Jesse Jarnow

david byrne & brian eno’s everything that happens will happen today (greatest misses #8)

“My Big Nurse” – David Byrne and Brian Eno (download) (buy)

This was supposed to have run this month, but it somehow disappeared in my editor’s inbox.

DAVID BYRNE and BRIAN ENO
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
(self-released)

We’ve been living in David Byrne and Brian Eno’s world for so long that their rekindled relationship–28 years dormant before the new Everything That Happens Will Happen Today–shouldn’t be too surprising. But, being their world–their ideas about rhythm and aesthetics formed in the crucible of the late ’70s Talking Heads, and now well-institutionalized by indie-punx, hippies, and pop fascists alike–it’s all a bit less shocking this go-round. Indeed, the two aren’t overly ambitious, either, the simple changes of “Wanted For Life” and “Strange Overtones” recalling the twang-enhanced Heads of True Stories. (“These beats are 20 years old,” Byrne admits on the latter tune.)

Written as a cross-Atlantic collaboration behind the concept of “electronic gospel”–Eno on backing tracks, Byrne on vocals–the producer’s work truly improves in higher resolution than mp3s allow, worn synth swells blossoming into holographic depth. Regardless, the two succeed best at being graceful, including the lullaby-like title track and the C&W sunset gallop of “My Big Nurse.” “A million kinds of possibilities for dancing on this lazy afternoon,” Byrne sings before a right lovely organ figure trickles by, an ethereal burst of vintage Eno, as recognizable as a Frippertronic guitar cloud on Another Green World.

It is not a perfect union. When the music slips uptempo, such as “I Feel My Stuff,” one can almost hear quotation marks appearing around the grooves–the implications of music to dance to, rather than the act itself. But, concepts be damned, Byrne himself is in marvelous form, lyrically and vocally, having evolved into a powerful singer in his post-Heads years. The future is here. And it sounds remarkably like music.

1 Comment

  1. Jon says: - reply

    Saw Byrne last week in Milwaukee and was floored by how incredible of a perfomer he still is (especially vocally, as you mention). Although some of Eno’s contributions are lost in the live setting, you can still feel their influence.