Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

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David Byrne and Brian Eno have paired up for their first
record together as co-writers since the highly influential and critically
acclaimed 1981 release My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Everything That Happens
Will Happen Today is the culmination of a year s worth of writing, recording,
and travelbetween New York and London.Everything That Happens... was
conceptualized during a visit to Brian Eno s studio after the two
reconnectedupon Nonesuch Records re-release of Bush of Ghosts. Byrne explains,
''I recall Brian mentioning that hehad a lot of largely instrumental tracks he
d accumulated, 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 see what
happens.''Thus the two began exchanging vocal and instrumental tracks, and the
transatlantic collaboration began.Everything That Happens...features Byrne s
lyrics and voice alongside Eno s various electronic tracks.''When we started
this work, we started to think we were making something like electronic
gospel: a music where singing was the central event, but whose sonic
landscapes were not the type normally associatedwith that way of singing,''
says Eno. ''This thought tapped into my long love affair with gospel music,
which,curiously, was inadvertently initiated by David and the Talking Heads.''
Review David Byrne and Brian Eno retreated to pop's periphery years ago, but
their influence is suddenly front and center. There are echoes of Byrne's old
band, Talking Heads, in the avant-funk of LCD Soundsystem and other dance-rock
bands, and you can hear the singer's workaday hysteria in the cadences of
Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. Coldplay sought
producer Eno to help them make Viva la Vida, a record that recalls another
album with Eno's mark, U2's The Joshua Tree. You can also hear Byrne and Eno's
world-music fusions reflected in polyglot indie bands like Vampire
Weekend.With their new album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, the
pair rejoin the rock conversation as if they'd never left. The last record
Byrne and Eno made together was the groundbreaking 1981 dance-rock tape
collage project, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, but the duo go back further
Everything recalls the three Talking Heads records that Eno produced, played
on and/or wrote: 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1979's Fear of
Music and 1980's Remain in Light. For those records, Eno was essentially a
band member, bringing a darker, more layered and atmospheric sound to the
group.Everything sounds more like a Heads record than anything Byrne's done
since the band split in 1991. A radiantly tuneful set made with sidemen, from
agile, young polymath drummer Seb Rochford to Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera, the
album often evokes sublime, slow-to-midtempo Heads songs like ''Heaven'' and
''This Must Be the Place (Nave Melody),'' as well as dreamy Eno songs like
''St. Elmo's Fire'' and ''I'll Come Running.'' The album was created with a
fairly strict division of labor. Byrne wrote the words and sang lead. And Eno
made the music, bringing an effervescent sonic gloom that adds some mystery
and tension to Byrne's plainspoken lyrics qualities missing from much of
Byrne's solo work. ''Poor Boy,'' for instance, sounds like a Bush of Ghosts
outtake, all percolating bass bubbles, clattering percussion and spooky vocal
samples. Byrne's words set a scene that would have appeared innocuous in 1981
but feels oddly menacing in 2008: ''A truck parked this morning outside the
grocery store.''Byrne has described the music as ''folk electronic gospel,''
openly wondering at the songs' uplifting tone. And Eno has credited his
ongoing interest in gospel to hearing ''Surrender to His Will,'' by Reverend
Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Choir, way back when he was working
with Talking Heads on More Songs About Buildings and Food. But this is a
secular, practical sort of gospel. The opener, ''Home,'' finds the singer
longing for a nest, even if it's one with ''neighbors fighting'' and ''cameras
watching.'' Beautifully harmonized by both men over a vigorous acoustic-guitar
strum with a soaring Joshua Tree-style solo, it finds beauty and fleeting
peace in spite of the ugliness. On ''Everything That Happens,'' Byrne coos
over a morphine-drip soundscape about riding ''on a perfect freeway'' and
savoring ''the sound of someone laughing,'' when suddenly he sees a car
explode. ''Strange Overtones'' is wistful dance-floor nostalgia, with a groove
that recalls George McCrae's 1974 hit ''Rock Your Baby.'' ''My Big Nurse'' is
a gentle country tune with a narrator who's obsessed with dancing ''on this
lazy afternoon'' amid fellow humans who are ''in love with war.''Ultimately,
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is about how music heals even if it
can't cure. On ''The River,'' amid clapboard-church vocal harmonies, Byrne
declares, ''A change is gonna come/Like Sam Cooke sang in '63.'' Maybe it
will. But what seems important here is the collective hope for it, channeled
in song by a couple of old visionaries whose music should continue to inspire
young bands and the rest of us. --Rolling Stone''While Everything is firmly
grounded in Eno and Byrne's previous work, their mutual commitment to musical
exploration ensures the album rarely sounds like something we've heard
before.'' --Billboard