new-york

Laurie Anderson

One Ten Records

My one complaint about Laurie Anderson’s new record, O Superman/ Walk the Dog, is its length: at only 15 minutes, it’s way too short. I’m ready for a double album. O Superman and Walk the Dog are two selections from her projected, four-part concert cycle, United States. As the cycle has yet to be completed, the double album will have to wait; but, in the meantime, Anderson’s current release is a lot more than teaser excerpts. Each piece is a compelling, self-contained musical narrative.

O Superman begins as a domestic mantra sweetly invoking “Mom and Dad.” Then, answering-machine voices are introduced: “Hello, this is your mother. Are you there? Are you coming home?” They grow increasingly ominous: “This is the hand, the hand that takes.” A collage of word-images inter-cuts passive/aggressive messages: “Mom” moves from nurturer to devourer. Ultimately Anderson’s “mother” is a country—one

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