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'Here Lies Love' is a 22 song double-disc song cycle - improbably poignant, decidedly surreal, surprisingly thought provoking - about the rise and fall of the Philippines' notorious Imelda Marcos. It was conceived by David Byrne; composed by Byrne and British deejay/recording artist Fatboy Slim, a/k/a Norman Cook; and performed by a dream cast drawn from the worlds of indie rock, alt country, R&B and pop.
Byrne's taste in collaborators is as imaginative as it is impeccable, including Cyndi Lauper (who recounts, to lighthearted disco beats, Imelda's courtship with Ferdinand Marcos), Steve Earle (as the power-hungry Ferdinand), Dap-Kings vocalist Sharon Jones (recalling Imelda's introduction into New York society) and Natalie Merchant (as spurned Imelda confidante Estrella, anticipating the onset of martial law). Along with vocals turns from such stars as Tori Amos and the B-52's Kate Pierson, Byrne works with rising indie rockers St. Vincent and My Brightest Diamond; New York chanteuses Nellie McKay and Martha Wainwright; and dance-music divas Roisin Murphy and Santigold. Byrne himself appears as the voice of imperialistic America on 'American Troglodyte' a send-up that wouldn't have seemed out of places in Talking Heads' True Stories.
Byrne originally envisioned this as a musical theatre piece, to be mounted in disco and nightclub settings, reflecting the globe-trotting Marcos' taste for such velvet-roped spots as Studio 54 and Regine's. In 2006, he performed work-in-progress versions to enthusiastic audiences at New York City's Carnegie Hall and the Adelaide Festival in Australia. When more funding for a theatrical version proved elusive, While plans for a U.S. theatrical production continue to evolve, he has delivered this unique recording. 'Here Lies Love' has an effervescent disco feel, redolent of Fatboy Slim's own dance-floor anthems, with warm undercurrents of the Latin rhythms that have percolated through Byrne's recent solo work. The sunny arrangements act in counterpoint to the reality of the Marcos' increasingly repressive regime, reflecting the imagined inner life of the glamour-obsessed Imelda. Explains Byrne, 'For me, the darker side of the excesses are, for the most part, a matter of record. A lot of the audience is going to come with that knowledge already. What's more of a challenge is to get inside the head of the person who was behind all of that, and understand what made them tick.' Byrne offers no judgment and avoids the obvious - there is no mention of Imelda's infamous shoe collection.
Many of Byrne's lyrics are, astonishingly enough, constructed from actual Imelda quotes, including the project's title, the words that Imelda, now returned to the Philippines from U.S.-assisted exile in Hawaii, would like to have inscribed on her gravestone. Byrne generously annotates each song in the CD booklet and illustrates the story with archival photos. In a detailed preface, he reveals what drew him to this subject and the bumpy route he took to launch the project and, ultimately, record this CD. The lavish booklet is indeed a page-turner, just as 'Here Lies Love' is a wonderfully old-school album that rewards start-to-finish listening. Once again, Byrne - beloved as musician, thinker and bicyclist-about-town - reveals the breadth and singularity of his vision.
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim recruit a bevy of talented vocalists for this rendition of their Imelda Marcos musical HERE LIES LOVE. Read morePublished 1 month ago by scoundrel
Nice mixture of music that is perfect for any time of the day!Published 4 months ago by Keith M Bartholomew
Fascinating read into the genesis and creation of this concept album, especially when you compare this to the finalised version in the Original Cast Recording. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jaime
Really enjoy listening to this quirky but fun CD from David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim. Not so great for dancing but good background music for a party.Published 19 months ago by Peter Harrington
Why didn't this CD win all of the Grammy's? Because it is too original and creative and Justin Bieber didn't appear on it or dance in any of the videos. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Samuel Clemens
While I love the first CD in the set, the second CD is somewhat more monotonous and low key. The excitement and drama of the live music when staged at the Public Theatre makes... Read morePublished 24 months ago by anewday
Incredible music and lyrics that tell the remarkable story of the Marcos rise to power in the Philippines. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Jay Johnson
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|A Creepy Paen to a fascist?||
Yes, you're right, I should've left a review also. In short, I'd like to call the sound of this joint production "disco from the 40's", because that's how it sounds to my ears. But I do like it! Don't get me wrong here, what I really like is the different female singers. Tori Amos'... Read More
Jul 4, 2010 by Erik Brickman | See all 5 posts
|Here Lies Love available on NPR Music "First Listen" until April 6||Be the first to reply|