Laurie Anderson

Mister Heartbreak

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Probably the most pop-accessible of Laurie Anderson's recorded work, Mister Heartbreak features a number of stunning luminaries on the cutting edge of popular music at the time. Striking guitar work by King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew permeates this disc -- notably on "Sharkey's Day" -- punchy and angular. The production and bass work from Bill Laswell is superb. Peter Gabriel -- at the time still coming off the buzz of his departure from Genesis -- is featured in a duet with Anderson on "Excellent Birds." There is a heavy reliance on early-'80s synthesizers which would normally be very off-putting, but here they are executed well. Nowhere does the music slip into irreparable '80s cliché; it is still an entertaining listen. Lyrics are typical of Anderson' work -- complex, literate, provocative, difficult to fully comprehend. Haunting "Gravity's Angel" borrows imagery from Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Spoken word delivery on "Sharkey's Night" is given by the legendary William S. Burroughs. This is a very satisfying listen and a great intro for those unfamiliar with Anderson's work.

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