David Byrne announces new album ‘American Utopia,’ debuts propulsive first single

Photo by Jody Rogac

Following records with Brian Eno and St. Vincent, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne will release his first solo album in 14 years in March, a 10-song collection called American Utopia that the singer describes as an un-ironically titled “attempt to depict the world we live in now.”

The album is due out March 9 on Todomundo/Nonesuch Records, and is preceded by the driving first single “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” co-written with Eno and featuring contributions from TTY, Happa Isaiah Barr of the Onyx Collective, Sampha and others. See the video for the new song below.

The album will be followed by a world tour that Byrne has been calling “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for ‘Stop Making Sense.’” Some initial dates have been announced, including slots at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, with more to come.

In announcing the album, Byrne writes:

Is this meant ironically? Is it a joke? Do I mean this seriously? In what way? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political?

These songs don’t describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world—the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves—well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way? These songs are about that looking and that asking.

This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses. Sometimes to describe is to reveal, to see other possibilities. To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step. The songs are sincere—the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. The description, the discontent and the desire—I have a feeling that is what these songs touch on.

I have no prescriptions or surefire answers, but I sense that I am not the only one looking and asking, wondering and still holding onto some tiny bit of hope, unwilling to succumb entirely to despair or cynicism.

It’s not easy, but music helps. Music is a kind of model—it often tells us or points us toward how we can be.

Part of the album’s announcement on Monday included a presentation by Byrne called “Reasons To Be Cheerful” before a live audience at New York’s New School. Watch that below, too.

 

Tracklist: David Byrne, American Utopia

1. “I Dance Like This”
2. “Gasoline And Dirty Sheets”
3. “Every Day Is A Miracle”
4. “Dog’s Mind”
5. “This Is That”
6. “It’s Not Dark Up Here”
7. “Bullet”
8. “Doing The Right Thing”
9. “Everybody’s Coming To My House”
10. “Here”

 

 

 

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