Remaining in the light: Happy birthday, David Byrne

Even the picture is a little intimidating

Even the picture is a little intimidating

I’ve tried out a few introductory sentences to describe David Byrne, but put them all in the mental discard pile for being too cliched. Not only has Byrne managed to eschew cliche in his many projects, but he has defined the conventions for the work he does. Two words that prove this: Talking Heads. Two more words: Psycho Killer. You want three more? Qu’est que c’est.

The 57-your-old has been very hard at work. Just in 2008 alone, Byrne contributed to the much-lauded Dark Was the Night compilation, in addition to the release of his own collaborative effort with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. He made a building sing. He also lent his distinctive voice to the cheeky BPA track with the video of all the happy naked people. There is no denying Byrne’s imprint in the evolution of pop music, nor his iconic status. In fact, there probably are no words I can use that won’t make Byrne’s artistic life sound banal.

So I will allow David Byrne to speak for himself. Supposedly, in the liner notes to a samba compilation he participated in, Byrne declared: “To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware.” If there are truer words to live by, I don’t need to know them. Even if he never really wrote that, I’m going to give the birthday boy the benefit of the doubt.

David Byrne will play at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Tuesday, June 23. Sadly, Brian Eno will not play.

  • David Byrne and Brian Eno ~ Everything That Happens Will Happen Today ~ Todo Mundo

Wanted for Life

  • Dirty Projectors and David Byrne ~ Dark Was the Night: A Red Hot Compilation ~ 4AD

Knotty Pine

  • BPA feat. David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal ~ I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat ~ Southern Fried

I could show you the infamous black bar video, but if you’re as interested in naked people as I am, chances are you’ve already watched it too many times. Here’s a cute take on the song, painstakingly crafted by Erika Brooks Adickman and Neil Katcher, and brought to you by the nice folks at Pop Waffle. Go be environmentally aware now.

“Toe Jam”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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