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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2018 | Nonesuch

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At 65, David Byrne gets off his bike (his ultimate passion) to release his first solo album in fourteen years. Co-written with his old accomplice Brian Eno, with whom he began working with in the Talking Heads era, American Utopia is a patchwork which only Byrne has the secret to. Crossing genres, fusing continents and breaking down stylistic boundaries, the former Rhode Island School of Design student has always had this sort of thing in his blood. After doing punk funk, salsa, electro collage, records with people as diverse as Fatboy Slim and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), film music, ballet music and about a thousand other things, here he returns to a more classic song format.  Byrne returns to the essence of pop and his compositions are laced with electro, world or funk, often flirting with his old group's material. With his pen still sharp and quirky, David Byrne wants to believe that an America different to that of Donald Trump's is possible. Helped here and there by some "young people" like Sampha, TTY and Happa Isaiah Barr of Onyx Collective, he has released his most successful solo album for years. This is the work of contemporary pop icon that has taken the time to reflect on his career, his music and his relationship with the world in order to get himself back in the game. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 11, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res
At 65, David Byrne gets off his bike (his ultimate passion) to release his first solo album in fourteen years. Co-written with his old accomplice Brian Eno, with whom he began working with in the Talking Heads era, American Utopia is a patchwork which only Byrne has the secret to. Crossing genres, fusing continents and breaking down stylistic boundaries, the former Rhode Island School of Design student has always had this sort of thing in his blood. After doing punk funk, salsa, electro collage, records with people as diverse as Fatboy Slim and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), film music, ballet music and about a thousand other things, here he returns to a more classic song format.  Byrne returns to the essence of pop and his compositions are laced with electro, world or funk, often flirting with his old group's material. With his pen still sharp and quirky, David Byrne wants to believe that an America different to that of Donald Trump's is possible. Helped here and there by some "young people" like Sampha, TTY and Happa Isaiah Barr of Onyx Collective, he has released his most successful solo album for years. This is the work of contemporary pop icon that has taken the time to reflect on his career, his music and his relationship with the world in order to get himself back in the game. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 1989 | Warner Bros.

On his first full-fledged solo album, Byrne indulges his fascination with Latin and South American musical styles, employing a variety of native musicians but mixing up the sounds to suit his own distinctly non-purist vision and singing over the tracks the same kind of witty, oddball lyrics found on Talking Heads albums. (When released, the cassette version contained three more tracks than the LP.) ~ William Ruhlmann

Alternative & Indie - Released January 8, 2018 | Nonesuch

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Pop - Released June 13, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Virgin Records

It goes without saying that any David Byrne solo release will be all over the sonic map, and true to form, Look Into the Eyeball provides a pancultural stew of musical styles, exotic rhythms, and international guest stars. But what separates Eyeball from Byrne's previous offering, the only-fitfully successful Feelings, is a renewed emphasis on lush, natural sounds and consistent production. Nearly every track boasts strings and/or horns, and the textures go a long way in unifying Byrne's insistent genre-hopping. Tracks such as "Smile," "The Revolution," "The Accident," and "Everyone's in Love With You" best demonstrate his new approach: Spare melodies are layered atop subtle, percolating rhythms and then filled in with evocative string arrangements. Better yet, Byrne's two collaborations with legendary Philly soul producer Thom Bell -- the buoyant "Like Humans Do" and "Neighborhood" -- blend in effortlessly with the other material. Of course, old habits die hard: "U.B. Jesus" and "The Great Intoxication" are at once too slick and too simple, with muddled messages both musically and lyrically. (It doesn't help that the latter track features a cringe-inducing, self-referential "Who disco? Who techno? Who hip-hop? Who bebop?..." shout-out.) The remainder of the album vacillates between pleasant Talking Heads-ish pop ("Walk on Water") and accomplished if out-of-place forays into the Latin avant-garde ("Desconocido Soy"). It's hard to fault Byrne -- who produces an album every three or four years -- for packing as much as he can into one release. So it's best to view Look Into the Eyeball for what it is: an entertaining assimilation of the sundry artists and sounds he's gotten into since his last trip into the studio. ~ Michael Hastings
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 9, 1981 | Warner Bros.

Since the breakup of Talking Heads, David Byrne's solo work has been notoriously inconsistent. But before that band's dissolution, he made a couple of very fine albums on his own: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (with Brian Eno) and The Catherine Wheel, a musical score commissioned by Twyla Tharp to accompany her dance project of the same name. Byrne's score is always interesting and frequently brilliant; it draws on the instrumental talents of such session greats as drummer Yogi Horton, percussionist John Chernoff, guitarist Adrian Belew (who had been recording and touring as a sideman with Talking Heads), and, inevitably, Eno. Horton's drumming establishes a muscular funk foundation for much of the material, which also showcases Byrne's underrated guitar playing. Only the lyrics disappoint; they consist almost entirely of clichéd and predictable depictions of domestic suburban angst. Highlights of the program include "The Red House," with its eerie use of deconstructed vocal samples, and the lovely faux-juju "Ade." Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 15, 2004 | Nonesuch

David Byrne, like fellow New York transplant David Bowie, has reached a well-deserved apex in his career. After eight post-Talking Heads solo outings, the eccentric composer, songwriter, artist, and world music entrepreneur has transcended the inconsistencies of his previous efforts and created a genuinely moving and wickedly fun record. Like Bowie's Heathen and Reality, Grown Backwards is a mature work by an icon who has come to terms with his past, present, and future, and there's a joy in the simple act of creativity here that gives even the heaviest of subject matter an effervescent charm. Opening with "Glass, Concrete, and Stone," Byrne finds the perfect middle ground between his orchestral epic The Forest and the South American-inspired Rei Momo -- in fact, it's the latter that informs many of Backwards' arrangements. Texas-based chamber group the Tosca Strings feature on nearly every track, giving the more experimental cuts a much needed fluidity, especially on the arias Un Di Felice, Eterea, from Verdi's La Traviata, and Au Fond du Temple Saint, a duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. It's no great surprise that the shape-shifting Byrne has chosen opera as his latest foray, but what is surprising is that it works. The Bizet duet in particular, featuring Rufus Wainwright, is lent an emotional resonance by the juxtaposition of the pair's wildly different vocal styles -- when they finally meet in harmony it's like two Central Park bums behind Tavern on the Green, clinking their 40-ounce bottles and weeping into a dumpster beneath a sea of summer stars. The wonderfully acerbic "Empire," with its refrain of "The weak among us perish," is Byrne at his political best, emphasizing the "play" in wordplay like a sinister Paul Simon. While by no means a protest record, it bristles with liberal wit and social commentary, especially on the Broadway-style "The Other Side of This Life," a hilarious and scathing jab at the entertainment empires and their minions. "Tiny Apocalypse" finds Byrne at his surreal best, nearly rapping the lyrics "A three-tone carpet and a Jackie Chan spear/lookin' at a hairdo and a bellyful of beer/well, I ain't no poet, ain't got no rhyme/but I got me a car and I know how to drive" over an easy Tropicalia groove. As with many of the prolific artist's releases, the record could be trimmed by five or six songs, but fans have grown accustomed to these aberrations -- which are still of higher quality that many in the industry -- and are willing to either let them go or let them grow. While by no means perfect, Grown Backwards is the colorful, multiethnic sound of a New York City enthralled with itself, and like a select few of the Big Apple's denizens, Byrne is a perfect conduit for its love. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Pop - Released June 13, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Attempting to inject some adventure into his multicultural, worldbeat-inflected avant-pop, David Byrne dabbled with trip-hop and drum'n'bass on Feelings. These tracks, including a collaboration with Morcheeba, are essentially window dressing, a way to distract attention from Byrne's lack of new ideas. The songs that work best on Feelings, like "Miss America," are reminiscent of the percolating, Latin-tinged Rei Momo; when Byrne tries to sound contemporary, he simply seems out of touch. Still, Feelings is stronger and more adventurous than David Byrne, even if it never quite fulfills its ambitions. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 28, 1992 | Warner Bros.

Uh-Oh was only David Byrne's second pop-oriented solo album and his first to be released after the formal end of Talking Heads. Though informed by his various investigations into world music, the album was a natural successor to the Talking Heads records, relying on involved percussion tracks topped by Byrne's quirky singing and lyrics. By this point, disaffected fans may have grown accustomed to the idea that a David Byrne solo album could contain anything from an extended flirtation with Latin styles (Rei Momo) to an eclectic instrumental score (The Forest), to name only his most recent solo projects. Maybe Byrne and his record label failed to get out the message that he was back to making Heads-style pop/rock (he didn't organize a tour until the album had come and gone on the charts), but Uh-Oh never reached its potential audience. Talking Heads fans should give it a listen. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 11, 2018 | Nonesuch

At 65, David Byrne gets off his bike (his ultimate passion) to release his first solo album in fourteen years. Co-written with his old accomplice Brian Eno, with whom he began working with in the Talking Heads era, American Utopia is a patchwork which only Byrne has the secret to. Crossing genres, fusing continents and breaking down stylistic boundaries, the former Rhode Island School of Design student has always had this sort of thing in his blood. After doing punk funk, salsa, electro collage, records with people as diverse as Fatboy Slim and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), film music, ballet music and about a thousand other things, here he returns to a more classic song format.  Byrne returns to the essence of pop and his compositions are laced with electro, world or funk, often flirting with his old group's material. With his pen still sharp and quirky, David Byrne wants to believe that an America different to that of Donald Trump's is possible. Helped here and there by some "young people" like Sampha, TTY and Happa Isaiah Barr of Onyx Collective, he has released his most successful solo album for years. This is the work of contemporary pop icon that has taken the time to reflect on his career, his music and his relationship with the world in order to get himself back in the game. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Pop - Released February 22, 2010 | Nonesuch

Booklet
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2018 | Nonesuch

Booklet
At 65, David Byrne gets off his bike (his ultimate passion) to release his first solo album in fourteen years. Co-written with his old accomplice Brian Eno, with whom he began working with in the Talking Heads era, American Utopia is a patchwork which only Byrne has the secret to. Crossing genres, fusing continents and breaking down stylistic boundaries, the former Rhode Island School of Design student has always had this sort of thing in his blood. After doing punk funk, salsa, electro collage, records with people as diverse as Fatboy Slim and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), film music, ballet music and about a thousand other things, here he returns to a more classic song format.  Byrne returns to the essence of pop and his compositions are laced with electro, world or funk, often flirting with his old group's material. With his pen still sharp and quirky, David Byrne wants to believe that an America different to that of Donald Trump's is possible. Helped here and there by some "young people" like Sampha, TTY and Happa Isaiah Barr of Onyx Collective, he has released his most successful solo album for years. This is the work of contemporary pop icon that has taken the time to reflect on his career, his music and his relationship with the world in order to get himself back in the game. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2007 | Nonesuch

For David Byrne, this was one of the last times he would write in the hyperobjective style that marked his work with Talking Heads up through Remain in Light and some of Speaking in Tongues. The occasion, the chance to write interludes -- or "knee plays" -- for a large scale Robert Wilson opera, The Civil Wars, called on this kind of approach, Wilson being as detached as Byrne. Musically, Byrne was strangely influenced by hearing the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and created these brass-led marches that sound like an art school has landed on Bourbon Street, though in places it is also reminiscent of a sunnier patch of the territory staked out in The Catherine Wheel, his other dance score. In the mix, Byrne stirs in some traditional gospel tunes, arranged to match the iconoclastic style. Byrne's words, performed in his dry, ever-so-slightly amused style, are acutely observed and/or humorously naïve slices of American life -- anthropological tomfoolery. The wry aphorism-led "In the Future" ("In the future, water will be expensive"; "In the future, we will not have time for leisure activities") is the album highlight, and a perfect end to this experiment. [Nonesuch issued The Knee Plays on CD for the first time in 2007, adding eight bonus tracks to the original release.] ~ Ted Mills

Alternative & Indie - Released February 16, 2018 | Nonesuch

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 11, 1991 | Warner Bros.

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