CD David Byrne (CD 619108),
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1. Long Time Ago, A
4. Self-Made Man, A
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
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 45558
David Byrne; Susan Rogers; Arto Lindsay; David Byrne; Susan Rogers; Arto Lindsay
Personnel: David Byrne (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, Clavinet, synthesizer, balafon, bells, background vocals); David Byrne; Mitchell Froom (keyboards); Valerie Naranjo (marimba, drums, talking drum, shaker, tambourine, percussion); Paul Socolow (bass instrument, acoustic bass, upright bass, acoustic bass guitar, electric bass, background vocals); Mark Agostino (temple blocks); Dollette McDonald (background vocals); Arto Lindsay (guitar); Marcus Rojas (tuba); John Medeski (organ, Farfisa, synthesizer); Bill Ware (vibraphone, marimba); Todd Turkisher (drums, frame drum, surdo, percussion, sampler); Bashiri Johnson (congas, bongos, shaker, percussion, chimes); Sue Hadjopoulas (percussion); Bebel Gilberto (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Susan Rogers; Michael Brauer.
Recording information: Clinton Recording Studios, New York, NY (11/1993-12/1993).
Photographer: Jean Baptiste Mondino.
David Byrne's curiosity knows no bounds. As frontman and principal songwriter for the Talking Heads, Byrne's creative outreach encompassed the best aspects of new wave rock, rootsy funk and exploratory electronics. Together with the Heads and producer Brian Eno, Byrne brought African music and sounds from around the globe into common usage. And as leader of an all-star Latin big band, Byrne sought to reveal the mystery and majesty of Afro-Cuban music to a wider audience.
For DAVID BYRNE, the songwriter distills his pan-cultural focus into the kind of stripped-down musical stylings and enigmatic, quirky narratives that made his formative work with the Talking Heads so fascinating. From the ominous opening beats of "A Long Time Ago," the album reprises the singer's concerns with spiritual transformation and renewal in an increasingly hostile world. "I can barely touch my own self/how could I touch someone else?/I am just an advertisement/For a version of myself," he preaches on "Angels," a sort of end-of-the-west/Waiting For Godot epic.
Speaking more from the heart and less from the head than on previous recordings, songs like the hard-driving "Crash," the moody "A Self-Made Man" and the dancing "Back In The Box" explore themes of insecurity, self-pride and escapism respectively, while "My Love Is You" is one of the simplest, most tender love songs Byrne's ever penned. "You & Eye" is Byrne's humorous reply to his early Heads' song "Heaven," and portrays Hell as a necessary antecedent, over an infectious soukous groove. The concluding "Strange Ritual" and "Buck Naked" portray spirituality as both a potentiallly insular experience, and a child-like act of sharing and surrender. Byrne once told a writer, "I don't always know what I'm talking about, but I know if a word is wrong," and while the musical pleasures of DAVID BYRNE are instantly apparent, the depth of meaning accrues only over several listenings.
Rolling Stone (7/14/94, p.110) - 3.5 Stars - "...Amid an altogether first-rate record that's both raw and disciplined...those more direct songs strip away the catalog of eccentricities and circle behind the enigma to reveal the man, David Byrne..."
Spin (9/94, p.141) - Highly Recommended - "...No longer practicing cross-cultural cryogenics, Byrne simply dashes DAVID BYRNE with essence brought back from his musical travels..."
Entertainment Weekly (5/27/94, p.88) - "...this fourth solo album since the [Talking] Heads' demise is his most stripped-down effort in ages....It's nice to hear a gimmick-free Byrne, but bear in mind that straightforward songs from this guy are still fairly twisted by any reasonable standard..." - Rating: B+
Dirty Linen (12/94-1/95, p.69) - "...The former Talking Head is in fine form, sounding unusually desperate in his appealingly vulnerable way, imparting mega poetry (sometimes in a slithery sing-speak) that from other mouths would most certainly sound affected..."
Option (10/94, p.96) - "...this album gives a whole new musical framework to his persona. Lyrical themes are still skewed; a poetic look at an alternate universe in which love is never what it seems..."
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Luaka Bop/Warner Bros. 9362455582
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