Considering David Byrne’s list of recent accomplishments (a singing robot art installation in Madrid, a show of chair-themed artwork in N.Y.C., a musical partnership with Fatboy Slim based on the life of Imelda Marcos), it seems downright shocking that his newest album is so, well, approachable. On Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Byrne’s first full-length with electro guru Brian Eno since 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts), the former Talking Heads frontman delivers the lyrical goods to his partner’s inspired arrangements-and the result is nothing short of breathtaking.
But the 11 lush, uplifting pop tunes that make up Everything are just a snippet of Byrne and Eno’s three-decade-long collaborative career. Prior to the duo’s 1981 pairing, Eno produced three Talking Heads albums (1978’s More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1979’s Fear of Music, and 1980’s Remain in Light). Fittingly enough, it was Nonesuch Record’s 2006 rerelease of My Life that brought the pair together again.
“I recall Brian mentioning that he had a lot of largely instrumental tracks he’d accumulated,” explained Byrne. “And since, in his words, he ‘hates writing words,’ I [suggested] I have a go at writing some words and tunes over a few of them and [we’d] see what happens.” With Byrne in New York and Eno in Britain, the musicians began sending song ideas back and forth. “By and large, though, we stuck to our separate territories,” said Eno. “I generally did music; he generally did lyrics and vocals. That arrangement seemed to work.”
“These songs have elements of work we’ve both done previously,” Byrne expressed. “No surprise there, but maybe something new has emerged as well. : In the end, we have made something that neither of us could have made ourselves.”
And while Everything may epitomize a triumphant shared effort, it is Byrne alone who will be touring the world in support of the duo’s material. This Saturday, October 4, at 8 p.m., UCSB’s Arts & Lectures presents Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno at the Arlington Theatre. “The live shows will maybe try to draw a line linking this new material with what we did 30 years ago,” he explained of the endeavor, “a little bit anyway.” Call 893-3535 or visit www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu for tickets.