Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MAD ABOUT IMELDA; in the Strangest Pop Project of the Year, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Have Collaborated on a Double Album of Songs about the Rise and Fall of Mrs Marcos; SOUND CHECK

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MAD ABOUT IMELDA; in the Strangest Pop Project of the Year, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Have Collaborated on a Double Album of Songs about the Rise and Fall of Mrs Marcos; SOUND CHECK

Article excerpt

Byline: David Smyth

THEY'RE the most unlikely trio in pop history: David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Imelda Marcos. The first two have united to write Here Lies Love, a "song cycle" (somewhere between a musical and a concept album) about the latter's rise to power and notoriety over two decades in the Philippines. It's not quite the new Evita -- although New York's Public Theater is reportedly working on it.

Byrne first performed the songs on stage in 2006 at an Australian arts festival, but since then he's developed the cycle and, on 5 April Nonesuch Records releases it as a 22-track double album featuring, among a remarkable line-up of guest vocalists, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright, Steve Earle and Cyndi Lauper.

It also includes a 100-page book in which Byrne explains his motivation for what has been a five-year labour of love. He was fascinated by Marcos's love for disco music -- in the Seventies she had a disco in her New York townhouse and was often seen at Studio 54 -- so he strove to link that sound to her story.

"I imagined that the ecstatic joy and loss of self inherent in a lot of dance music might mirror some of the headiness of a person in power as well as their view of themselves as a living symbolic entity -- so the combination could be a natural one," he says.

He also likes the idea of Here Lies Love as a means of rescuing the album format from the pick'n'mix iTunes ethos. "The more songs you hear in such a sequence, the more accumulated depth and information there is in each one."

Indeed, taken out of context, a few tracks don't sound great. Martha Wainwright's syrupy ballad The Rose of Tacloban is described by Byrne as "quasi-Disney". Its strings and crooning are appropriate to depict the innocent schoolgirl cutting out the faces of magazine models and replacing them with her own, but it wouldn't appeal as an individual download. …

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