Album Review

Everything That Happens Today Will Happen Again

Everything That Happens Today Will Happen Again

by David Byrne and Bryan Eno

7 / 10
8th February 2009

Reviewed by

Soooo...... Where to start on this latest collaboration in the long spanning creative partnership between David Byrne and Bryan Eno?? Do you use the Talking Head's three albums which Eno produced as a yardstick? What about My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, their collaboration outside of the Talking Heads? To be honest, in the case of Everything That Happens.... it's probably best to use neither. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is a bit of an anomaly as far as their collaborations go. There are telltale signs that point back into the distant past, but for the most part they have approached this from very different points of references to their previous output.

This album draws more on a set of sounds that create what Byrne and Eno like to refer to as "folk-electronic-gospel". Indeed, most of the album does extend from at least one of these three sources and the most successful songs on the album draw from all three. The title track, "Life is Long", "One Fine Day" and "the Lighthouse" all stand out immediately. Simple chordal patterns of folk, heartfelt gospel-based melodies and muted electronica all blend together to create easily some of the most effective, personal music Byrne has composed since early Talking Heads. He's always had a real gift for discussing the banal, the domestic and the mundane and turning them into a sort of escapist fantasy - on a personal level, this was the thing that drew me toward the Talking heads waaaaay back when I was still in primary school, though obviously I didn't fully understand it fully then. Anyways, I digress....

It's subtlety is by far Everything...'s biggest strength. The more sinister and "adventurous" the album gets, the more it feels forced. "I Feel My Stuff" and "Poor Boy" structurally are awesome tunes, but the production feels overblown and in the case of "Poor Boy" way too clean. Perhaps I'm getting bogged down by aesthetic, but If "Poor Boy" had have been written by say, Richard Hell or John Cale back in the day it'd be considered an outsider classic now. Instead, Pro-Tools tidies it up and elevates it above the gutter, where it belongs. Incidentally though, it's polyrhythmic funk is probably the closest thing to "... Bush of Ghosts" you'll find on the album. The same fate befalls "The River". Pro-Tools, world class studio equipment and top line mastering do not do sleazy funk well.

So yeah, a departure in two careers full of left turns and departures. Everything That Happens Today Will Happen Again is totally worth purchasing if you're a long time follower of Byrne and Eno. Probably not the best starting point, The three Talking Heads albums are still that. Nonetheless, at it's best this is a graceful, mature statement from two artists whose collaboration obviously still has life left in it, 33 years after it first began. "One Fine Day" is worth the cost of the album alone...

-- M. Stewart

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