INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
College Music Journal AUGUST 21, 2008 - by Michael Tedder
BRIAN ENO AND DAVID BYRNE: EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY
In recent years, bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse and Vampire Weekend have taken copious inspiration from the Talking Head's polyglot combination of post-punk, stiff-funk, world-music and bookish awkwardness, and in doing so have helped make former head Head David Byrne a hero to a new generation of music fans. So it was very gracious of David to take time out of his busy schedule - writing operas, paling around with Paul Simon and designing NYC bicycle racks, power-point presentations and buildings that double as instruments - to team up with Brian Eno to make his most memorable and innovative music in years with their new album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
Together, Eno produced some of the Heads' most innovative and cherished albums, like Remain In Light, and the pair's first album-length collaboration My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts was a collagist work that predated the widespread use of sampling. So what's most impressive about the pair's new album, their first full-length pairing in almost thirty years, is that it is recognisably a work that would only come from the two of them together, yet it completely avoids regurgitating past triumphs.
This doesn't sound like the Talking Heads, but as would be expected from such an omnivorous pair, Everything touches on a little bit of everything. The title track recalls the epic balladry from Eno's old buddies U2; One Fine Day feels like a space-age gospel number; and I Feel My Stuff recalls old-school hip-hop to a level that would seem impossible from white men in the '50s.
The album was recorded with Eno e-mailing Byrne instrumentals for him to add words and melodies to. No matter what genre he touches on, Eno spices up his sounds with selections from his usual bag of tricks: digital drum loops, layered ambient sounds and oft-kilter rhythmic surges. For his part, Byrne, often accused of being too cold and ironic, sounds shockingly open-hearted and optimistic, especially on Strange Overtones, a musing on writing songs at his age - it references to out-of-date beats and grooves - that doubles as a moving parable for keeping one's ideals in the face of time's march. When Byrne sings of "a change is going to come / like Sam Cooke in '63" on the album's hopeful highlight, The River, it feels appropriate, a tip of the hat from one soul legend to another, doing their best to lift spirits during hard times.
TRACK-LISTING: Home / My Big Nurse / I Feel My Stuff / Everything That Happens / Life Is Long / The River / Strange Overtones / Wanted For Life / One Fine Day / Poor Boy / The Lighthouse