David Byrne teamed up with Choir! Choir! Choir! to cover Bowie's 'Heroes'


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/31/david-byrne-teamed-up-with-cho.html


…I need to go to Choir! x 3. Clinton’s is like a half-hour walk from my office. I don’t know why I haven’t.


What a wonderful start to my day!


Leave it to David Byrne to reduce a song of impossible yearning to a formal exercise. Naked but never nude.


Good god. Every time DB is featured in a post here, you have to chime in about how much you hate him. What’s the deal?


Oops, I forgot this wasn’t twitter, sorry. But I don’t hate him, I just think he’s overrated and lacks soul. The cerebral thing, I can dig it balanced against the angst in early Talking Heads or the experimentation in something like …Bush of Ghosts. But at this point I’d much rather dance around with Tom Tom Club than watch Byrne do cover songs. Anyway, I realize now Boing Boing is definitely the wrong venue to offer a critique of David Byrne, so I’ll keep it to myself from now on. Apologies.


Hey everybody, David Byrne lacks soul.


But he certainly doesn’t lack a sense of irony, the expression of which is the highest, most important, and best-est form of emotional affect there is. As all us really, really smart people know, deep down in our souls.


Hey everybody, polizzi lacks soul.


I didn’t detect any irony in this performance, just a singer who’s really enjoying singing with an impromptu choir he deeply admires; he described the experience as “ecstatic” and “transcendent”. His singing voice has a unique soft, quiet tone that isn’t an intense resonant belt like Bowie, but I think he did a lovely job with the choir.


Thanks for contributing to the discussion with this keen insight, Scott_Urban. I’ll have to reassess my opinion on the entire subject. I’ll get back to you with more thoughts.


I’m glad to hear you’re willing to grow. I’ll stay tuned for your additional thoughts.


The choir is lovely, I agree. I didn’t mean to disparage them at all, and Byrne has always sought out and shone light on great music of others. I confess I didn’t even listen to the entire thing and dismissed it as the work of an artist who’s no longer relevant. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe Byrne is still developing something interesting and growing as an individual. I’ll give his upcoming album a chance. My reference to irony wasn’t about this piece, but about Byrne’s past work, which is full of it. His reliance on irony has always left me cold, I found no deep emotion in his work. His writing is smart and funny, no doubt, but I’ve never felt much in it, so it’s not entirely fulfilling for me to listen to. All my friends who love him tend to have that intelligent-middle-class-white-boy-who-lives-a-comfortalbe-life-but-has-real-trouble-with-emotions thing going on. So arguing against the brilliance of St. David tends to illicit weird reactions, as though a critique of him was a personal attack. I should have known to hold my tongue. But there you have it.


That’s very fair – his work with the Talking Heads was a sort of art-school project in being a pop band that made songs that used detachment and irony as tools and played with the idea of pop music as a sort of facade. He literally sings a love song to a lamp in Stop Making Sense. He’s never had a classic “singer’s voice” and often pushed it to really affected places for effect, playing a sort of weird wax mannequin figure on stage. I agree that their appeal to a lot of people was that despite how funky their rhythm section was, they did seem to avoid deep emotion and went for logic and literary oddness instead.

He’s far from irrelevant these days, though, and I’ve dug a lot of the songs he’s done in the past few years…


Clark has a great voice, and I heard they were working together — I’ll check out more. Thanks for sharing. And now that you mention it, I think part of my resistance to Byrne is due to overexposure. My time in art school probably triggered some sort of immune response.


Good discussion from both of you. Glad to see it transcend the usual “well you suck, too!” blather and get into some depth about Byrne and Bowie, both of whom I enjoy and admire.


I’m not sure when you went to art school, but I can see how hearing Talking Heads on a loop would drive you a little nuts. Shellac and the David Johansen Group have that affect on me to this day. Byrne is one of those artists whose quirks either endear you or irritate the hell out of you (or a bit of both, depending on the song).

Another atypical Byrne piece that I love (but is a bit overblown and goofy) is his Forest suite…


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