Now Playing – every week, a roundtable of our writers will give their views on one of the recently-released new tracks. It’s as simple as that! If you want to tell us what you think of the song, feel free to leave a comment below.
Track: ‘Who’ by David Byrne and St. Vincent
Average grade: 6.4
James: This is a great idea for a collaboration, if only it was more of a balance. More like a David Byrne ft St. Vincent track – had it been labelled as such I would have probably liked it more but I was constantly waiting for Clark’s ever expanding pedal board to raise its head. Hopefully the album has some St. Vincent AND Byrne work on it. 5/10
Richard: An interesting introduction to this unlikely collaboration; Byrne’s voice has lost something over the years, it’s richer, less anxious, only not as vital, but then again that’s what age does to you. Annie Clark’s vocals are the chocolate syrup over the half-thawed vanilla and in many ways add a sense of intrigue which makes you want to hear more from this odd couple. 6/10
Kenny: With Byrne’s unmistakeable voice and the sort of quirky, slow-dancey beat driven backing that you expect from the more mainstream tunes he involves himself in, plus the enjoyably listenable St. Vincent providing an able foil, this is a pleasant, left-field summer song. Not quite ‘King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ in terms of catchiness but 7/10 all the same for being a near neighbour.
Hayley: The notion of a collaboration between two musical rarities such as David Byrne and St Vincent is exciting in itself but impossible to predict what the end result would be, so I was in a frenzy of curiosity about how this was going to be executed. Wow. Not at all what I expected: R&B elements, pop infused melodies and harmonised vocals, yet it all just makes sense (slight Talking Heads reference there). The jazzy sax laden start to the track is what gives it that addictive, grooving quality, and the somewhat fair approach to splitting vocal and lyrical duties means you get the best of both worlds, although at times Byrne’s voice does overpower St Vincent’s. The array of genre’s all thrown in, mixed up and interpreted in a classic Byrne & Vincent style creates something really rather unique; intrigued to hear the rest from the album. 8/10
Craig: Well if this isn’t a collaboration made in NYC heaven. Horn driven positivity rules the mood of this song – just try not to smile at some point. St. Vincent’s hand is clearly behind the musical arrangements and Byrne’s vocal delivery and staccato beats blend so well with her style that I see a lot of promise for this project. 8/10 in anticipation.
Anna: Even though I like them both separately, I’m not really convinced by this. It sounds like a St. Vincent and Talking Heads mash up rather than a smooth collaboration. Feels like two songs that don’t really go together trying to fit under the umbrella of one song. We shall see about the album. 5/10
Linda: This is the kind of collaboration to get excited about, the kind where 1 artist plus another artist ought to equal more than two. They’ve each got their own styles and experience to contribute and from collaborating, something new and amazing should emerge, of which this track is a first tantalising glimpse. Only that it’s not. Rather, it sounds like a substandard David Byrne track (which is still pretty good) with some rather nice backing vocals. As I really want this album to be amazing, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they need an entire album for their work to blossom. 6/10
Stef: I love his voice, that’s for sure, but I certainly will have to see how the album as a whole pans out. Out of context, this is kind of something that could’ve fitted on that Imelda Marcos double album Byrne did fairly recently, which was hit and miss with many collaborations. Kind of that same percussion/horn vibe here as there. Not that special thing I was hoping for. 6/10