Byrne had always explored Afro/Caribbean sounds with Talking Heads (Naked being a great example) but he doubled down on the concept on this album. Every Rei Momo track features a different musical style, which is noted in the track list: cumbia, orisa, salsa, merengue, bomba, rumba, all that good stuff. Today’s SOTD is an example of ‘cha cha cha.’
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.
Through 563 songs I’ve managed to highlight only one David Byrne track and one Talking Heads track, which seems akin to a criminal act. I’ll do my best to make up for that oversight by dedicating a theme week (plus a bonus Monday) to David Byrne’s solo career. And a Talking Heads theme is definitely in the cards down the road.
Following the release of 1988’s Naked, the final Talking Heads album, David Byrne kicked off his solo career with Rei Momo in 1989. I remember picking this album up from a bargain bin on a whim, figuring it might contain some worthwhile music given Byrne’s great work with Talking Heads.