On Here Lies Love, David
Byrne is thinking beyond the shoes
. The two-disc collaboration with
Fatboy Slim is Byrne’s homage to Imelda Marcos, the notorious former
First Lady of the Philippines — known for her rise from extreme poverty
to extreme power, and remembered for her corruption and extravagance.
(Supposedly, she had 3,000 pairs of shoes.) On this concept album,
Byrne and Slim compose a drama — sketching scenes from Marcos’s
childhood, courtship with Ferdinand Marcos, rocky marriage, political
life and eventual exile from her home country. Some of the most
powerful female singers living today (St. Vincent, Tori Amos, Florence
Welch, Sharon Jones, Natalie Merchant), help pound out of youthful,
discotheque beats of the irst disc. But Imelda’s emotions seem less
genuine as she ages, and the biographical conceit feels played out by
Disc Two. It’s hard to feel sympathy for a fallen dictatress.