David Byrne has never been one to shy away from turning awkward lyrical content into a chorus that you just can’t stop singing (“Psycho Killer”, “Burning Down The House”). It’s no surprise that the legendary Mr. Byrne does it again on American Utopia. The album is a mix of unique and chaotic tempos yet when the chorus drops, you can’t help but sing along.
American Utopia is like peeking into the mind of a creepy genius (seriously, that is coming from the most admirable place possible). “Every Day Is A Miracle” includes some bizarre lyrical content like “The brain of a chicken / And the dick of a donkey / A pig in a blanket / And that’s why you want me” and yet you can’t help but sing along once the main chorus begins.
“I Dance Like This” is a super trippy track that encompasses the current American dilemma of accruing debt with some irresistible harmonies. “This Is That” takes it down a notch with simple piano and Mr. Byrne’s signature vocals. “Bullet” takes an almost tropical turn with certain percussion elements and laid back beats. “Doing The Right Thing” takes us on an ’80s electronic trip with more lyrics that include unanswered questions.
“What am I supposed to do with this?
What am I supposed to know about this
What am I supposed to have in my hands
What is written on that paper you have?”
“Everybody’s Coming To My House” is the creepiest track that almost eludes to an agoraphobic’s worst nightmare. “Dog’s Mind” is the most political yet also with fun lyrics:
“We are dogs in our own paradise
In a theme park of our own
Doggy dancers doing doody
Doggy dreaming all day long”
The overall album is in some ways contradictory. There are cynical and more dystopian themes throughout but mostly all presented in a hopeful way. There is also Mr. Byrne’s brilliant tour that was carefully crafted, creatively executed, and wonderfully choreographed to prove his legendary status. With his most recent album he collaborated not only with Brian Eno but many electronic artists that were able to craft a slick and modern package for Mr. Byrne. American Utopia is definitely a uniquely creative album which deserves recognition.
American Utopia is out on Nonesuch Records.
To review the first 25 of our Favorite Albums of 2018, click here.
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