W2 25900 Strange Angels
Produced by Laurie Anderson and Roma Baran with Mike Thorne, Ian Ritchie, Peter Scherer, Arto Lindsay and Leon Pendarvis
Released on October 17, 1989
Find it at GEMM
W2 25900 cover
[high resolution scan]

L aurie sings! And the world doesn’t end. Maybe some pigs flew, I don’t know. They probably needed the exercise anyway. By most accounts, the result was a revelation: a very musical album from an “antimusical” musician. But to contradict the opening title track, it’s exactly like I thought it would be. Strange Angels isn’t that much different from Mister Heartbreak after all. It’s chatty, smart, funny. Groundbreaking? Not really. Paul Simon took uber-literate American pop to Africa on Graceland, David Byrne took it to South America several times, and Laurie Anderson retraces their footsteps on Strange Angels. The difference is that Laurie is the better listener, internally and externally. She stumbles on big truths and little epiphanies, wraps them here in jewel-encrusted boxes and dazzled a whole lot of people with the offering. Throw away the box, though, and it’s another “Langue d’Amour” or “From The Air.” What I think attracts people to Strange Angels is the musical packaging. It’s by the far the prettiest record she’s made, and thus the most charming. “Babydoll” and “My Eyes” are seductive pop songs; complicated under the surface, sure, but for the first time Laurie is giving audiences the opportunity to opt out of the social study and simply enjoy the music. Yet it’s when audiences enjoy the album on both levels (surface and substance) that Strange Angels weaves its best magic. I got as much of a kick out of her earlier music (Big Science, Mister Heartbreak), and can find the beauty in ugliness just as easily, so for me Strange Angels is simply the same wonderful gift wrapped in different paper. It’s lovely paper, shiny and colorful, so you may want to unwrap it first.

W2 25900 back sleeve
W2 25900 back sleeve


  1. STRANGE ANGELS    3:51
  2. MONKEY'S PAW    4:33
  3. COOLSVILLE    4:34
  4. RAMON    5:03
  5. BABYDOLL    3:38
  7. THE DAY THE DEVIL    (Laurie Anderson/Peter Lawrence Gordon)    4:00
  8. THE DREAM BEFORE    3:03
  9. MY EYES    5:29
  10. HIAWATHA    6:53

    Words and music by Laurie Anderson unless noted


LAURIE ANDERSON -- vocals, keyboards, percussion, drum programming
DAVE LEBOLT -- keyboards
Manolo Badrena -- percussion
Phil Ballou -- back-up vocals
Cyro Baptista -- percussion (6)
Joey Baron -- drums (10)
Jimmy Bralower -- drum programming
Bill Buchen -- percussion (7)
Angela Clemmons -- choir (7)
Crusher -- percussion (5)
Lew Del Gatto -- baritone sax
Bennie Diggs -- back-up vocals, choir director
Mark Dresser -- bass (10)
Mark Egan -- bass (2)
Anton Fier -- drums (4)
Lisa Fischer -- back-up vocals
Alex Foster -- alto sax
Laurie Frink -- trumpet
Steve Gadd -- drums
Earl Gardner -- trumpet
Sue Hadjopoulos -- percussion
Scott Johnson -- guitar
Robby Kilgore -- bass and keyboards
Kenny Kosek -- violin (1)
Bakithi Khumalo -- fretless bass
Yolanda Lee -- back-up vocals (2)
Tony Levin -- Chapman stick (7)
Eric Liljestrand -- drum programming
Arto Lindsay -- guitar (6)
Hugh McCracken -- harmonica (1)
Bobby McFerrin -- vocals
Paulette McWilliams -- choir (7)
BJ Nelson -- back-up vocals
Leon Pendarvis -- drum programming (5)
Ray Phirl -- guitar
Lenny Pickett -- tenor sax, sax, horn arrangement
Ian Ritchie -- percussion programming (2)
Maggie, Suzzy and Terre Roche -- back-up vocals
Peter Scherer -- keyboards, bass, drum programming
John Selolwane -- guitar
Chris Spedding -- guitar (7)
David Spinozza -- guitar (5)
Mike Thorne -- keyboards, percussion programming
Jimi Tunnell -- guitar (9)
Steve Turre -- trombone, conch shell
"Blue" Gene Tyranny -- keyboards
David Van Tieghem -- percussion (3)
Darryl Tookes -- choir (7)
Nana Vasconcelos -- percussion (2)
Gib Wharton -- pedal steel (1)
Diane Wilson -- choir (7)
Tom "T-Bone" Wolk -- accordion (1)
Josh Abbey -- mixing, additional recording
Bob Clearmountain -- mixing
Neil Dorfsman -- mixing
Jay Healy -- mixing
Scott Ansell -- additional recording
James Farber -- additional recording
Mike Krowiak -- additional recording
Jeff Lippay -- additional recording
Dominick Maita -- additional recording
Francis Manzella -- additional recording
Roger Moutenot -- additional recording
Malcolm Pollack -- additional recording
Tom Size -- additional recording
M&Co. -- design
Robert Mapplethorpe -- photography

US October 17, 1989 Warner Bros. LP/CD/CS 25900 lyric sleeve
UK 1989 Warner Bros. LP/CS WX-258/C lyric sleeve
CAN 1989 Warner Bros. LP 92 59001 lyric sleeve
GER 1989 Warner Bros. LP/CD 925 900-1/2 lyric sleeve


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