David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make his sole foray into feature-film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life and a distillation of what was in his own idiosyncratic mind. Byrne plays a visitor to Virgil, Texas, who introduces us to the citizens of the town during preparations for its Celebration of Specialness. As shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman, Texas becomes a hyper-realistic late-capitalist landscape of endless vistas, shopping malls, and prefab metal buildings. In True Stories, Byrne uses his songs to stitch together pop iconography, voodoo rituals, and a singular variety show.
True Stories, A Film by David Byrne: The Complete Soundtrack includes twenty-three songs: one previously unreleased version of Talking Heads’ “Dream Operator,” from the film, with Annie McEnroe on lead vocals; three songs from the film that have previously been released only on the Talking Heads sets Dual Brick or Bonus Rarities & Outtakes; five songs from the companion 1986 Talking Heads studio album True Stories; fourteen songs from the 1986 film soundtrack album Sounds from True Stories: Music for Activities Freaks performed by a wide range of artists from Kronos Quartet to Meredith Monk to Pops Staples to John Goodman.