Song Analysis

Why Don’t You Love Me ?

Wednesday 28 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

"Why Don’t You Love Me?" is the last song of David Byrne’s song cycle Here Lies Love about the life of former Philippines president’s wife, Imelda Marcos. It’s the second song sung by Tori on the record (the other one being "You’ll Be Taken Care Of") and it’s a duet between Imelda (interpreted by Cindy Lauper on this track) and Estrella (Tori), the former housekeeper of Imelda’s family who raised her and her brother during their poor childhood. Estrella was a mother to these children and Imelda’s mother promised her on her deathbed she would be "taken care of" by both her children in return but that never happened.

When Imelda married Marcos, who was elected president soon after, she chose to ignore Estrella, who tried many times over the years to reach her. When Estrella testified (in kind words) about the poor childhood of Imelda (Imelda, her mother, brother and Estrella lived in a garage occupied by a broken-down car) in an unauthorized biography, Imelda got her arrested and placed in a house with a guarded escort to prevent her from talking to the press. Just before Marcos and her had to abdicate, she had Estrella’s house bulldozed as part of a clean-up campaign.

"Why Don’t You Love Me?" happens just after the abdication of the Marcos and the destruction of Estrella’s house. Imelda speaks to the Philippines people and wonders why she lost their love when she gave them "everything" (she saw herself as their holy great mother, to put it this way and with very few exageration) while Estrella wonders why Imelda denied her and their past when she raised her as her own daughter. Their two voices are intertwined but they are separate, in their own worlds, and will never speak again.