo musical highlights I really liked his 2001 album Look Into The Eyeball because it’s as whimsical and light and funny as he ever got. His 2008 collaboration with the Talking Heads’ original producer Brian Eno, called Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, also stands out as an excellent piece of work, two geniuses for the price of one still finding ways to combine instruments in new ways.

So Byrne has a new album coming out next month called American Utopia, and from it he’s dropped a new single called “This Is That”, and it’s not that surprising that it’s another challenging and fascinating little number. The track begins with avant-garde electronic rhythms, but it slowly morphs into a softer, ethereal reflection on the power of moments in time. You’ll get it a lot better if you give it a second listen. This guy never ceases to amaze.


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