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Strange Angels

Laurie Anderson

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Album Review

Laurie Anderson's third proper studio album, coming over five years after 1984's Mister Heartbreak (1986's Home of the Brave was a film soundtrack), is a near-total departure from anything she had done before or, indeed, anything she did after. The most purely musical of Anderson's albums and the one on which she does the most actual singing (though her trademark deadpan spoken-word passages are still present and accounted for), Strange Angels seems to be Anderson's idea of a straightforward pop album. Of course, given Anderson's pedigree, this is not Whitney Houston territory; the closest parallel would be Joni Mitchell's more experimental, post-Mingus work: pretty but chilly, with a certain emotional distance even on the most immediately appealing songs (in this case, the thrilling "Babydoll" and the dreamy title track). There appears to be no underlying concept to the album, although the lyrical themes of three of the songs are explicitly taken from 19th century American literature. The musical arrangements are remarkably complex and feature cameos from not only Anderson's usual collaborators (Adrian Belew, David Van Tieghem, etc.) but also a motley crew ranging from jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin to session keyboardist Robbie Kilgore. As a result, the songs are sometimes a little too busy, but Anderson manages to remain the center of attention throughout. An album on which longtime Anderson fans tend to be divided, Strange Angels is a perfect introduction for anyone who might find the deadpan surrealism of Big Science or United States I-IV a bit much.

Customer Reviews

A absolute joy!

I have been streaming this on Spotify since I first discovered it. But this week Taylor Swift's move from Spotify opened my eyes, and I came here to buy it, realizing that I need to fully support the artists that I discover and love. Never would have thought Swift would in any way be connected to Anderson, but despite the differences of all musicians, all of them deserve the true support of their fans!

#taylorswiftsentme

Oooooooooh!

This is a great album. I admit that it's not many people's sort of style, considering all the craples of crap they play on the radios these days, but it's great. 'Monkey's Paw' offers a great tune, and Laurie Anderson's slow talking voice allows the words to really echo. The various instruments are only masked well by the black and white album cover, leaving it like a little 'private world in the night'. She's cool.
It's great when you're alone at night and are in a little mood to break out into song.
I brush my teeth to it every morning.

Biography

Born: June 5, 1947 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After briefly entering the mainstream pop radar in 1981 with her lone hit "O Superman," Laurie Anderson enjoyed a public visibility greater than virtually any other avant-garde figure of her era. Her infrequent forays into rock aside, Anderson nevertheless remained firmly grounded within the realm of performance art, her ambitious multimedia projects encompassing not only music but also film, visual projections, dance, and — most importantly — spoken and written language, the cornerstone...
Full Bio
Strange Angels, Laurie Anderson
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