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Laurie Anderson

Crossover Prog

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Laurie Anderson Strange Angels album cover
3.22 | 31 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Strange Angels (3:52)
2. Monkey's Paw (4:35)
3. Coolsville (4:36)
4. Ramon (5:05)
5. Baby Doll (3:38)
6. Beautiful Red Dress (4:44)
7. The Day of the Devil (4:01)
8. The Dream Before (3:04)
9. My Eyes (5:31)
10. Hiawatha (6:52)

Total Time 45:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Laurie Anderson / vocals, keyboards (2-5,8-10), percussion (3,9), drum programming (4,9)

- Bobby McFerrin / vocals (2,4,8)
- Scott Johnson / electric guitar (1,10)
- John Selolwane / electric guitar (2,5,9)
- Ray Phiri / electric guitar (2,9)
- David Spinozza / electric guitar (5)
- Arto Lindsay / electric guitar (6)
- Chris Spedding / electric guitar (7)
- Jimi Tunnell / electric guitar (9)
- Gib Wharton / pedal steel guitar (1)
- Kenny Kosek / violin (1)
- Hugh McCracken / harmonica (1)
- Tom "T-Bone" Wolk / accordion (1)
- Robby Kilgore / keyboards (1,4,9), bass (1)
- Mike Thorne / keyboards (7), drum programming (1,7)
- Dave Lebolt / keyboards (1-3,5,7,9)
- "Blue" Gene Tyranny / keyboards (2,5,7)
- Lenny Pickett / tenor saxophone (2,5,6), horn aarrangements (2,5)
- Alex Foster / alto saxophone (2,5)
- Lew Del Gatto / baritone saxophone (2,5)
- Earl Gardner / trumpet (2,5)
- Laurie Fink / trumpet (2,5)
- Steve Turre / trombone (2,5), conch shell (2)
- Bakithi Khumalo / fretless bass (1,2,5,9)
- Mark Egan / bass (2)
- Peter Scherer / bass (3,6), keyboards (6,10), drum programming (6)
- Tony Levin / Chapman Stick (7)
- Mark Dresser / bass (10)
- Anton Fier / drums (4)
- Steve Gadd / drums (5,9)
- Joey Baron / drums (10)
- Eric Liljestrand / computer programming, drum programming (1)
- Ian Ritchie / drum programming (2)
- Leon Pendarvis / drum programming (5)
- Jimmy Bralower / drum programming (5,7)
- Sue Hadjopoulos / percussion (1-3,10)
- Nana Vasconcelos / percussion (2)
- Manolo Badrena / percussion (2,7,9)
- David Van Tieghem / percussion (3)
- Errol "Crusher" Bennett / percussion (5)
- Cyro Baptista / percussion (6)
- Bill Buchen / percussion (7,9)

Releases information

Artwork: Robert Mapplethorpe (photo)

LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- 1-25900 (1989, US)

CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- 9 25900-2 (1989, US)

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LAURIE ANDERSON Strange Angels ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LAURIE ANDERSON Strange Angels reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Strange Laurie!

Her music can be labeled as experimental, avant-garde, pop, and progressive, what I can tell you is that you don't have to pay attention to those labels, you just listen to her music and one its for sure, her music is unique. She is a unique artist to my ears, and eyes, because I've seen some of her videos and live performances and wow, she is one-of-a- kind artist.

Laurie Anderson released in 1989 her third studio album entitled 'Strange Angels', in my opinion, nothing can beat her 'Big Science', but this is not bad at all. With ten compositions and a total time of 46 minutes, the album kicks off with 'Strange Angels' a charming pop ballad that has a very nice guitar on it, I would not say it is the best introduction to her music, but is a charming song after all, so you may enjoy it.

'Monkey's Paw' has that Laurie flavor at its beginning; I really like the rhythm, the use of percussion and voices here and there. Then the song changes and Anderson start talking (not really singing) the music turns friendly and catchy and keeps that same vein during the whole track. 'Coolsville' is a very cool track, with a calm and relaxed sound whose mood increases while Anderson sings, her voice has some kind of echo that makes it even better, due to the atmosphere created.

'Ramon' continues with that soft and calm sound. The music in this album is not that experimental or weird as in previous, however it does show Laurie's fascination for complex things and avant-garde, in spite of that poppish orientation some tracks have here. 'Babydoll' has a funny and humoristic sound, here I like a lot the fretless bass along with the backing vocals, it is a nice song, however I believe it is one of those that you either love, or hate.

'Beautiful Red Dress' has a contagious sound and mood, I have to admit I like it to sing it. There's a sax coming and going which adds a cool flavor. 'The Day the Devil' is one of my favorites here, I like the keyboard sound, and also Tony Levin is on the bass, so it is guarantee. Well, I love Laurie's voice, which later is joined by a kind of chorus. I like a lot the atmosphere created in this particular song.

'The Dream Before' means a lot to me, since it was the first Laurie Anderson song I ever listened, I don't really remember how it was, how I discovered but it was several years ago, and despite it is a short song, it really moved me and did something on me. Seems to be simple, but it actually has several elements on it, besides her voice, keyboards make a soft and charming sound that can make anyone falling in love with it.

'My Eyes' has once again a cool bass sound, along with a pretty nice percussion. The rhythm is charming and has that 80s flavor, it is not that evident, but evident anyways, which does not mean that it is a worse quality work, it is simply different and not that original as her compositions in Big Science, for instance. And finally 'Hiawatha' which happens to be the longest track. It has a warm but melancholic sound on it, I love Laurie's voice here, and the noises created as background, creating a sweet atmosphere.

This is a nice record, but not my favorite, and not what I would consider close to her best works, however it is good and you may like it. My grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars An excellent pop album.

Five years after her last studio release, Laurie Anderson is back. I remember the surprise and a little disappointment when I've listened to it for the first time. No more experimentalism, nothing challenging, just good pop. Honestly, had the same music been released by somebody else I would have found it very's like eating Marmite thinking it's Nutella, it depends much on what one is expecting.

So what we have here? Ten good songs deeply sounding 80s even though we are at the end of that hateful decade. A very nice pop tune opens the album followed by an ethnic thing which may remind even to Miriam Makeba, a sort of Peter Gabriel's song of the 80s in terms of sounds and mood, an electronic song which could have been released by the Eurhytmics (note, this is a band that I think has done something very good sometimes, so I'm not putting Laurie Anderson down), then brasses in Phil Collins style open a song which you can imagine sung by Jon Anderson in his excursions in south and central America with a Calypso tempo.

In any case, the B side is more in line with Laurie's usual output, "The Day Of The Devil", at least not considering the poppy chorus, and "The Dream Before" are excellent songs and sound less 80s than the rest.

Another very radio-friendly song leads to the last album's song which is a great song on which Laurie shows that she can really sing other than speaking or using vocoders. The closer makes me think, for its mood, to the Roger Waters of Radio KAOS, I mean "The Tide Is Turning2, but also to the most melodic songs of the "White Zulu" Johhny Clegg.

So this album is musically like a summary of the few good things coming from the 80s and surely one of the best things of the decade, but very far from Laurie's best efforts. Good enough for three stars, a very pleasant listen, but not what one should expect from an artist like this.

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