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Laurie Anderson - Strange Angels CD (album) cover


Laurie Anderson


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The very personal American artist Laurie Anderson made an impressive entrance into the music scene with her bravely avantish/minimalistic single 'O Superman' in 1981. The song was included in her debut album Big Science (1982). By the way, the second album Mister Heartbreak (1984) includes 'Excellent Birds', the collaboration with Peter Gabriel that also appeared as a CD bonus track of Gabriel's album So (1986). Anderson's third studio album Strange Angels (1989) is among her most accessible works, sonically here and there bordering on sleeky cheesiness. It contains songs with a relatively "normal" structure on the Anderson scale, such as the title track opening the album.

'Strange Angels' is a peaceful and soft-sounding song which indeed could be described as "a charming pop ballad", to cite an album review here. Scott Johnson's bright guitar sound is enjoyable, but of course it is Laurie's clear voice that sovereignly dominates the piece, as always. Usually she's stylistically in her own league, approaching if not completely orientating to a spoken word performance instead of melodic singing. This song however is rather melodic, and could be compared to peaceful and relaxed songs by some other female singer-songwriters such as EVA DAHLGREN or JANE SIBERRY in the eighties, although Laurie doesn't get as emotional as those two.

'The Dream Before' was also taken from Strange Angels, and this is a more representative Laurie Anderson track. The tempo is very slow, and the narrative oriented vocals are lightly backed by synth only. Bobby McFerrin adds some deliberately monotonic backing vocals. Musically there's not much going on, but the lyrics interestingly paint the adult lives of siblings known as little kids from a fairy tale told by Brothers Grimm in 1812. "Hansel and Gretel are alive and well and they're living in Berlin. She is a cocktail waitress...." and so on. This single gives a good picture of the album's accessibility which nevertheless deserves to be listened to entirely. Nice, but not Laurie Anderson at her most interesting.

Matti | 3/5 |


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