Laurie Anderson- Big Science (1980)


I am starting to prefer artists who straddle different genres, ideas, or modes of expression. Sometimes, the result is a very fabulous aesthetic that leaves all parties feeling a little bit awkward. And that is fantastic.

It's hard to describe what Laurie Anderson does, exactly. One of her earliest musical performances was her playing violin on a street corner wearing ice skates embedded in giant blocks of ice. When the ice had completely melted, she stopped playing violin (see an amazing continuation of that here).

She might be the only artist/violinist you have ever experienced. You might say her main language is performance, but when she started putting out albums, it demolished that idea. Big Science is a strange collection that mashes together violin parts, vocoder, pop hooks, spoken word, singing, poetry, sound... they're not really "songs" per se, perhaps not even music, really... but what to call them?

Big Science--surprisingly--had a massive radio hit, "O Superman (For Massanet)." That has to be the strangest "song" that ever landed in the top 5 (and a surreal-beautiful video). Yet more evidence that the 80s were a far superior decade for music.

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