Home Read Classic Album Review: David Byrne | Look Into the Eyeball

Classic Album Review: David Byrne | Look Into the Eyeball

The Talking Heads head deftly bridges experimentalism & commercialism.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


For decades, David Byrne has been art-pop’s reigning wizard of odd. But even this eclectic eccentric seems to be mellowing in his old age — or at least becoming slightly more accommodating.

The former Talking Heads head’s latest solo offering Look Into the Eyeball (his first since 1997’s so-so Feelings) deftly narrows the gap between his own experimental ambitions and his audience’s commercial expectations. These dozen cuts combine several Byrne trademarks — quirky pop, detached lyrics, blue-eyed soul, African percussion and Latin rhythms — with new stylistic touches like sweet string arrangements and flowing Philly soul, giving Byrne an expanded sonic pallet of which he makes ample use. The Accident fuses a torchy noirish narrative with staccatto, Bernard Herrmann film-score strings; Desconocido Soy bounces along to a rubbery Latin-rock groove; and the Curtis Mayfield-style soul power of Neighbourhood comes straight from the streets of Philadelphia. And those are just three tracks; the rest of Look Into the Eyeball is just as bizarrely transfixing.