Byrne also unveiled the animated video for the album’s first single “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” co-written by longtime collaborator Brian Eno and featuring contributions from Sampha, TTY and Onyx Collective’s Isaiah Barr.
The track glides along on a polyrhythmic groove that has become a stalwart of Byrne’s work, with the singer delivering lines like “I welcome you to my house / You didn’t have to go far / A house and a garden / There are plants and trees / Make a closer inspection if you get down on your knees” with his inimtable intonation.
Byrne said of American Utopia in a statement, “These songs don’t describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world—the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves—well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way? These songs are about that looking and that asking.”
American Utopia, due out March 9th through Nonesuch Records, marks Byrne’s first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards. Since then, the Talking Heads mastermind has released album-length collaborations with Brian Eno, St. Vincent and Fatboy Slim.
For the LP, Byrne worked with a fleet of in-demand producers, including Eno, Rodaidh McDonald, Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), Jack Pinate, Jam City and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman). The album was recorded in Byrne’s home studio in New York City as well as studios in New York and London.
“This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses. Sometimes to describe is to reveal, to see other possibilities. To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step,” Byrne continued. “The songs are sincere—the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. The description, the discontent and the desire—I have a feeling that is what these songs touch on.”
The singer will support American Utopia with a spring tour that will feature “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense,” Byrne previously stated. While the first slate of U.S. dates have already sold out, Byrne promises to add “extensive” additional shows to the itinerary, including gigs at festivals like Coachella and Shaky Knees.
The album boasts artwork by outsider artist Purvis Young. American Utopia is available to preorder now ahead of its March 9th release date. Fans who purchase through the Nonesuch store will receive “an exclusive print facsimile of an early handwritten lyric sheet” to “Everybody’s Coming to My House” as well as an instant download of the track.
American Utopia Track List
1. “American Utopia”
2. “I Dance Like This”
3. “Gasoline And Dirty Sheets”
4. “Every Day Is A Miracle”
5. “Dog’s Mind”
6. “This Is That”
7. “It’s Not Dark Up Here”
9. “Doing The Right Thing”
10. “Everybody’s Coming To My House”