David Byrne: Danny Clinch
May 23, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Look Into the Eyeball

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David Byrne

On his new album, ”Look Into the Eyeball,” ex- Talking Head David Byrne crossbreeds musical genres with abandon. And you may ask yourself: How did he get there? For the answer, we tallied the influences in some of the songs.

Cole Porter’s ”So In Love” + Bebel Gilberto’s ”August Day Song” = Track 9, ”Smile,” which has strings written by Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso’s musical arranger, Jacques Morelenbaum.

Ricky Martin’s ”Shake Your Bon-Bon” ? (his bon-bon x Los Fabulosos Cadillacs) = Track 7, ”Desconocido Soy,” which features Ruben Albarran (a.k.a. NRÜ) of the Mexican rock group Café Tacuba, who also collaborated with Byrne on the ”Red Hot + Latin” CD. ”It sort of ended up being in Spanish,” says Byrne of his first foray into foreign language crooning. ”I tried writing it in English and it didn’t sound right.”

The O’Jays’ ”Love Train” + The Three Degrees’ ”TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” = Tracks 4 (”Like Humans Do”) and 8 (”Neighborhood”), which are arranged by Thom Bell, patriarch of the Gamble-Huff Philly soul sound. But ”Humans” began as a go-go loop.

Tom Waits’ ”The Black Rider” + George Jones’ ”The Grand Tour” = Tracks 2 and 6 The lyrics on ”The Accident” are inspired by Jones’ heartbreaker. ”The Revolution” emerged from a bossa nova lick Byrne was learning on the guitar: ”Then I thought, ‘It sounds more like a Kurt Weill ”Threepenny Opera” kind of thing.”’ So he asked Greg Cohen, who composed parts of Waits’ rock opera ”The Black Rider,” to score the ”dreamy but dissonant” strings and bassoon parts on both tunes.

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