Album Review: Brian Eno and David Bryne

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November 13, 2008

4:14 PM

“Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”
4 out of 5 Stars

I’ve missed David Byrne. I feel that in some ways I’ve been stuck on a road in the middle of nowhere, musically, without him. We all would have been in a similar state had he never existed. Crazy hipsters wouldn’t have had Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Fratsters would have gone without Vampire Weekend. Hell, Guster wouldn’t have been able to cover “(Nothing But) Flowers.”

With this in mind, is it wrong that I confess my ignorance as to who Brian Eno is?

In the end it doesn’t really matter. The album doesn’t suffer.

The eponymous track, “Everything that Happens” is pastoral and sweet. A lullaby. Rain-dropped notes from a Steinway and Elvis strummed guitars set up a song that would make Sufjan proud (or does Sufjan try and make David Byrne proud?). It’s a diddy. It’s lovely—

Oh my brother, I still wonder, are you alright?
In the deepest silence, gold and diamonds, all through the night

Everything that happens will happen today
And nothing has changed, but nothing’s the same
And every tomorrow could be yesterday
And everything that happens will happen today

“Everything that Happens…” as an album, is primarily comprised of songs like this one, “One Fine Day,” “The Lighthouse,” and “The River.” They’re all very similar and all very good. If you like music to boost those alpha-waves, this will definitely be a hit.

One song that breaks from this trend, however, is “Strange Overtones.” This song heralds back to the Talking Heads, probably more than any other Byrne track to date. It’s self-referential to the nth degree, hip, poppy and has enough synth. to make Falco blush.

This song is about a man, pained to write music, struggling against the fast-encroaching digital world; still stuck using beats that are 20 years old. It’s self-referential, in a Colorado sort of way, right? But there’s still something in those:

Strange Overtones
In the music you are playing
I’ll harmonize
It is strong and you are tough
But a heart is not enough-

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