David Byrne, Uh-Oh
Jason: Last year I chose David Byrne’s American Utopia as one of the best movies I saw during 2020. As a Talking Heads fan ever since I was a teenager I was certainly aware of their biggest hits (‘Burning Down the House” and “Road To Nowhere”) but I wasn’t overly familiar with lead singer Bryne’s solo projects.
Of course rock fans know the band officially split up in 1991—the year Byrne spent working on his second solo release titled Uh-Oh, officially released in March 1992. Uh-Oh differed from his 1989 solo album Rei Momo which was infused with a Latin/Brazilian flavor. The first track on Uh-Oh, titled *”Now I’m Your Mom” featured a more aggressive Bryne right off the bat with a heavier industrial and studio processed sound than the multicultural previous album. Other tracks such as “Something Ain’t Right”, “She’s Mad”, and “Monkey Man” are equally fierce yet adventurous in combination with Byrne’s Leonard Cohen-ish doomsday lyrics and the lively melodies playing along with him.
However, Uh-Oh’s major strength are the energetic, frisky tracks such as the country-tinged “Girls On My Mind”, “The Cowboy Mambo (Hey Lookit Me Now)”, and “Twistin’ in the Wind.” These tracks sound like they might possibly have been outtakes from the two best Talking Heads albums (Little Creatures and True Stories), yet they are all 100% Byrne. In fact, this album’s best track—“A Million Miles Away”—could possibly be the vocalist’s howling goodbye to the other Heads members. This track (featuring terrific backup vocals from Nona Hendryx, Dolette McDonald, and Joyce Bowden) is so brazen and infections you’ll want to stand up and belt along with the performers. Uh-Oh has been described as the best Non-Heads album of all Byrne’s solo efforts and 30 years later, despite the madness in the lyrics, it hasn’t lost any of its infectious dance spirit.
Those are our recommendations this week! What are yours? Let us know in the comments!