Rei Momo

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Rei Momo
Rei Momo.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 October 1989
GenreLatin music, worldbeat
LabelLuaka Bop, Sire
ProducerDavid Byrne and Steve Lillywhite
David Byrne chronology
The Last Emperor
Rei Momo
The Forest
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]
LA Times3.5 stars[3]

Rei Momo is the second studio album by David Byrne, released on 3 October 1989. The album consists of diverse Latin music styles from Cuba (rumba, mozambique, mambo, chachachá, bolero), the Dominican Republic (merengue), Puerto Rico (bomba), Colombia (cumbia, mapeyé) and Brazil (samba, pagode). This mélange of Latin rhythms is delivered by Byrne with his characteristic witty lyrics, vocal style, arrangements and production.[1] The album is mostly sung in English and features guest appearances by Kirsty MacColl, Willie Colón and Celia Cruz, among others.

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was co-released by Luaka Bop and Sire on 3 October 1989. Initially, the album included three more tracks on the cassette tape than the LP;[1] all songs are present on the compact disc. David Byrne performed "Dirty Old Town" on Saturday Night Live's Thanksgiving show in 1989.


The album was well-received by critics. In a retrospective review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis wrote "Byrne’s first post-Talking-Heads solo album is a cut above and an underrated joy".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by David Byrne; except where indicated.

  1. "Independence Day" – 5:45 (cumbia) (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
  2. "Make Believe Mambo" – 5:23 (orisa) (feat. Kirsty MacColl & Willie Colón)
  3. "The Call of the Wild" (Byrne, Johnny Pacheco) – 4:55 (merengue)
  4. "Dirty Old Town" – 4:12 (mapeyé)
  5. "The Rose Tattoo" (Byrne, Willie Colón) – 3:50 (bomba/mozambique)
  6. "Loco de Amor" (Byrne, Pacheco) – 3:51 (salsa/reggae) (feat. Celia Cruz)
  7. "The Dream Police" – 3:00 (cha cha cha) (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
  8. "Don't Want to Be Part of Your World" – 4:55 (samba) (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
  9. "Marching Through the Wilderness" (Byrne, Pacheco) – 4:30 (charanga) (feat. Milton Cardona)
  10. "Good and Evil" – 4:35 (rumba/llesá)
  11. "Lie to Me" – 3:40 (merengue) (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
  12. "Office Cowboy" (Byrne, Arto Lindsay) – 3:40 (pagode) (feat. Herbert Vianna)
  13. "Women vs Men" – 4:06 (bolero)
  14. "Carnival Eyes" – 4:04 (mapeyé) (feat. Milton Cardona)
  15. "I Know Sometimes a Man Is Wrong" – 3:11

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Worldwide 1989 Luaka Bop/Sire CD 25990
Cassette tape 4-25990
1995 CD 7599-25990-2


  1. ^ a b c Ruhlmann, William. "Rei Momo - David Byrne". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  2. ^ "David Byrne: Rei Momo : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  3. ^ Hochman, Steve (8 October 1989). "Byrne Solos for a New Family of Man : DAVID BYRNE "Rei Momo." Fly/Sire *** 1/2". Retrieved 2 September 2018 – via LA Times.
  4. ^ Petridis, Alexis (14 June 2018). "David Byrne – (almost) all of his albums ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2019.