Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best Records of 2008 - David Byrne and Brian Eno "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today"

David Byrne and Brian Eno's "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" is the lead horse in my best of the year list right now.

I can't say enough about this record. Byrne and Eno are an intimidating force. They're much smarter than everyone (a fact made plain in a great quote from former Talking Heads bassist Tina Wymouth. When asked about the friends, she derogatorily said - and this is paraphrased - when they're old they will be each other's only friend because no one else is smart enough) and their music is sometimes very inaccessible.

Some adore their first non-Talking Heads collaboration, 1981's "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", but I've always found it sort of cold. There are stellar moments, but as a whole I don't revisit it much. The complete opposite is true of "Everything That Happens..." It's warm, inviting and instantly accessible. It's Byrne and Eno inviting everybody to the party rather than having a selective guest list.

In "Bush of Ghosts" Byrne and Eno used found sounds and basically cut and pasted them together in an experiment that pre-dated electronica. The new record relies on actual music and melody - it would sound right at home next to Eno's work with Byrne's Talking Heads.

This is a really good thing. "Everything That Happens..." is a positive, dare I say, pop record with themes of wonder. Byrne's vocals have never been better and the lyrics evoke a childhood curiosity that suits the easy, relaxed vibe of Eno's arrangements.

In short, I love this record. Byrne and Eno have remarked that this was their stab at an "electric gospel" record. Okay. Sounds good to me. Regardless, it's easily one of the best records of the year.

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