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Grown Backwards Import

4.1 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 16, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

David Byrne Grown Backwards UK CD album


With 2003's Once In A Lifetime box set stirring old feelings for the Talking Heads' intelligent and angular pop music, this album could not arrive at a more appropriate time. After years of experimenting with salsa and strings, David Byrne returns with a cohesive record that catches him at his incohesive best: the stream-of-consciousness lyrics, the sly rhythms, the unexpected bursts of melody. Like recent works by Elvis Costello and David Bowie, Grown Backwards represents a return to form, particularly on leftfield songs like "Tiny Apocalypse" and "Dialog Box," which could have easily fit alongside the classics on his former band's retrospective. Meawhile, a duet with Rufus Wainwright on a cover of Bizet's "Au Fond du Temple Saint" points the way forward. --Aidin Vaziri

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Glass, Concrete and Stone
  2. The Man Who Loved Beer
  3. Au Fond du Temple Saint
  4. Empire
  5. Tiny Apocalypse
  6. She Only Sleeps
  7. Dialog Box
  8. The Other Side of This Life
  9. Why
  10. Pirates
  11. Civilization

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 16, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0001D3KNK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm a big fan of David Byrne, I love his music - all the way from "Talking Heads '77" through crazy sound experiments like "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" and "The Catherine Wheel" to the recent masterpieces "Feelings" and "Look Into The Eyeball". I know of no more consistently inventive artist still going strong...
"Grown Backwards" however feels like something special. A limited pallette of minimal guitar, lush strings and inventive percussion opens up a world of musical possibilities - swooningly beautiful one moment, dark and melancholy the next and with a few diversions into full on funkyness in between. Add to that Byrne's voice at is richest and most controlled and the result is a truly incredible, satisfying listening experience.
The opener "Glass, Concrete and Stone" sets the scene with it's "Eleanor Rigby" esque verses bursting to life with a soaring vocal and pulsating tabla drumming. "The Man Who Loved Beer" is a wonderfully melodic string drenched interpretation of the Lambchop original. "Au Fond Du Temple Saint" is almost painfully beautiful, Rufus Wainwright's deeper tones wrapping around Byrne's own strained but utterly disarming delivery...
"Empire" is by far the weakest track - but it's supposed to be. Basically an imagined anthem for a rightwing administration it's swathed in an unsettlingly subtle backdrop of discordant horns and gently picked guitar... It definitely serves to musically undermine the pompous lyrics and vocal melody. A pretty effective piece of political Satire on Byrne's part but not the most wonderful listening experience!!
"Little Apocalypse", more lush strings, more offbeat percussion and a brilliant transition from the rapped verses to the soaring chorus. Definitely one of the best tracks on the record.
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Format: Audio CD
Each new David Byrne solo album packs a surprise. In 1989, Byrne completely abandoned his Talking Heads heritage for highly infused Latin pop. Suddenly he sang in Spanish and Portugese and collaborated with the likes of Celia Cruz. Then, the heavily distorted and disturbing guitars - on songs such as "Angels" and "Crash" - lashed out in 1994, supposedly signaling an end to Byrne's "fase del Latino". Well, 1997's "Feelings" slapped that rumor in the forbidden dance pants. "Miss America" fully embraced Latino culture both musically and politically, but "Feelings" dripped eclectic throughout. Byrne included a grunge song, a rewrite of "Burning Down the House", and songs backed by string quartets, accordians, and fuzz guitar. "Look into the Eyeball" emphasized Byrne's happiness with the ecelectic, and included "Desconocido Soy" sung completely in Spanish. Where does all this lead?

No longer a hit machine, Byrne focuses instead on new musical horizons. He keeps his legions of dedicated fans interested by experimentation, some more interesting than others but overall largely successful. "Grown Backwards" should not only further engage his drooling and virulent fans, but add numbers to his scattered flocks of followers. Delicious strings dominate the album. Not sythesizer strings, but real strings in the form of the Tosca Quartet (who also toured with him). Byrne's past experiments with string quartets find juicy fruit here. Years of sculpting Latin and South American rhythms also find their place here amidst mostly meditative but powerful beats. Byrne claimed (on BBC radio) that his approach for this album differed greatly from the past. Instead of pounding out songs by turning guitar lines and spoken in tongue phrases into fully developed songs, Byrne began with lyrics.
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Format: Audio CD
GROWN BACKWARDS is a great album for Byrne fans and I think Talking Heads fans who haven't followed Byrne's solo career very closely, should jump on the wagon and take a few close listens to what is being offered here.
It's a rich, satisfying musical journey encompassing dozens of influences and letting David stretch a little further. It's not a flawless record. Some of the songs fit so well together because there is a little too much restraint and lack of off the wall goofiness on this album. I think the reason for that has something to do with the very serious undertones a few songs carry with them. It's the 911 effect. You hear it in a couple of his songs. Things are a bit more somber now and even when they get a little silly, they recover quickly and sober right back up. It keeps David from self-consciously over-performing and at this point in his career that is a very good thing. In fact he is probably vocally at his peak on this album. I think LOOK INTO THE EYEBALL is still an album that is going to be easier to like and embrace if you are just returning to David Byrne land, but for those of us already here and under his spell, this album is a feast and I like it better today than I did yesterday.
Best cuts include: `The Man Who Loved Beer ` which was written by Donald Charles Book and Kurt Wagner and was apparently inspired by an ancient middle eastern poem which translates into "Debate Between a Man Tired of Life and his Soul"
Byrnes' music is unique. There are hooks and beats you can dance to in many of his songs, but they are not repetitious and change quickly morphing from a driving beat into an arrangement of strings you might hear in a piece of classical music and then right back into driving percussive beats.
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