|Studio album by|
|Released||March 9, 2018|
|David Byrne chronology|
American Utopia is the tenth studio album by British-American rock musician David Byrne, released on March 9, 2018 through Todo Mundo and Nonesuch Records. The release is his first true solo studio album since 2004's Grown Backwards, and serves as a musical component of a larger multimedia project titled Reasons to Be Cheerful, which attempts to spread positivity. Byrne announced the album and posted its lead single, "Everybody's Coming to My House", online on January 8, 2018. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.
The album is part of a larger multimedia project titled Reasons to Be Cheerful which aims to give reasons for being happy and optimistic in spite of political strife and environmental problems. The title is derived from the Ian Dury song "Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3".
|The A.V. Club||B|
|The Daily Telegraph|||
American Utopia received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 72 based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The Arts Desk's Howard Male gave the album a positive review calling it a "a muscular and quirky return to form". Erik Adams of The A.V. Club gave the album a B, calling the album an uneven "mixed bag" but praising the album's themes.
American Utopia became Byrne's first solo top 10 album on the Billboard 200, debuting at No. 3 with the equivalent of 63,000 copies sold in the United States.
See also: American Utopia (film)
The release of the album was backed by a world tour that lasted from March to November 2018. The elaborate concert featured an empty stage surrounded by metal chains and a cast of twelve musicians (including Byrne himself) wearing identical gray suits. Cutting-edge technology in wireless audio, MIDI, lighting and real-time tracking was used to totally untether the musicians from any cables, allowing free movement and complex choreography like in Byrne's previous tours. In addition to songs from American Utopia, the setlist incorporated material from Byrne's solo catalogue, several hits by Talking Heads and a cover of Janelle Monáe's "Hell You Talmbout".
In September 2019, an altered version of the concert was previewed at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. It now featured small changes to the setlist and to the structure to achieve a format closer to that of a musical stage production. It premiered on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre in previews on October 4, 2019 and officially on October 20, closing on February 16, 2020. It was set to return to the Hudson for another limited engagement in September 2020, but this was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new six-month run started on September 17, 2021, now at the St. James Theatre.
A cast recording of the production titled American Utopia on Broadway was released in 2019 and received a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album nomination. A documentary/concert film version of the Broadway production was directed by Spike Lee and released in late 2020, on HBO.
An homonymous picture book was released in late 2020, intended to be a companion piece to the Broadway show. The book includes words and lyrics by Byrne and illustrations by Maira Kalman.
All tracks are written by David Byrne and Brian Eno, except where noted.
|1.||"I Dance Like This"||3:33|
|2.||"Gasoline and Dirty Sheets"||3:19|
|3.||"Every Day Is a Miracle"||4:46|
|5.||"This Is That" (Byrne, Daniel Lopatin)||4:31|
|6.||"It's Not Dark Up Here"||4:10|
|8.||"Doing the Right Thing"||3:38|
|9.||"Everybody's Coming to My House"||3:29|
|10.||"Here" (Byrne, Lopatin)||4:13|
|11.||"I Zimbra" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018) (Byrne, Eno, Hugo Ball)||3:12|
|12.||"Every Day Is a Miracle" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018)||4:49|
|13.||"Everybody's Coming to My House" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018)||3:44|
|14.||"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018) (Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth)||4:54|
|15.||"Dog's Mind" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018)||2:57|
|16.||"Toe Jam" (Live From Kings Theatre, September 2018) (Byrne, Dylan Mills)||3:43|
Personnel according to David Byrne's homepage.