David Byrne Starts Making Sense With His New Book: “How Music Works”

by: Kate Messinger

September 20, 2012

David Byrne Talking Heads How Music Works New Wave Music Books Photo: Clayton James Cubitt

David Byrne of the prolific new wave band The Talking Heads has something to say about music. Well, actually, he has a lot to say, and he’s not going to be quick with it. In his new book “How Music Works,” the avant garde musician known for his hypnotically bizarre stage presence and esoteric lyrics takes a critical eye at the music industry of today. Byrne writes about the changes that have come with the influx of technology in the last few decades, how the “scenes” that defined the time of The Talking Heads have decayed and how music now has become formulaic. It is music theory with a dystopian edge, with some personal anecdotes of a new wave rock star. But Byrne believes there is a change coming that will go against what the music industry has become and bring about a much needed revolution, and it will come with more arts opportunities in schools and a redefining the structure of music in society to create new scenes.

David Byrne Talking Heads How Music Works New Wave Music Books Photo: Cataling Kulczar

Byrne’s recent collaboration with Annie Clark as St. Vincent is an album that seems to be exactly what he’s looking for in his book. The album itself tells a story and the clashed genres paired with distinctive voices creates an addicting brassy groove that is refreshing and defiantly against the regular pop song formula. Maybe all this music revolution needs is a leader, and I’m pretty sure no one would complain if Byrne took the lead.


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