David Byrne’s ‘This Is That’ Is A Whimsical Ode To Music And Memory

Jody Rogac

On March 9th, David Byrne will end a 14 year drought between solo album by releasing his latest effort American Utopia. The Talking Heads frontman has already given us a taste of the new record with the first single “Everybody’s Coming To My House” last month, and today he’s decided to give us another one in the form of a brand new song titled “This Is That.”

As you might expect from a song by David Byrne, “This Is That” is stuffed with interesting sonic elements. A lot of backward echo, pinging harpsichord notes, stereo-panning elements, and off-beat drum patterns. The song itself seems to be about how music can trigger not just memories, but longing for the people we used to be close to. “There’s nothing special now / It’s nothing profound / But something about the way it sounds / When the melody ends / And the rhythm kicks in / It knows where I’m at / And it knows where I’ve been.”

In a press release heralding American Utopia, Byrne talked about what lays at the heart of his latest effort. “This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses,” he said. “To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step. The songs are sincere—the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible.”

You can listen to David Byrne’s latest single “This Is That” in the video above.