At this point there’s no debating that David Byrne is a musical icon and the fact that American Utopia is his first solo project in almost 14 years is reason enough for me to give it a listen. Most artists his age and with his track record might rest on their laurels and take the “easy” route of paying fan service with approximations of past music – but not David. He’s always been pleasantly weird and experimental and he once again tries to push the musical envelope. What results from that sincere push is at best, a mess however. It’s a mash up of different sounds and influences that, when it works, can be refreshing and exhilarating, but those moments are far too often undercut by clunky breakdowns and unnecessary introductions of new elements. But the worst part is that while I can see what he was going for, the message of his songs often falls flat due to some, for lack of a better word, corny wordplay. Much like St. Vincent’s Masseduction, American Utopia tries to tackle American society and culture in an almost avant garde way but where that album felt sharp and playfully insightful, this one feels clunky.
Sonically and melodically The Wombat's latest album is a beautiful record who's bubbling upbeatness is infectious which creates an interesting dynamic between it's content full of heartbreak and a bad love. This may not be one of the deepest nor thought provoking rock albums I've heard in recent memory but it's certainly one of the most enjoyable. And sometimes that's what it's all about.
U2 have clearly had their ears to the 'streets' and have found inspiration from a number of different sources. The fact that they were able to lean on all of these influences without it sounding contrived is maybe their greatest accomplishment. And as someone who's not a die hard U2 fan, I thoroughly enjoyed their modern sound - it felt relevant yet still very much true to who U2 are. Songs of Experience feels like a true return to form for the legendary band and a worthy (and voluntary) addition to my music library.
On it's surface, MASSEDUCTION sounds like a straight up pop album but once you dig a little deeper you'll find something much more delightfully deep and subversive. Everything about MASSEDUCTION feels effortless and I couldn't help but get strong Bowie vibes from her, from everything from the music to the project's aesthetics, and I can't think of any higher praise to give someone who's so clearly all about the true 'art' of music.
“We’re only tourists in this life Only tourists but the view is nice And we’re never gonna go back home No we’re never gonna go back home (all right)”
Have you heard American Utopia? What’d you think about it? What’d you think about Byrne’s experimental approach to the music? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
David Byrne – American Utopia Reaction
David Byrne has always been pleasantly weird and experimental and he once again tries to push the musical envelope. What results from that sincere push is at best, a mess however. It's a mash up of different sounds and influences that, when it works, can be refreshing and exhilarating, but those moments are far too often undercut by clunky breakdowns and unnecessary introductions of new elements.