Laurie Anderson repeats herself again and again

Video of Laurie Anderson singing Only an Expert / Maybe if I Fall

Thanks to typing is not activism… I’m now OK with the fact that ’Pong and I missed Laurie Anderson when she was in Sydney last month.

They posted this video of her singing Only an Expert / Maybe if I Fall and I reckon it’s crap. The minimalist backing tune is just the same sort of thing she’s been doing forever, and she mumbles through the words without that accurate staccato that used to mark her work. Is age causing her mouth to be less accurate? Or does she just not care any more?

What I do find interesting is that she walks out onto the stage as an Artist (with a capital “A”). Because she’s an Artist, she gets polite applause and respect for something which is really just a smarty-pants poem — but delivered in such a pretentious way that she’d be howled off stage at a real poetry open mic night.

Video of Laurie Anderson singing O Superman

So, I’m happy that I missed her.

I reckon you can learn everything you need to know about Laurie Anderson by listening to her seminal work O Superman and her one hit song, Language is a Virus.

The latter has one of the best opening lyrics of any song: “Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.”

5 Replies to “Laurie Anderson repeats herself again and again”

  1. actually, that video’s from a show early on in the tour and not the Sydney show. The version in the vid is disappointing compared to what she did in Sydney because it lacks the other performers and the intensity which it has obviously built in rehearsal and re-orchestration. I’m guessing that you haven’t seen her live, because live her style not only makes more sense but has a tangible impact that just makes emotional sense. Her linguistic trickery was a literally stunning blend of subtlety and bombastics and humour was a nice replacement for the performance artist’s standard of self-involved righteousness.

    She was wicked. O Superman et al are great, but she’s not about repetitious hit formula or being a jukebox. It was utterly bloody refreshing to hear a high profile artist say what so many others haven’t recently. She rocked and you definitely missed out. Seriously.

  2. Oh dear, sounds disappointing. I’m a fan from way back, found some of her “installation performances” (my quotes) on youtube, thought they were OK, but where do you go creatively when you’ve done “Oh Superman” and “Language”so early on? …. sigh ….

  3. @hugh manatee: Hey thanks for the review of the Sydney gig. I have seen Laurie Anderson live, but a long time ago: the Adelaide Festival in 1986. Agreed, a witty and energetic performance. Then. Which isn’t what we see in that video (as you say).

    Cassie ST‘s comment was posted before yours had been moderated, so maybe would have been different if yours had been visible too?

    Was I too judgemental after seeing just one video? Probably. It’s my nature? 🙂

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