Here Lies Love: Notes on Fetishizing History

Katrina Angela R. Macapagal

Abstract


This essay examines "Here Lies Love," a concept album based on the life story of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. The album, produced by US-based artist David Byrne, is a fantasy-production of Western imaginary that allows for the fetishization and feminization of history through a sympathetic retelling of Imelda's biography. Through a discussion of the disco-opera genre and representative songs, the essay moreover argues that the album reinforces the myth of Imelda as it contrasts her life story with Estrella Cumpas, the woman who raised Imelda, whose character serves as the album's anti-star. The essay finally contends that Byrne's project dangerously reinforces the myth of Imelda as a fascinating figure of power, as constructed from a distanced Western perspective.

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