Song of the Day #1,786: ‘Marching Through the Wilderness’ – David Byrne

reimomoDavid Byrne’s first proper solo album, 1989’s Rei Momo, remains his best.

He has released five since (not counting several albums he released in partnership with other artists) but that initial blend of his signature art pop with Caribbean and Latin rhythm tracks hasn’t been topped.

A year before Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints, Byrne mined similar musical territory with equally strong (if less celebrated) results.

‘Marching Through the Wilderness’ is one of the best songs on Rei Momo. It’s the perfect mix of Talking Heads quirkiness in the verses and a chorus that truly soars.

Yeah, we are the noise
The noise between stations
Yeah it’sa kinda strange
Oh boy! A strange situation

I walk like a building
I never get wet
I’m looking at ladies
I’m talking like men

I don’t work for the city
I don’t work for the state
It’s none ‘a’ your business
I’m doin’ all right

Marching through the wilderness
Crying out for tenderness
They call me Mr. Pitiful
But everything is wonderful

I’m working real steady
I’m working real hard
I’m building a monster
In my backyard

Money doesn’t matter
Babies never lie
I’m going in the out door
I’m doing all right

Marching through the wilderness
Crying out for tenderness
They call me Mr. Pitiful
But everything is wonderful

I walk like a building
I never get wet
I’m looking at ladies
I’m talking like men

Marching through the wilderness
Crying out for tenderness
They call me Mr. Pitiful
But everything is wonderful

Marching through the wilderness
Crying out for tenderness
They call me Mr. Pitiful
But everything is wonderful

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,786: ‘Marching Through the Wilderness’ – David Byrne

  1. Dana says:

    So glad the random iTunes fairy landed on this song as it reminded me how great this album is. The song and the album as a whole work so well for so many reasons, but i agree with you that what is particularly compelling is the incongruity between the world music sound and Byrne’s quirky vocal delivery.

    David Byrne, like Paul Simon, holds a place in my musical genius club. Byrne, however, unlike Simon, never had the wide commercial mainstream appeal of Simon, which explains why this album did not have the same impact as Graceland.

    Like Elvis Costello (another one in my musical genius club), Byrne briefly flirted with commercial success with the Talking Heads’ Little Creaturues album just as Costello did with Punch the Clock. Ultimately, though, both followed their musical muse to other compelling, but less commercial, directions. I suppose Simon did that as well, but he had built up far more mainstream commercial cache before venturing into world music on Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Then again, even Simon has had lukewarm commercial success as he has continued to eschew mainstream music, so I guess commercial cache only gets you so far (basically through Graceland but not beyond) even if you are Paul Simon.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Lately I have not been able to hear the music as it says various things like my video player is too small or an error has occurred. I am not saying this as a tragic figure. Just an explanation as to my lack of comments. Still enjoy reading the lyrics and your views though.

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    Are there more in the musical genius category, Dana?

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