David Byrne


David Byrne

David Byrne - David Byrne ©1994 Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.
1. A Long Time Ago
2. Angels
3. Crash
4. A Self-made Man
5. Back In The Box
6. Sad Song
7. Nothing At All
8. My Love Is You
9. Lilies Of The Valley
10. You & Eye
11. Strange Ritual
12. Buck Naked

I've always gotten the impression that David Byrne has always been on a mission to capture a musical vibe that is always hanging just beyond his reach. Aside from quite a few excellent moments with the Talking Heads, there was often a feeling that he approached his music too cerebrally instead of simply letting his heart dictate the music. On his self-titled 1994 album this is all too evident. Superficially this is a good record that has a bit more of a minimalistic feel about it. The recording allows the instruments all to dwell within a fairy large space of the album, especially the percussion (which is stellar throughout). The songs come across as if David made a conscious effort to be simple and with as little decoration as possible. Unfortunately that may have also been the album's downfall as the songs just come across stiff and lacking the honest humble nature that marked the Talking Heads' less ambitious works. Yes, a lot of the songs here are really good. "You & Eye" is a lighthearted, innocent number that works exceptionally well. But elsewhere David sounds too conscious of his own status in the musical world and the previously mentioned stiffness explodes. "Lilies in the Valley", "A Self-Made Man" and "Buck Naked" strive to be simple but try too hard. Perhaps the way I view this album is how one might perceive a warm spring day. An analytical person might note the weather patterns, jet stream, how the sun's position in the sky helps the grass grow. That is how David Byrne is seemingly viewing his music. Meanwhile, this sort of music needs a more holistic, unfettered approach. On that same spring day, one should be simply enjoying the tickle of the grass on bare feet, the gentle breeze ruffling your hair and the clouds forming intricate shapes in the sky. Either approach will give you an appreciation of that same day, but I suggest that David try the latter approach to make this music work in the way he intends.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2000

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