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Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak CD (album) cover


Laurie Anderson


Crossover Prog

4.08 | 43 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After the unexpected commercial success of a "difficult" album like "Big Science", Laurie Anderson meets Nile Rodgers, the genius of pop who also plays guitar in this album. The result is incredible.

This is an album full of 80s sounds, very much easier than the previous one, but Rodgers as producer has been able to adjust the sounds without making interference with Laurie's songwriting, and even though I have deeply hated the 80s and their electronics, I really like this album.

The opener, "Sharkey's Day", has a minimalistic start. Two major chords, speech and various electronics alternated to a sung chorus vaguely reminiding of VELVET UNDERGROUND. The feeling that this song transmits is strange: weirdness and foolishness together with a sort of quotidian life. I've neven been in the big Apple, but this song sounds very newyorkese.

"Langue D'Amour" has a similar mood. The poetry spelled by Laurie sounds like a less "tragic" Patti Smith. The keyboards layer is very nice, still based on a sequence of few bass notes on major chords. Hypnotic.

After two very good tracks, "Gravity Angel" is excellent. Laurie sings on high pitches. The sounds are again very 80s, and four bass notes act as counterpart to Laurie's vocals until the electronic drums enter the song. The mood doesn't change much even with the drumming. male vocals are added and Laurie alternates singing and speaking. The electronics reminds me to RICK WRIGHT and his Broken China for the kind of sounds used. Dark and hypnotic, this is probably the best album's track.

"Kokoku" whatever it means has an ethnic flavor. Seems connected in some way to the Native Americans, maybe. I don't understand the lyrics, neither the language so this song may be about totally different things. The part in English says "I come very briefly to this place. I watch it move. I watch it shake" and in the middle of the song a shakuyaki or a similar Asian string instrument overcomes the electronics. "on a very distant star, slimy creatures scan the skies". Seems more SciFi than ethnic.

"Excellent Birds" with male vocals could stay on "ZEE - IDENTITY". It's the same kind of 80s dark electronics which I actually disliked. Listening to this music now, I appreciate it much more. Who likes the 80s stuff of PETER GABRIEL will surely like this song as well.

"Blue Lagoon" is even more similar to the ZEE thing. I think I'll relisten to that album better in the next days. The instrumental interlude in the middle of the song is fantastic, but the whole song is excellent. A trip to a strange place "I saw a plane today. Flying low over the island. But my mind was somewhere else."

"Sharkey's Night" closes the circle. I don't know who Sharkey is and if there's a concept behind the album. I have read that this was also a movie directed by Laurie herself, so I may be loosing part of the message. This song takes 2 minutes to re-enter in the two major chords of the first track. Instead of Laurie a "drunk man" voice speeches on the electronic base.

This is a quite easy album, even in the darker moments, something that can be put in the background even in a tea room (very Neworkese, isn't it?), but at the same time it's still a bit "experimental", so even the listeners looking for something more challenging can have their fun.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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