David Byrne & Fatboy Slim: “Here Lies Love”

Via New York Post

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim: "Here Lies Love"
New York Post
By Dan Aquilante
6 April 2010

★★★½

Through the eyes of David Byrne, everything and anything can become art. So it's hardly shocking that the one-time frontman for the Talking Heads found inspiration for "Here Lies Love" in the life of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos and the lesser known Estrella Cumpas (the poor servant woman who raised her as a child).

Musically, this song cycle spins in a whirl of world music, funk and disco beats. It's a double-CD package that includes a six-video DVD and a 120-page book that somehow explores Marcos' lust for excess, abuse of power and selfishness without mentioning the woman's vast shoe collection. Still, at the close of this record, while you might not care for Marcos, you'll know her beyond her pumps, mules and flats.

Byrne's unlikely partnership with Fatboy Slim turns out to be a fine marriage. Slim is razor sharp at placing proper beats in the music to recall the late-night '70s New York club scene (of which Marcos was a regular during visits to NYC).

Byrne fans be warned: This project is a total collaborative effort. In addition to Byrne, the vocals are handled by many pop singers -- including Florence Welch, who sings the title song "Here Lies Love," as well as Nellie McKay, Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant, Sharon Jones and others.

If after listening to this epic, operatic collection you're imagining the whole story onstage, you're right on track: The Public Theater is developing a staged version.

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