American Utopia (Nonesuch / Todo Mundo)
REVIEWED BY GREG BEETS
Through design or circumstance, David Byrne here flirts with zeitgeist more than his previous solo albums. While not expressly political, American Utopia can't help playing as a reaction piece. Ostensibly the music for a multimodal project called Reasons to Be Cheerful, the onetime Talking Heads leader doesn't offer optimism so much as consoling reassurance. Close-mic'd vocals foster a sense of intimacy. Alternating between soft verses and electro chorus, "I Dance Like This" echoes the telegraphed verité of "Life During Wartime." Co-written with Brian Eno, "Everybody's Coming to My House" encapsulates late-stage imperialist paranoia with pensive instrumentation and rhythm as Byrne incants, "We're only tourists in this life."
(3:45pm, American Express stage)
[*] [*] [*] [.5]