Friday, March 30, 2018


Byrne's back with a big art piece, no surprise, most of his work has been just that. He's working with Eno again, who supplied the bulk of the track ideas. They are slightly funky, dance-y tunes, nothing explosive but happy and enjoyable, with that Latin influence Byrne's had this century. The focus is more on the lyrics, as this is a thought piece, and he goes out of his way in the sleeve notes to explain it as best he can. He's not being ironic with the title, he's referring to the original view of the U.S. experiment, that it could approach a utopian society.

Instead of wailing about how that failed, and the woeful situation that country and most of the rest are in, Byrne writes about what we could do to change all that. Not that he has any concrete ideas; it's more about the potential we all have. Much of this is abstract, askew, goofy, whimsical, even confusing if you're looking for a normal story arc. He looks at things differently, and wonders if we all looked at life differently, and acted differently, would it be better? He just wants to ask questions.

It's best not to think too hard, if you want to enjoy the record, and it is enjoyable, if a little jarring. "The bullet went into him, it went it's merry way," he sings in Bullet, which basically just talks about the act of being shot. You can study what he's singing, or sit back and get into the pleasing grooves. I'd go with the grooves. And of course, you have Byrne's always-fascinating voice and delivery, along with some pretty novel soundscapes, so there's lots being offered. It's like a visit to an art gallery with lots of pretty paintings of people you can almost recognize.

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