Live at ACL [2xLP] [Exclusive Yellow]
There are many ways to approach Stop Making Sense, David Byrne and Jonathan Demme's genius work of high-concept theatre-as-concert-film.
On a strictly narrative level, though, the movie traces the trajectory of Byrne's character from an antisocial, cerebral stiff (the opening number "Psycho Killer") to a loosened-up revelrer dancing with abandon to the black music-- the closing Al Green cover "Take Me to the River"-- he's finally learned to embrace. To a degree, that same arc can be applied to Byrne's career itself, as a gradual process of shaking off his aloof, faux-anthropological observational style and embracing humanity, as well as his position right in the thick of it.
Byrne's emotional expansiveness is mirrored in the types of music he chooses, too. At first, his passion for world music-- Fear of Music, Remain in Light, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts-- was as frigid as the skittish guitars on the band's first two records (still wondrous, but cold), but his solo efforts in particular have seen him progress toward acceptance of non-Western cultures on their own terms and, strikingly in some cases, toward assimilation. His 2001 record Look Into the Eyeball was noted by many critics at the time as being perhaps his finest solo work to date, largely due to him shaking off much of his leftover Headsian artifice. At the time, he said: "I was hit with the revelation that I was going to be much less ironic on this record than I've been on others I've done…there would be elements of humor, but overall it would be pretty straight ahead."