Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Today’s music(-related) video

In which David Byrne talks about his love for music, and his opinion that lyrics are overrated.

As someone who has been listening to Byrne’s lyrics for more than 30 years, I agree with him that it’s often the sound of lyrics (his lyrics, anyway), that’s more important than the meaning. That’s because the songs he’s done both with and without Talking Heads have been largely connotational rather than denotional — they connote a certain mood or situation, most often: a rootless anxiety. (Or, sometimes, a quirky sort of hope.) This displacement from his surroundings puts him squarely in the tradition of postmodern artists where, of course, meaning is less important than immediate impact. Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf and William Burroughs and Donald Barthelme were usually more interested in transmitting a feeling than telling a story. And that sounds like a close approximation of what David Byrne does in his songs.

Thanks to Paul Crist for alerting me to this video.

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