Albums to watch

American Utopia

David Byrne

American Utopia

First solo album from the former Talking Heads forntman since 2004 includes collaborations from Brian Eno, St. Vincent and Fatboy Slim

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  1. 8.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    On 2001's "Broken Things," Byrne repeatedly asks for someone to fix him, to help him; this idea is subverted seventeen years later: it's not just about Byrne anymore, it's about all of us and the world we live in
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  2. 8.0 |   Earbuddy

    David Byrne is so completely devoid of self-awar?eness or irony that these songs win you over with their sentimentality
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  3. 8.0 |   music OMH

    American Utopia is epic, it’s sprawling, it’s filled with everything but the kitchen sink, but most of all, it’s filled with promise
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  4. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    An album this strong, delivered this late into an artist’s career, would usually be given an ugly tag like “return to form” or something equally crass. However, in Byrne’s case, it’s simply a continuation of what has been – and will hopefully continue to be – a glittering career full of highlights and continuations of form
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  5. 8.0 |   Clash

    A well-timed treat delivered by one of music's most beloved eccentrics. Go explore
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  6. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Byrne filters grace, wonder and apocalyptic portent through his fractured world view. Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   Q

    Remains as playful and brilliant as ever. Print edition only

  8. 8.0 |   NME

    It’s melodic, goofy and very quirky
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  9. 8.0 |   The Arts Desk

    You don’t always have to go all angst-ridden and minor key to convey concern at the state of the world
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  10. 8.0 |   The Music

    It's a bunch of seemingly disparate influences and elements that make 'American Utopia' one of those albums in which you'll keep finding new things
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  11. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    American Utopia is part of a wider multimedia project entitled Reasons to be Cheerful, named after the classic Ian Dury song, which does exactly what it says in the tin
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  12. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    10 enormously enjoyable ponderings on modernity and the human condition, set to a sort of cerebral calypso
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  13. 7.9 |   Paste Magazine

    Cerebral, but with an irresistible beat; and exuberant, but in a way that is self-contained
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  14. 7.5 |   A.V. Club

    Utopia’s a nice thing to believe in, but it’s just an idea. So is America. What lingers is tangible, and personal, and here
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  15. 7.5 |   Consequence Of Sound

    The former Talking Head paints a chaotic and contradictory America
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  16. 7.4 |   Gig Soup

    There are moments of gloom and uncertainty, but ‘American Utopia’ turns the road to nowhere into the road to hope
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  17. 7.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    A warm statement from one of pop’s odder luminaries
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  18. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Boasts some of the most exciting music Byrne has made in years
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  19. 7.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    With it’s broadly uplifting melodies, and quizzical lyrics, ‘American Utopia’ offers listeners a little escapism rather than biting satire or concrete solutions
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  20. 7.0 |   Uncut

    Left to his own devices, Byrne comes home to a screwball hymnal mode that, for all the lyrical left turns, can feel a little too predictable. Print edition only

  21. 6.5 |   The 405

    American Utopia is an album that is inquisitive not just about the world of today but of music’s power to transport and uplift us
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  22. 6.0 |   Record Collector

    American Utopia is not quite as good as we’d all really love it to be. However, its quality of thought, emotional intelligence and sense of fun is remarkable. Thank heavens pop stars like David Byrne are still here and working
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  23. 6.0 |   Exclaim

    In its best moments, the record is an uplifting antidote to troubled times. But that uplift comes at the expense of a deeper meaning, more distraction than catharsis
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  24. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    American Utopia is the sound of one of pop's idiosyncratic voices continuing to follow his wayward muse
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  25. 6.0 |   The FT

    It has taken precisely 50 seconds for Byrne’s American Utopia to turn into a strangely entertaining dystopia
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  26. 6.0 |   The Observer

    Songs like Every Day Is a Miracle skew largely towards the bright side – a mature and thoughtful reaction to the despair felt by many in the wake of Trump’s presidency
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  27. 6.0 |   DIY

    Much like the United States itself right now, ‘American Utopia’ isn’t a complete paradise
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  28. 6.0 |   American Songwriter

    Repeated plays help the melodies cohere but considering the gap between 2004’s Grown Backwards and this often disjointed, intermittently engaging set, the long awaited venture from one of modern rock’s most eclectic and hardworking architects is disappointing
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  29. 5.8 |   Pitchfork

    David Byrne’s first true solo album in 14 years is daring and open-hearted. The risks Byrne takes on these songs, however, too often feel clumsy or gaudy
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  30. 5.5 |   Under The Radar

    Whilst there are flashes of intriguing and exciting music on here, these moments aren't enough to convince anyone listening that the project is a complete success.
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  31. 4.0 |   The Independent

    It makes for an irritatingly condescending experience
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  32. 4.0 |   The Guardian

    Byrne is too instinctive a songwriter to ever totally miss the mark, and his melodic gifts certainly haven’t left him – but this album often tends towards a ghastly dystopia of kitsch
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