R2 76648 Talk Normal: The Laurie Anderson Anthology
Compilation produced by Laurie Anderson, David McLees & Jo Motta
Released on October 17, 2000
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R2 76648 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 8.0: DOUBLE TALK. A nicely packaged, remastered double-disc anthology of Laurie Anderson’s first seven releases. That said, I’m not really sure Talk Normal has a purpose. If you enjoy her music, you already own a few of her records, which means you already own a good half of this collection. Maybe not in remastered form, maybe not United States Live, maybe without the pretty pictures, but no surprises await you here except the single edit of “Sharkey’s Day.” Personally, I would have liked to see Rhino open this up to include some of her outside work (Lou Reed, Jean-Michel Jarre) or her first poetry album (You’re The Guy I Want To Share My Money With). A new song, unreleased stuff (such as the music from Home of the Brave that didn’t make the soundtrack) or even collected live performances would have been a kindness to collectors too. Instead, Talk Normal stays within the boundaries of her well-known Warner Bros. works, which is predictable and (Dare I say it? Yes, dare, dare!) dull. From Big Science to Ugly Jewels, it’s been an interesting ride, and Talk Normal hits all the familiar bumps: “O Superman,” “From The Air,” “Excellent Birds,” “Babydoll,” “In Our Sleep.” Yet I’d trade it all for a remastered version of her first album with a few bonus tracks. The trouble with Talk Normal (and Anderson’s career in general) is that nothing since has equalled “O Superman.” To encounter that song is to imagine what a neon light would look like to primitive man: alien, luminous, supersentient. There have been a host of entertaining and absurd observations over her career, musical boundaries stretched slightly, realities challenged, but nothing on Talk Normal bespeaks the artist so well as that first track. For that reason, this could have been pared down to a single disc and still delivered the same powerful message. Maybe with time a double-disc anthology that collects the Warner Bros. and Nonesuch years will be prepared, repackaged, augmented with a few tantalizing extras (or even a bonus DVD of videos and performances). Then, we’ll have something to talk about.

R2 76648 booklet cover
R2 76648 booklet cover
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

    Disc One
  1. O SUPERMAN (FOR MASSENET)
  2. FROM THE AIR
  3. BIG SCIENCE
  4. BORN, NEVER ASKED
  5. IT TANGO
  6. GRAVITY'S ANGEL
  7. EXCELLENT BIRDS    (Laurie Anderson/Peter Gabriel)
  8. LANGUE D'AMOUR
  9. SHARKEY'S DAY (SINGLE EDIT)
  10. WALK THE DOG
  11. CARTOON SONG
  12. SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY
  13. CITY SONG
  14. THE BIG TOP
  15. DR. MILLER    (Laurie Anderson/Perry Hoberman)
  16. LIGHTING OUT FOR THE TERRITORIES

    Disc Two
  17. SMOKE RINGS
  18. TALK NORMAL
  19. LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS
  20. CREDIT RACKET
  21. STRANGE ANGELS
  22. BABYDOLL
  23. COOLSVILLE
  24. MY EYES
  25. THE DREAM BEFORE
  26. THE DAY THE DEVIL    (Laurie Anderson/Peter Lawrence Gordon)
  27. SPEAK MY LANGUAGE
  28. LOVE AMONG THE SAILORS
  29. POISON    (Laurie Anderson/Brian Eno)
  30. IN OUR SLEEP    (Laurie Anderson/Lou Reed)
  31. NIGHT IN BAGHDAD
  32. THE NIGHT FLIGHT FROM HOUSTON
  33. THE ROTOWHIRL
  34. THE OUIJA BOARD
  35. THE END OF THE WORLD

    All selections written by Laurie Anderson unless noted

CREDITS

Jim Hughes --project coorindation
Jo Motta -- project coordination
Bill Inglot -- sound production
Hugh Brown -- art direction
Rachel Gutek -- art direction, design
Stephen L. Davis/Retna -- photography
Michael Ochs Archives -- photography

return to LAURIE ANDERSON discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US October 17, 2000 Rhino/Warner Archives 2CD R2 76648 boxed w. booklet

 

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