336. big science

“It’s 1982 and Laurie Anderson, who no one I know has ever heard of, has suddenly painted a picture of the future, equal parts strange and beautiful, yet already haunted. The whole album‘s a gem but the title track deserves special mention for the way it delivers this future — all shopping malls, drive-in banks and every man for himself. And yodeling, hallelujah to that, and to the big science that makes it all possible — those cooling towers off the edge of town, higher than any church steeple ever towered, hissing and droning, liable to melt down and explode at any second.” (Philip Random)

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468. Sharkey’s Day

“Any history of 1980s rock-pop-whatever that does not give Laurie Anderson her own chapter is wrong, and that accounts for most of them. Mister Heartbreak was her second proper album and it started strong with Sharkey’s Day, which I’m guessing is some kind of reference to the Burt Reynolds movie Sharky’s Machine that I never saw. But he was a cop and no doubt macho with corruption involved, and darkness all around. Temper of the times. Or maybe Sharkey’s Day has nothing to do with any of that. Maybe Ms. Anderson just saw the poster  at some point, and something about it spoke to her – Burt Reynolds and his moustache and gun riding high at the box office, and everything that had to say about a culture. Where do you go from there?” (Philip Random)

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550. ethnicolor

“In which Jean-Michel Jarre offers up an epic smorgasbord of what were then very “now” techno-possibilities. I personally had little time for his earlier stuff (cosmic lite, to put it bluntly, though millions seemed to disagree with me). But with hip names like Laurie Anderson and Adrian Belew on board for Zoolook, it was hard to ignore, and a darned good thing, because the whole album really goes places, lead off track Ethnicolor in particular. Samples before we called them that, great crescendos and unearthly howls. The future definitely sounded cool, and ambitious.” (Philip Random)

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577. let x = x [it tango]

“In which Laurie Anderson reminds us that sometimes you’ve just gotta go with your intuition. If you see a guy and he looks like a hat check clerk, he is a hat check clerk. And everything that suggests. To which I must add, I have no idea what that is. And I doubt Laurie Anderson did either, early 1980s, just rolling with the zeitgeist which she was in the process of turning inside out with her strange gear and her stranger stories. And the pinks of the world are still trying to make sense of it. Stop making sense.” (Philip Random)

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899. from the air

Nothing sounded stranger, cooler, more fiercely new in 1982 than Big Science, Laurie Anderson’s debut album. But, strip away the art-scene façade and “She’s just a nice young lady playing her fiddle and telling stories. What’s so odd about that?” (to quote a Texan club owner from back in the day).

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