Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Million Miles Away

Song: A Million Miles Away
Artist: David Byrne
Album: Uh Oh

Well the Talking Heads surely have a bunch of fans… I got the most feedback from yesterday’s post than I have in a while. Thank you! Because of that, I thought I would continue on and talk about a (possibly) little known song from the front man of the Heads himself, David Byrne. Since the unraveling of the Talking Heads, Byrne has been quite prolific in his solo work. He also formed the world music record label Luaka Bop which released a variety of records some more strictly traditional and others more modern using world music flourishes. (Cornershop, Zap Mama, Los Amigos Invisibles, and Os Mutantes.) He’s scored films and TV Shows (most recently the 2nd season of “Big Love”) as well as continued to release a flurry of solo albums. I’ll be honest and admit I don’t know a lot of Bryne’s solo work but have two of his albums, 1992’s “Uh Oh” and 1997’s “Feelings.” I like both, and both seem to be in the more pop direction that he explored with the Talking Heads.

One song of his that I absolutely LOVE is “A Million Miles Away” from “Uh Oh.” You might (but probably won’t) remember this song from the short lives Fox sitcom “Flying Blind” starring Corey Parker and Tea Leoni. Here’s the opening from the show to jog your memory:

Wow, that’s some video eh? My very good friend Heather and I were into this show at the time and fell in LOVE with Tea Leoni. This was a great character for her, and showed off her incredible comic timing. She is also SUPER great in “Flirting With Disaster.” [Clip] (but I digress)

“A Million Miles Away” is typical Byrne; upbeat, and fun, though just a touch off-kilter. The album as a whole is pretty good, though now that I have listened to every Talking Heads record in its entirety, I realize just how GREAT a band they were… and this full album as a whole doesn’t quite hold up in comparison, but if you’re a fan I am sure you will find a lot you will enjoy.

A bit random, but I found an interesting quote from Mr. Byrne regarding the state of the music industry. As a huge fan of music that has basically blown all of my extra money on tapes and/or CD’s since I was a tween, this new availability of music, and the moral/economic conundrum it causes is of much interest to me, and Byrne certainly has a distinct point of view…

“There was another piece in the Times today about yet another 20 percent drop in CD sales. (Are they running the same news piece every 4 months?) Jeez guys, the writing's on the wall. How long do the record execs think they'll have those offices and nice parking spaces? (Well, more than half of all record A&R and other execs are gone already, so there should be plenty of parking space). They, the big 4 or 5, should give the catalogues back to the artists or their heirs as a gesture before they close the office doors, as they sure don't know how to sell music anymore. (I have Talking Heads stuff on the shelf that I can't get Warner to release.) The "industry" had a nice 50-year ride, but it's time to move on. Luckily, music remains more or less unaffected — there is a lot of great music out there. A new model will emerge that includes rather than sues its own customers, that realizes that music is not a product in the sense of being a thing — it's closer to fashion, in that for music fans it tells them and their friends who they are, what they feel passionately about and to some extent what makes life fun and interesting. It's about a sense of community — a song ties a whole invisible disparate community together. It's not about selling the (often) shattered plastic case CDs used to come in.”


“She’s Mad” also from “Uh Oh”

“Miss America” from “Feelings”

1 comment:

Mike M said...

Thanks for the THeads/DByrne posts. You are definitely all over the map of musical tastes. Appreciated. As for D. Byrne, he has a great catalog, but his creative apex was the Remain in Light, Bush of Ghosts and The Catherine Wheel trio, so if you don't own the Twyla Tharp ballet score, you've missed out one of his solo best. He used so many of the ideas brewed in Light/Ghosts and put them into an amazing album of percussion, soundscapes and melody.