Here Lies Love

  • Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Apr 6, 2010

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. It's a conceptually fascinating piece, but does it groove? Mostly yes. Though nothing here sounds like a future club hit, and some tracks feel more essential to the album's narrative than others, Here Lies Love has more going for it than museum-piece fascination.
  2. Here Lies Love is a sumptuous two-disc feast of harmony, melody, and Latin-accented grooves that the Studio 54-loving Marcos herself would likely appreciate.
  3. And while the story hangs together quite well, the main impression you are left with is that Byrne and Slim have impeccable taste in female singers.
  4. Luckily, scholarship doesn't eclipse the limber, catchy music and the sheer nuttiness of the whole project.
  5. Here, Byrne's well-plotted tunes can rule, and Norm can keep himself in the background, going against his natural tendency to overstuff.
  6. Q Magazine
    Here Lies Love stacks up as an oddly entertaining, off-beat treat. [May 2010, p.126]
  7. While the relentlessly breezy vibe ?occasionally drifts into numbness, Marcos' story remains fascinating, especially as sung by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, St. Vincent, and Santigold.
  8. That the result is largely "light" listening works against it to a degree, but the idea that such a sound was entirely Byrne's intent forgives even this. It's not often that a purely musical work can make us see a historical figure in a new light, but Here Lies Love is a fascinating exception.
  9. On his collaboration with Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) on the story of Imelda Marcos, Here Lies Love: A Song Cycle About Imelda Marcos & Estrella Cumpas, Byrne gets bogged down in the fertile ground of his boundless imagination.
  10. With multiple narrators voiced by a plethora of singers, it's hard to follow which character is speaking at any given time. Extensive liner notes clear up the confusion, but it feels like a lot of work for an album that's not particularly revelatory in either music or story.
  11. The hitch in the album is the hit-or-miss probability of the listener connecting with the quizzical story, wrought in obscurity.
  12. Here David Byrne turns an unwieldy premise--a musical dramatization of former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos' early life--into dizzy fun by setting 22 songs to Fatboy Slim's lush and bustling dance beats.
  13. The roster's promising and the concept is offbeat enough to be brilliant. The execution? It could have been a lot more inspired. Unless you come to the record already a die-hard fan of each and every one of the guest vocalists, you're going to find yourself skipping around in search of highlights.
  14. Ultimately there are only so many excuses you can make for the fact Here Lies Love isn't an out there masterpiece, merely a somewhat outré easy listening album.
  15. At times, Here Lies Love wobbles as a concept album, and listeners unfamiliar with Marcos' story may not initially understand the lyrical conceits. But it contains enough solid material to justify repeated listens.
  16. Sadly though, the prevalence of mid-tempo, Des'ree-lite ballads and inconsistent quality make this is an exhausting listen over 90 minutes.
  17. Both Byrne and Fatboy Slim have built careers on beats, the imperative of activating the hips as much as the brain, and they touch on everything from salsa to Philadelphia soul on Here Lies Love. But too often the needs of the narrative supersede the music, and too much of "Here Lies Love" falls into midtempo blandness.
  18. Byrne and Slim never misstep here, but they also never surprise. At best you may wind up distantly admiring their craftsmanship.
  19. Under The Radar
    Pleasing yes, divine, occasionally--but Here Lies Love's strengths aren't enough to justify its bloated 22 tracks. [Spring 2010, p.69]
  20. Uncut
    Here Lies Love could do with a lot less reportage and a great deal more drama, melody and wit. If anything, with morem not less, artistsic licence. [Mar 2010, p.99]
  21. Mojo
    As each song features a different vocalist and each is a snapshot, it's difficult to tell which character is singing, to get emotionally involved or to keep up with the story without much refernce to the book. [Apr 2010, p.103]
  22. Marcos' life was all luxury and color, but the songs don't translate. Here Lies Love will play in gay clubs, but for a collaboration between forward-thinkers like Byrne and Cook, it's pretty safe while also having no direction.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 8, 2013
    This is an oddity in my collection, having come upon it from exploring some of Fatboy Slims lesser albums and compilations. Most music used toThis is an oddity in my collection, having come upon it from exploring some of Fatboy Slims lesser albums and compilations. Most music used to be based on stories and musings, so this is a really interesting and refreshing piece. It might not be the thumpiest bass rattling album to pick, but it is an easy to listen to, very flowing and unique album to have among any collection. Full Review »