David Byrne is a man who’s managed to notch an impressive array of achievements over the last four decades in the fields of music, film, and writing, but this last week, he finally managed to accomplish a feat that had escaped him for years; he notched his first-ever entry into the Top 10 on Billboard’s album charts.
According to the number-crunchers at the publication, Byrne’s latest album American Utopia sold 63,000 album-equivalent units in the week ending on March 15, which was good enough to land him the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200. To give you a little bit of context, at their absolute height, Byrne’s one-time band, the immensely influential Talking Heads, only ever managed to hit No. 15 on that same chart with 1983’s Speaking In Tongues. His last solo album, Grown Backwards, released 14 years earlier, peaked at No. 178.
For Byrne, this is a tremendous feather in his cap, and a significant validation of what he’s doing at this moment in his career. When I talked to him recently, he relayed what he hopes to accomplish these days, and what his fans can expect from him artistically. “I want them to feel safe that I’m on their side,” he said. “That I’m with you in the sense of being supportive, but I’m also going to surprise you sometimes. You’re going to get some stuff that’s comforting, but you’re also going to get some unexpected surprises.”