I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again – I’m a sucker for David Byrne. I fell in love with The Talking Heads way back in high school when an art teacher gave me her beat up old copies of Fear of Music and Remain in Light. I listened to them non stop that night on my crappy stereo (that had a blown out speaker) and thought to myself that this teacher was the hippest woman alive. She turned me onto a cool NY sound that clearly meant she was spending some killer late nights down at CBGBs or The Elbow Room – no doubt searching out some new sounds that she’d surely share with her students the next day. It was the first time I ever thought of a school teacher having an interesting life outside of those cold lead painted walls and their “hang in there” posters. That hip facade soon faded away the next day when she asked for the tapes back. The one night parting clearly triggered some hardcore separation anxiety in her that I’d be foolish to fight. I would pretty much sleep during her class and she never seemed to care. Because of this I figured she had a lot more leverage than me when it came to negotiating for ownership. I needed my sleep. I dubbed them that day and continued sleeping during the rest of the year in her class. It was first period ceramics – we both had low expectations about what we’d be getting out of our time together. She was on the receiving end of some truly shoddy clay molding (“it’s a snake!”) and I took away a love for David Byrne and the Talking Heads.
Since then I’ve been an avid listener of theirs. A few years later I would watch “True Stories” on a loop at the video store I worked at, much to the chagrin of all of my co-workers. I couldn’t help it. I thought (and still think) that the Talking Heads music was something special. After their break up the band toured as “the Heads” sans Byrne while he put out a handful of uneven records. It wasn’t till his last album, a collaboration with Brain Eno, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today that I came back to check out his sound. That album was a warm blend of folksy tracks, gospel tinges, and soaring Byrne vocals. It (along with his collaboration with the Dirty Projectors on Dark Was the Night) was everything I always loved about the Talking Heads..but yet oddly different. Obviously I became pretty giddy when today I realized that he would be releasing a new double disc album this April. I was hoping for more of the same sound from his collaboration with Eno. Big mistake. David Byrne likes to zig when you zag. Eno was gone. In his place was Norman Cook. You might know him better as FatBoy Slim. This didn’t scare me off. I know it’s not cool to say you like Fat Boy Slim…but I refuse to turn my back on the man who brought us “Praise You” and “GangsTa Trippin’.” Fatboy Slim, if anything, was a man of the people. He was just giving us what 1998 was asking for. Flash forward 12 years and ask David Byrne and FatBoy Slim what 2010 is asking for? You might be surprised with what the answer is. I know I was.
Q: What is the year 2010 asking to hear?
A: Here Lies Love is a 22 song double-disc concept album centered around the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos. Yep, you read that right. 22 songs about the Philippines’ most notorious shoe whore. Like I said David Byrne likes to keep you guessing. This surreal high concept album is meant to really delve into the life of Marcos…even creating song titles and lyrics from exact quotes from the woman herself. By doing so he’s challenged the audience to “get inside the head of the person…and understand what made them tick.”
The album was originally conceived as a touring club/musical theater piece. The “showy” narrative definitely takes hold of the project on the second track and continues till the very end with “Why Don t You Love Me.” Be warned this will be a commitment for listeners as it is supposed to be digested as one whole piece. I was scared at first but the beauty of this project is felt right upon listening to the lead track, “Here Lies Love” thanks in part to the gorgeous guest vocals of Flo Welch (Florence and the Machine). She roped me in. I’m in love with that ginger song bird. There are lots more guests on board here to provide proper character voices. Byrne, of course, goes as eclectic with his casting as he does in his project choices by selecting vocalists such as Cyndi Lauper, Santigold, Tori Amos, Sharon Jones (Dap Kings), Sia, and St. Vincent.
Ke$ha must have been busy…
My only complaint is that there’s not enough David Byrne here. His vocals are only featured on two tracks. I need more David Byrne out of a David Byrne album damn it! Now I’m the one suffering from separation anxiety.
I need a fix. Time to play The BPA’s “Toe Jam”
Highlights: “Here Lies Love”, “Seven Years”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, “Please Don’t”, “A Perfect Hand”
1. “Here Lies Love” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Florence Welch (Florence & The Machine)
2. “Every Drop Of Rain” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Candie Payne & St. Vincent
3. “You’ll Be Taken Care Of” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Tori Amos
4. “The Rose Of Tacloban” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Martha Wainwright
5. “How Are You?” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Nellie McKay
6. “A Perfect Hand” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Steve Earle
7. “Eleven Days” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Cyndi Lauper
8. “When She Passed By” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Allison Moorer
9. “Walk Like A Woman” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Charmaine Clamor
10. “Dont You Agree?” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Roisin Murphy
11. “Pretty Face” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Camille
12. “Ladies In Blue” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Theresa Andersson
1. “Dancing Together” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Sharon Jones
2. “Men Will Do Anything” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Alice Russell
3. “The Whole Man” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Kate Pierson
4. “Never So Big” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Sia
5. “Please Don’t” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Santi White (Santigold)
6. “American Troglodyte”
7. “Solano Avenue” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Nicole Atkins
8. “Order 1081″ – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Natalie Merchant
9. “Seven Years” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond)
10. “Why Don t You Love Me?” – By David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Tori Amos & Cyndi Lauper