One of the most influential musicians of our time, consistently pushing the boundaries of genre, David Byrne is a multi-talented artist who is primarily remembered for one of the most oversized suits in history. However, Byrne is so much more than this. In terms of creativity, he’s cut from the finest cloth, and his back catalogue is a treasure trove of sheer genius and unfettered intellect.
Predominantly known as the leader of vibrant post-punk pioneers Talking Heads, Byrne worked alongside Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison to create a syncopated and futuristic blueprint for all rock bands wanting to create truly refreshing music. Added to this, Talking Heads were lucky enough to work with music’s most eminent brainiac, Brian Eno, who acted as their secret weapon for three albums, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light. Eno coaxed the best out of Byrne and the band, and together, they brought the dynamic polyrhythms of Fela Kuti to the masses.
Byrne’s work isn’t only confined to Talking Heads, however. Outside of the confines of the New York band, he’s collaborated with a string of exciting acts, ranging from Mitski to St. Vincent and also delivered the vocals for X-Press 2’s 2002 classic, ‘Lazy’. In short, he’s done it all, and his career has been of the grade that budding musicians lay awake at night dreaming of.
Creatively, David Byrne is unmatched, and his creative fire drives him to evolve and push himself to the limits, augmented by a palpable sense of authenticity. This is what has really endeared Byrne to consumers and has made him an everpresent icon since he first burst onto the scene in the ’70s. It’s a testament to the quality of his work that we’re still talking about him today.
Given that he is revered in such God-like terms, Byrne’s life has been forensically picked apart by his legions of followers who have sought to get to know him better and understand his work more. Luckily for us, back in February, he gave an interview with WIRED wherein he answered the internet’s most searched questions about him.
Answering the question of which songs bring him to tears, Byrne revealed: “I have a monthly playlist that I post, and one of them is just songs that make me cry, and there’s a lot. There’s a couple of hours worth, at least. One that I remember off the top of my head is a Neko Case song, called ‘Honolulu…’ and then I think it’s the date. It’s a song of her witnessing a mother yelling at her child, and telling her child, ‘Get the fuck away from me, why can’t you ever doing anything right?’, that kind of stuff, where it just rips you apart because you’re in her shoes witnessing this.”
The song is actually called ‘Nearly Midnight, Honolulu’, and Byrne is correct. It’s a real tearjerker. Inspired by the horrific event that Byrne mentions and Case feeling unloved by her parents as a child, the sense of tragedy is palpable, so make sure you have the tissues ready.