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Music / David Byrne

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And the music comes from the hydrogen bomb.
Rock bands died when amateurs won.

"I've made money, and I've been ripped off... I've had creative freedom, and I've been pressured to make hits. I have dealt with diva behavior from crazy musicians, and I have seen genius records by wonderful artists get completely ignored... If you think success in the world of music is determined by the number of records sold, or the size of your house or bank account, then I'm not the expert for you. I am more interested in how people can manage a whole lifetime in music."
David Byrne, How Music Works

David Byrne (born 14 May 1952) is a well-rounded individual, cloudcuckoolander extraordinaire, and something of a maverick in the music world. He's most famous for his tenure as the frontman and primary songwriter for the wildly influential Post-Punk/New Wave Music band Talking Heads, but he's also a solo musician whose genre-hopping makes the already aurally diverse Heads sound normal by comparison. He's also a visual artist, a one-time film director and actor, a published author, an avid bicyclist, and the author of a column about bicycling in The New York Times.

While most of it is vaguely definable as Alternative Rock or art pop, Byrne's music is impossible to pigeonhole and difficult to generalize. Even within a single album, he won't stick to one genre, nor does he play any given style straight. That said, elements that pop up frequently across his discography include art-punk, funk, African-inspired polyrhythms, Latin American influences, and very surreal lyrics delivered in a fashion that is either passionately hammy or utterly deadpan.

Byrne is also fairly notable for being one of few known autistic musicians to achieve critical and commercial success; he revealed that he was autistic in 2009, specifically stating that he had Asperger's Syndrome (which was absorbed into Autism Spectrum Disorder by the APA in 2013). Music, like acting, is often considered to be an extremely hard field for autistic people to make any headway in, making Byrne's success and influence on popular music quite significant in that regard.

Microsoft Windows users may recognize his single "Like Humans Do" (from the album Look into the Eyeball), which was used as a stock song for Windows Media Player on XP.


Solo studio albums

  • Rei Momo (1989)note 
  • Uh-Oh (1992)note 
  • David Byrne (or as it's written on the cover, davidenryd) (1994)note 
  • Feelings (1997)note 
  • Look into the Eyeball (2001)note 
  • Grown Backwards (2004)note 
  • American Utopia (2018)note 

Collaborative studio albums

  • My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)note 
  • Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (2008)note 
  • Love This Giant (2012)note 
    • Brass Tactics EP (2013)


  • The Catherine Wheel (1981)note 
  • Music from The Knee Plays (1985)note 
  • Sounds from True Stories (1986)note 
  • The Last Emperor (1987)note 
  • The Forest (1991)note 
  • In Spite of Wishing and Wanting (1999)note 
  • Lead Us Not Into Temptation (2003)note 
  • Big Love: Hymnal (2008)note 
  • Here Lies Love (2010)note 

Live Albums

  • Live from Austin, Texas (2007)note 
  • Everything That Happens Will Happen on This Tour EP (2009).
  • Here Lies Love: Original 2013 Off-Broadway Cast Recording (2014).
  • Live at Carnegie Hall (2012)note 
  • "...The Best Live Show of All Time" -NME (2018)note 

Remix Albums

  • "The Forestry" maxi-single (1991).
  • The Visible Man (1998).
  • The Remix Collection from Here Lies Love (2014).


David Byrne and his works provide examples of:

  • all lowercase letters: The cover and liner notes of the self-titled album.
  • Alternative Rock: Most of his solo material loosely qualifies as this, especially in regards to his 1990's output. His material since 2001 is more closely categorizable as art pop, though traces of alternative rock can still be found here and there.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Mentioned in "In the Future":
    In the future, it will be next to impossible to tell girls from boys, even in bed.
  • Anachronism Stew: Here Lies Love covers a period from 1965 to 1986, yet the song "American Troglodyte" references the average US citizens surfing the internet and listening to 50 Cent.
  • Animated Music Video: The 2013 re-recording of "Psychedelic Afternoon" received one as part of the associated charity project, featuring Byrne as a mystical hippie grandpa helping his grandson cope with the trauma left by the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
  • Arc Words: "Todo Mundo" (Spanish for "whole world"). First it showed up in the lyrics of "Make Believe Mambo". Then it appeared in the Feelings album art, written on the doll's jacket. Then Byrne used it as the name for his record label.
  • Auteur License: Generally agreed to have received it in 1980, with the success and acclaim of Talking Heads' Remain in Light. Since then, he's had free reign to do more or less whatever he wants, not only in music (both with Talking Heads and with his solo career), but in practically every other art form he's touched.
  • Author Appeal: He's intrigued by the effects of mass media, in part because he spent a good deal of time in the 70's watching TV to try and learn more about connecting with the people around him, so the act of watching TV pops up a lot in his lyrics. Also he frequently references malleable or completely false identities.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In "Wicked Little Doll".
    Make a little love, some parts are missing.
  • Boléro Effect: "Strange Ritual", "I Feel My Stuff".
  • Bowdlerise: The album version of "Like Humans Do" includes the line "I never watch TV except when I'm stoned." For the Windows XP version, the line was changed to "We're eating off plates and we kiss with our tongues."
  • Break-Up Song: "The Accident", where the accident is just a metaphor for the hurt feelings in the wake of a relationship's end.
  • British Rock Star: Hugely averted. While David Byrne is British (more specifically Scottish, hailing from Dumbarton), he's generally very tame personality-wise, has never been interested in drugs or alcoholnote , and tends to dress in a very business-casual manner. He's also lost any trace of a Scottish accent in his speaking voice through years of living in the U.S.
  • The Cameo: Downplayed as he never says anything, but he was briefly seen in the audience of the Inside the Actors Studio episode featuring the six core voice actors of The Simpsons.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: It's telling that being the driving force behind Talking Heads is just considered the tip of the iceberg in terms of eccentricity.
  • Color Motifs: The color red seems to show up a lot throughout his album art. In particular, Talking Heads: 77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Remain in Light, The Catherine Wheel, True Stories, Naked, Rei Momo, the "Make Believe Mambo" single, and Brass Tactics all prominently feature red on their covers. "She's Mad" took things in a slightly different direction, with a translucent red jewel case and a red CD label, and the first 100,000 CD copies of its parent album, Uh-Oh, concurrently featured a translucent red tray.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: In American Utopia he told the story of how the protagonist of "Everybody's Coming To My House" wasn't supposed to be 100% delighted about the prospect of everyone coming to his house, but that he (Byrne) later heard a cover version of it by a group of teenage singers from the Detroit School of the Arts that completely made him rethink the song: the Detroit version was a joyful song about how people didn't have to be alone. In a rather heartwarming gesture, the Detroit version is played over the end titles.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The liner notes of the self-titled album are (other than a tiny bit of color on the jewel case's spine) solely black and white photos and text.
  • Dismotivation: The narrator of "Lazy" claims to be a Lazy Bum, but he gives a surprisingly long list of activities he does in a lazy way. He comes across instead like a guy who works really hard to convince everyone he's cool and lazy.
    I'm lazy when I'm loving.
    I'm lazy when I play.
    I'm lazy with my girlfriend, a thousand times a day.
    I'm lazy when I'm speakin'.
    I'm lazy when I walk.
    I'm lazy when I'm dancin'.
    I'm lazy when I talk.
  • Distant Duet: Both the duets in Here Lies Love:
    • "Seven Years" has Benigno Aquino (first in prison, then in exile to the US) and Imelda Marcos (in the capitol in Manila) singing to each other.
    • "Why Don't You Love Me?": "This song is sung in an imaginary duet between Imelda and Estrella, who have no contact with one another at this point."
  • Doomed Moral Victor: In "Seven Years" and "Why Don't You Love Me?", Benigno Aquino winds up killed for opposing Ferdinand Marcos. However, this assassination "triggers the collapse of the whole house of cards"—Ferdinand loses his office, and the whole family flees the country.
  • Dream Walker: In "The Dream Police", there's an entire justice system to prosecute crimes committed in sleep.
    Everyone has the same dreams, on different days of the week.
    We are the watchdogs of your mind, we are the dream police.
  • Dull Surprise: One of Byrne's two trademark vocal styles, when he's not being a Large Ham.
  • Epic Rocking: "Strange Ritual" from David Byrne (6:51). "Lazy" from Grown Backwards (9:35).
  • Everything Is an Instrument: For My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Byrne and Eno augmented their percussion with "basically anything that was lying around". For example, they used a cardboard box as a kick drum, and a biscuit tin as a snare drum. He later took this trope to its logical extreme with an art installment called "Playing The Building," in which guests were invited to play on an organ Byrne had rigged to manipulate the inner workings of an abandoned warehouse.
  • Face on the Cover:
    • Almost all of his non-soundtrack solo albums (with Uh-Oh, Here Lies Love, and American Utopia being the exceptions). David Byrne and Grown Backwards are completely straight examples. Others are odd variations on mugshots: Rei Momo is a photo of a human heart, with Byrne's face visible through cut-out parts of the picture, Feelings has a plastic doll in Byrne's likeness, and Look Into the Eyeball has two interlaced mugshots.
    • Among Byrne's collaborative studio albums, this trope is instead the exception rather than the norm: Love This Giant is the only album of Byrne's in this category to feature his face on the cover art, specifically utilizing a photo of Byrne and St. Vincent posing in prosthetic chins.
  • Fading into the Next Song: The Remix Collection from Here Lies Love is dancefloor megamix, with no breaks between any of the songs.
  • Femme Fatale: "Miss America" uses this an extended metaphor. America is a woman who seduces men, then tosses them aside once she no longer needs them.
    I'm not the only heart you've conquered.
  • '50s Hair: This was his look in Talking Heads, with his slicked-back clean-cut hairstyle unusual among rock stars at the time. He's mostly kept this style since the band's breakup, save for briefly growing out his hair for his Self-Titled Album and the recording of Talking Heads' Naked, as seen on the inside cover, though he made sure to cut it for the album's music videos.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Covered in "Eleven Days". Ferdinand Marcos meets Imelda Romualdez, and she agrees to marry him eleven days later. They don't even meet again in the interval—Ferdinand courts Imelda by sending messages and gifts.
  • Genius Loci: Maaaybe? In "The Forest Awakes":
    A song is a road.
    A road is a face.
    A face is a time,
    and a time is a place.
  • Gilded Cage: In "Solano Avenue", Estrella Cumpas writes a biography of Imelda Marcos, based on their years together. Imelda doesn't want the world to know of those years when her family was destitute. She arranges for Estrella to move into a "safe house" in Manila, with guards "for her own protection".
  • Good Is Not Nice: Maaaybe? In "The Gates of Paradise":
    And the laws of Man are not the laws of Heaven,
    and the Angels' breath is like the desert wind,
    and terrorists are acting out of love, sweet love,
    to bring us home again.
  • Happy Place: The narrator of "Back in the Box" can't deal with the outside world.
    And now love's terrifying.
    I cannot hide what I want.
    You cannot hear me or see me
    when I go back in the box.
  • A Hell of a Time: The first verse of "You & Eye" involves winding up in Hell, and finding that it has good music, and better barbecues and beer than on Earth. "And darling, I think you'll like it here."
  • Heroic BSoD: In "Walk Like a Woman", the newly-married Imelda Marcos has trouble adjusting to life as the wife of a politician. She has a nervous breakdown, undergoes treatment at a psych ward in New York, and returns to the Philippines a changed woman.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: "The Jezebel Spirit" includes an audio excerpt of a real priest performing a real exorcism, from 1980.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Seven Years", Imelda Marcos warns Benigno Aquino that he'll be killed if he returns to the Philippines. He goes anyway. Sure enough, Ferdinand Marcos has him assassinated.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: A U.K. citizen by birth, Byrne obtained U.S. citizenship in 2012 so he could vote in elections there, as he'd lived in the U.S. since childhood.
  • In the Style of: "The Rose of Tacloban" is, in Byrne's own words, a "quasi-Disney song [about] a young girl about to make her way in the world".
  • Japandering: Around the time Talking Heads were promoting Speaking in Tongues, Byrne appeared in a Japanese whiskey commercial that simply consisted of him (and only him; none of his bandmates were present) doing a pigeon dance and gawking at a whiskey can to the tune of "Girlfriend is Better". It's about as "David Byrne" as a commercial starring David Byrne could get.
  • Kabuki Sounds: Byrne initially wanted to score all of the Knee Plays with traditional kabuki music—but he changed his mind and went with brass band music instead. Still, the 2007 CD reissue of The Knee Plays includes five selections from the original kabuki score as bonus tracks.
  • Large Ham: When he's not being deadpan, Byrne tends to sing with enough gusto to give William Shatner a run for his money.
  • LEGO Genetics: In "Self-Made Man", the characters literally swap chromosomes like they're baseball cards.
    Well I'll trade you my potential mental illness
    for your bad teeth.
    How about trading your sexy body
    for a full head of hair?
  • Literary Allusion Title:
    • My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was named after a 1954 novel by Amos Tutuola. Eno and Byrne hadn't read the novel at the time, but they were already fans of Tutuola's other writing.
    • The title of Grown Backwards is taken from a quote in the Flannery O’Connor novel The Violent Bear it Away.
    "Bishop looked like the old man grown backwards to the lowest form of innocence, and Rayber observed that the boy strictly avoided looking him in the eye."
  • Longest Song Goes First: Rei Momo starts with "Independence Day" (5:45).
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Music for The Knee Plays ends with "In the Future" (6:35).
    • Grown Backwards ends with "Lazy" (9:35).
  • Loss of Identity:
    • "Somebody":
    Somebody, somebody took away our name.
    Somebody, somebody tell me who I am.
    • "Angels":
    I can barely touch my own self. How could I touch someone else?
    I am just an advertisement for a version of myself.
    • "Strange Ritual":
    A town in which
    even the people who live there
    can't remember its name.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: The narrator of "Girls on My Mind".
  • Love Martyr: The narrator of "Miss America" is fully aware that America was using him and doesn't feel anything for him, but he still loves her all the same.
  • Ludd Was Right: In "Dance on Vaseline":
    My baby saw the future
    she doesn't want to live there any more.
    It's lousy science fiction,
    gets on your skin and seeps into your bones.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Empire" has grandiose backing music with swelling brass. The lyrics involve a narrator singing the praises of Big Business and advocating Social Darwinism.
    • "Lazy" has lyrics about how darn lazy the narrator is. The music sounds the opposite of lazy: a fast electronic beat, frantic strings, and driving electric guitar. This is even more apparent on the version recorded with X-Press 2, which is outright House Music.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: "Women Vs. Men":
    Women have their world, and men, we have ours.
    We're into sports, and they're into flowers.
    The women are talking. We do not understand.
    They speak in a language we do not comprehend.
    No one knows how it started, and God knows how it will end.
    The fightin' continues, women versus men.
  • The Masochism Tango: "They Are in Love":
    She put the scar on the side of his face.
    He disappeared for three days.
    They say they are in love.
    He took her cocaine when she was asleep.
    Friends say he gave half away.
    They say they are in love.
  • Mind Screw: "Horses."
  • Miniscule Rocking: Track 13 on Feelings is an interlude just a few seconds long. It's so short it doesn't even have a name.
  • Misery Builds Character:
    • "The Cowboy Mambo (Hey Lookit Me Now)".
    Green grass grows around the backyard shithouse,
    and that is where the sweetest flowers bloom.
    We're all flowers growing in God's garden,
    and that is why he spreads the shit around.
    • In "Seven Years", Benigno Aquino is in prison on trumped-up charges. He realizes:
    This moment was a gift from above.
    Maybe it's some kind of test.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: His lyrical style, especially with Talking Heads, writing songs about civil servants and pieces of paper. This even extends outside of music as well; True Stories, for instance, revolves entirely around deriving entertainment out of the minutiae and undiscussed strangeness of everyday life.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Played with in "She Only Sleeps". The narrator's girlfriend dances at topless bars, flirts with others, and for all the world seems to be sleeping around. But the narrator knows "that she only sleeps with me", so he doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her.
  • Mythology Gag: Early in the 2013 "Psychedelic Afternoon" music video, the album art for Feelings can be seen as a poster in Seiji's room right when he wakes up from his nightmare, though only for a split second.
  • Never My Fault: In "The Moment of Conception":
    Blame my school, and blame my parents
    and the genes that I inherit.
    Blame it on my older sister
    for showing me those dirty pictures.
    Blame the TV and the movies,
    blame the judges and the juries.
  • New Media Are Evil: Byrne published an op-ed in The Guardian arguing that the Internet would kill creativity by making artists unable to make money from their creations, citing the low royalties from digital downloads and streaming and how it disproportionately affects newer, less established artists.
    Some of us have other sources of income, such as live concerts, and some of us have reached the point where we can play to decent numbers of people because a record label believed in us at some point in the past. [...] But up-and-coming artists don't have that advantage— some haven't got to the point where they can make a living on live performances and licensing, so what do they think of these services?
  • New Sound Album: The tendency for every Talking Heads solo album to sound noticeably different than the rest carries over to Byrne's solo work. Look Into the Eyeball however is the most significant example in that it established the distinctively leftfield art pop sound that would serve as a base for Byrne's later work.
  • No Man Wants an Amazon: In "The Rose of Tacloban": "Ninoy was my first love, but he said I was too tall."
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Make Believe Mambo" is an Orísa song, not an actual mambo.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The album art for Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. It's CG art of a house with a pond in the back yard. It's completely deserted, except for a shadowy figure in an upper story window, looking through binoculars. There are a number of unsettling details upon closer inspection—an open box of bandages on a table, a discarded condom wrapper in a rain gutter, a thick metal door on the living room wall—but nothing that truly explains what's going on in the house.
  • The Omnipresent: The audio clip of a preacher in "Help Me Somebody":
    There's no escape from him. He's so hiiiigh you can't get over him. He's so loooooow you can't get under him. He's so wiiide you can't get around him! If you make your bed in Heaven, he's there! If you make your bed in Hell, he's there! He's everywhere!
  • Out of Focus: Allegedly, Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpas are co-protagonists of Here Lies Love— it even says so in the album subtitle. However, Estrella disappears from the story for a seven-song stretch in the middle of the album (from "Walk Like a Woman" to "The Whole Man").
  • The Perfectionist: A notorious example among musicians, to the point where, in an effort to get looped rhythms on Remain in Light in an era when sound engineering technology wouldn't reliably allow that, he spent a significant chunk of the already breakneck recording sessions manually training his bandmates in Talking Heads to play particular rhythms over and over again with mechanical precision.
  • The Pollyanna:
    • The narrator of "Glad":
    I'm glad I got lost,
    I'm glad I'm confused.
    I'm glad when the sex is not so great.
    • In "Optimist":
    How it is, is how it ought to be.
  • Pop-Star Composer: He's done a lot of work for film and theater, and even won an Academy Award for his soundtrack for The Last Emperor.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Byrne was accused of this during the height of Talking Heads' popularity with his funk and World Music influences.
  • Princess in Rags: Remedios Romualdez in "Every Drop of Rain" and "You'll Be Taken Care Of". She's connected to a powerful and influential family, but can barely pay her housekeeper, Estrella Cumpas. She insists that one of her children will restore the family's fortune and repay Estrella some day.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: "Something Ain't Right":
    Come on down, you old fart!
    Let's see if you have got a heart!
    It ain't true! It's all lies!
    Are you the Devil in disguise?
    Won't give up, won't bow down!
    I'm gonna tear your playhouse down!
  • Re-Cut: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts got this treatment three times.
    • When it was first released, "Qu'ran" was the first track on side B. Since the song contained spoken excerpts from the holy book of Islam, some Muslims took offense at the song. So all subsequent printings replaced the song with "Very Very Hungry", the B-side from The Jezebel Spirit EP.
    • The original US CD release used the original track listing (with "Qu'ran" in its proper place) and added "Very Very Hungry" as a bonus track at the end. It wasn't until 1990 when the CD switched to the "Qu'ran"-free tracklist.
    • Then the 2006 remastered version once again used the censored playlist, plus extended mixes of "Mea Culpa" and "The Carrier", and tacked a bunch of B-sides and demos on the end as bonus tracks.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • He's put out several remix EPs and albums. And whenever he tours, his setlist will feature songs from older albums (or even from the Talking Heads catalogue) arranged in the style of his most recent album.
    • Grown Backwards ends with a Baroque Pop re-recording of Byrne and X-Press 2's 2002 collaboration "Lazy".
    • In 2013, Byrne and Ryuichi Sakamoto re-recorded their 1994 collaboration "Psychedelic Afternoon", with redone lyrics and Byrne taking up vocal duties this time, as part of a project to raise awareness and funds for children impacted by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
  • Renaissance Man: Musician, writer, visual artist, and one-time actor and director, Byrne's repertoire is fairly well-rounded. Time magazine even ran a 1986 cover story that named him "Rock's Renaissance Man".
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The music video for the 2002 version of "Lazy" features a man who stays on the couch all day, doing things like combing hair, getting food, and doing chores via many of these. Eventually, the machine designed to give him his breakfast short-circuits after spilling coffee on itself, forcing the man to settle for a dirty, half-eaten Snickers bar that he finds on the floor.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: "Don't Want to Be Part of Your World", where hundreds of boys and girls bid their parents farewell and disappear upstream or down tunnels.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Make Believe Mambo" takes playful jabs at Byrne's habit of watching TV to try and better understand the world around him, featuring a story about a man who gets so into the habit that he becomes devoid of any real personality, operating solely on memorized cues and imitations.
  • Self-Harm:
    • Referenced in "Nothing At All":
    And the knife is close at hand.
    I cut myself to see who I am.
    I reach inside, but I still can't touch
    the policeman inside.
    • And in "Walk Like a Woman":
    And if I bang my
    head on the wall for hours,
    then I won't feel the confusion no more.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The verses of "Angels" are remarkably similar to those from Talking Heads' Signature Song, "Once in a Lifetime". That said, the choruses couldn't be any more different.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Byrne's wearing of suits was one reason he stood out from more casually-dressed rock stars during Talking Heads' commercial peak.
  • Shmuck Bait: The Feelings album art. The CD itself has a big arrow on it, and the tray insert has a wheel of colors, corresponding to different emotions. There's a note encouraging the listener to break the CD spindle and spin the disc to "determine your feelings". For anyone who doesn't get the joke, there's a warning that doing this repeatedly may or may not scratch the CD beyond repair.
  • Silly Love Songs: "My Love Is You", "Buck Naked", "They Are in Love", to name a few.
  • Small Reference Pools: invoked Discussed in the Here Lies Love liner notes. To those outside the Philippines, Imelda Marcos is most famous for keeping a ludicrously massive collection of shoes—so Byrne decided not to mention the shoe collection in any of the songs.
    I did a year's worth of research to see if there was a story, a narrative arc. I found that, yes, there was a lot more to tell in this case than just the famous shoes. In fact, early on I decided that the shoes, all 3000+ pairs, would never be mentioned.
  • The Social Darwinist: In "Empire", the narrator sings "The weak among us perish, the strong alone survive," and clearly thinks this is a good thing.
  • Spoken Word in Music: On The Knee Plays, about half of the songs are just David Byrne speaking a monologue over the backing music. (The rest of the album is instrumental.)
  • The Stoic: He's earned a bit of a reputation for being an emotionless weirdo. He joked about it by releasing an album named Feelings, with a plastic doll modeled after himself on the cover.
  • Taught by Television: "Make Believe Mambo" is about a kid who lives this way:
    So how can we be strangers?
    He's got no personality.
    It's just a clever imitation
    of the people on TV.
    A line for every situation,
    he's learning trivia and tricks.
    Having sex and eating cereal,
    wearing jeans and smoking cigarettes.
  • Textless Album Cover: The remastered version of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and Here Lies Love. Grown Backwards meanwhile puts the title on a removable shrinkwrap sticker, with the main printwork being textless on both the front slipcase and the front of the liner notes.
  • Trans Tribulations: "Now I'm Your Mom" is about a post-operative trans woman attempting to explain her identity to her son and daughter. Of note is that the song released just a year after the film adaptation The Silence of the Lambs, which was both directed by Byrne associate Jonathan Demme and criticized upon release for invoking anti-trans stereotypes.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: He'll drop bizarre imagery into lyrics with the same deadpan delivery he uses to describe a pleasant party. For example, in "Dinner for Two":
    Tanks outside the bedroom window
    we'll be okay with the curtain closed.
  • Visual Pun: The cover art for Uh-Oh is a painting of Heaven... with dog sitting on the throne instead of God.
  • Voice Clip Song: The entire album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts excerpted spoken-word samples from radio interviews, field recordings, and TV broadcasts, and set them to looped instrumental tracks (some funky and syncopated, others ambient).
  • Workaholic: He has a reputation of being this, to a point where he allegedly has trouble maintaining "human relationships", as Chris Frantz has said.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: "Glad":
    I'm glad when I get my girlfriends' names confused.
  • Zeerust: Byrne's predictions in "In the Future" were clearly not meant to stand the test of time: they're a mix of plausible guesses, hilariously implausible ones, and blatantly contradictory statements.
    In the future, everyone will be very fat from the starchy diet.
    In the future, everyone will be very thin from not having enough to eat.
    In the future, no one will fight with anyone else.
    In the future, there will be mini-wars going on everywhere.


Video Example(s):


David Byrne's Big Suit

During the instrumental break of 'Girlfriend is Better', David Byrne shows off his dance moves in his now iconic giant suit.

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