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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 11 April 2010
This is a worthwhile listen. David Byrne's work is always interesting, but this is very listenable also. Although there is a different singer on each track, the album flows as a continuous piece of work, the mixture of beats and real instrumentation works well. The deluxe package is worth it only if you want the extras, the six videos are well cut & are a bit of a nostalgia trip. My only complaint is that I feel I paid too little for this immense package that clearly took a lot of work to produce.
Now Mr Byrne needs to release a DVD of his last tour and I'll be happy. He's got the footage, some of it appeared on a recent BBC programme about Brian Eno.
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on 28 May 2013
Two clever guys at work here with the help of a bevy of classy female vocal stars and Steve Earle thrown in as the token male vocalist. Charts the rise of Imelda Marcos through the eyes of a close friend and confidante. Just the sought of quirky tale that would interest David Byrne. The booklet is put together with a love for the subject and is great to look at and read. I have not stopped playing it since it arrived. If you like Mr Byrne and his world vibes with a nice bit of electronica thrown in by that not so fat boy Norman, then I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 4 May 2010
I must admit I approached this album with some trepidation. After all 22 songs about Imelda Marcos didn't sound much like fun. How wrong I was!

David Byrne has clearly written this as a musical and he has achieved this magnificently using a mixture of dance music, catchy pop, and show tunes to create a very accessible and enjoyable musical that could run in the West End for years. It has all the right ingredients, lovely melodies, catchy arrangements and witty and perceptive lyrics. Andrew Lloyd Weber would probably have dragged 3 or 4 musicals out of this strong collection of tunes!

David Byrne has allocated the songs to a comprehensive range of mostly female singers including Florence Welch, Martha Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, Roisin Murphy, Santigold and Natalie Merchant. This tactic works wonderfully as the voices have been picked to fit the songs and the singers are clearly enjoying themselves and put in great performances. David Byrne only sings on a couple of tracks towards the end of song cycle but he does give himself the "Talking Head" like song "American Troglodyte".

Most of the music is very catchy, melodic and upbeat although the mood gradually darkens on the second CD as the story unfolds. Fat Boy Slim has been brought in to work on the production and give the songs the dance/pop/disco feel that David Byrne wanted and this works very well.

This is not a typical David Byrne album and it may not appeal to some of his usual fans but if you enjoyed Mamma Mia, Evita, or Saturday Night Fever and like melodic catchy and haunting songs with witty lyrics then this is too good to miss. So don't be put off thinking this is too esoteric or difficult. Hopefully someday this will be put on as a show or a musical film and reach a wider audience. It deserves to be heard.
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on 13 April 2010
I couldn't agree with A McKenzie more. David Byrne has rarely put a foot wrong since his early days at CBGB's and this is no different. He is up there in terms of creativity over a long time with the likes of Bowie.....but more interesting.
YES he should put out a DVD of the Everything that happens tour; I saw him twice, the second time as a guest of one of the band in Barcelona and that tour was the "must see" gig of 2008/09

If you only know DB from Talking Heads do yourself a favour - BUY THIS
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on 12 November 2009
I flew to New York to see 'Here Lies Love' performed live at Carnegie Hall (I was also able to see DB perform 'Music For The Knee Plays' 2 days earlier). It was worth the trip. The 2 female singers were amazing (as were DB and his band) and the 2 1/2 hours flew by. I can't wait for the album to come out. Brilliant!
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on 6 February 2012
I have followed David Byrne for years and am constantly amazed at his depth. This concept album is no exception. Knowing it was a concept album I was sure to read the insert before playing the CD. Had I not done this it would have been very fragmented and difficult to follow. The music is a theatrical piece of people I had only vaguely remembered as a child of the 1980s. The 2 CDs have not left my car CD changer since purchase. I can't see myself tiring of it anytime soon either. My daughters, 8 and 10, are just as thrilled with the music as I am. I have purchased for my 11 niece and sister too.
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on 6 November 2010
This is excellent, who would have thought a song cycle about Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpass featuring a cast of hundreds (well about twenty) would be so enjoyable. It's melodic, dancey in places and even though there's so many vocalists the joins don't show and you could almost think the songs are sung by the same two or three people. Sharon Jones does stand out for me because she injects some soul into the proceedings. There are great songs here and the narrative joins up.

I obviously bought this because it is a David Byrne collaborative album. However, if someone had played this to me blindfolded I would have no idea that it was composed by David Byrne (American Troglodyte and it's Moroderesque bassline touches not withstanding)just that it was a superior piece of work. There is enough variation across the album with some songs featuring orchestral or horn arrangements. Some of the songs are quite funky and some are disco(ish).

The production is perfect for the material and I didn't find it clunky whatsoever. In fact I was hardly aware of it. Sometimes you just want to listen to a song without wondering where the snare drum sound came from, where the drum loops were recycled from, or what synthesisers were used

However, I feel I have to address the disco, not disco question dredged up elsewhere. Does it matter if some tunes are disco or not. Is disco still a dirty word in certain quarters? At the risk of being labelled alongside other reviewers here as well meaning but misguided my ears tell me that several of the songs here do in fact feature approximations of disco rhythms and arrangements (Don't You Agree, Every Drop Of Rain, How Are You) some of which had already existed for several years before Saturday Night Fever came along and some of which were recycled in the eighties. And this is palpably not modern day electronica, it wouldn't have been modern day electronica 20 years ago never mind today, in fact it's not electronica at all. I will admit the last couple of years has seen numerous artists going all eighties retro and filching bits and pieces of synth pop and revisiting the early days of timecoding, hardware sequencers, Roland microcomposers ,MIDI,almost affordable polysynths and who knows what else but with the security blanket of modern DAWs. So whilst the production here might be in tune with a general trend it's a million miles away from the cutting edge of electronic/computer music. But then again I don't think for a minute that David Byrne and Norman Cook wanted this to be at the cutting edge of anything.

This is a sequence of songs that works as a whole. This is superb, it certainly surprised me. This is one the albums of 2010.
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on 12 June 2010
OK, before yet another enthusiastic but misguided reviewer mistakenly labels this as a disco collection, I thought I'd better jump in and set the record straight: This is not disco.

Andrea True Connection is disco. Silver Convention is disco. Donna Summer is disco (well, mostly anyway).

And while the original concept may have been to set this album in a Studio 54 environment, only one track--"Ladies In Blue"--has that 70's Saturday Night Fever disco sound. The rest of the tracks are pure modern-day electronica (except Steve Earle's & Martha Wainwright's, which are also the weakest overall). Fatboy Slim aka Norman Cook is one of the world's foremost electronic musician/composer/DJ/producers, so most of this set contains his expected samples, breaks & beats. In fact, I'd say the overall success of this project is due largely to Norman's involvement (sorry David). Really.

Of the twenty-two tracks, only four are just so-so: the aforementioned Steve Earle & Martha Wainwright tracks, the Natalie Merchant (sorry Natalie) and the David Byrne/Shara Worden duet. David's vocals just aren't up to the level of the ladies on this project (sorry again, David).

That leaves eighteen exceptional tracks, which let's face it, pretty much never happens, and why this album is likely to do the Grammy thing as well as land on everyone's Best Of 2010 lists (including mine).

The real standouts for me (starting with most favorite) are:

1. Dancing Together (Sharon Jones) - Sharon is flat-out phenomenal in everything she does. Period. This track is a funk tour-de-force and is worth the purchase price alone.

2. Eleven Days (Cyndi Lauper) - Radio-friendly, catchy with superb performance by Cyndi. One of her two best vocals in decades (the other being 2007's "Early Bird" with Erasure).

3. The Whole Man (Kate Pierson) - What? She's in her 60's? Unbelievable. Kate sounds as fresh and young as the day the B-52s stepped into the studio to record "Rock Lobster".

4. Men Will Do Anything (Alice Russell) - An amazing performance by this under-appreciated UK soul powerhouse. If there were any justice in the world of music, Alice Russell would be on everyone's iPod. Yes, she's that good.

5. Don't You Agree? (Roisin Murphy) - I've been a fan of Roisin (pronounced Ro-Shen) since her days with Moloko. Check out her "Ruby Blue" album for a truly inspired, bizarre, left-of-center electronica experience.
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on 25 July 2010
If this album had not been recommended by Tom Morton (daily afternoon (1400-1600)show on Radio Scotland - essential listening) I would not have bought it and probably wouldn't have heard of it)). It is very, very good. There are flavours of 'Evita' about it, but the cast list, diversity of styles and production values have resulted in it being a permanent resident on my player.
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on 21 August 2014
Absolutely brilliant music, lyrics, concept. Took some getting into as i couldnt feel the Byrne and Fatboy conection imediately but all forgiven now, cant stop playing it... Bring on the next collaboration. Thank you
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