Album Reviews

Laurie Anderson

Heart Of A Dog

Artist:     Laurie Anderson

Album:     Heart Of A Dog

Label:     Nonesuch

Release Date:     10/23/2015


We’ve all experienced the fleeting joy of being one hundred percent positive about something, and it feels great, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how I feel about Heart Of A Dog. Though this time it’s not fleeting. Heart Of A Dog stays with you a while. A good, long while.

Laurie Anderson has held a place in my heart since I first heard her on Scott Muni’s “Things From England” show on Friday afternoons. He played “O, Superman (For Massenet),” and my world view, already severely skewed for any number of post-college reasons, went totally awry. She parlayed poetry, pathos and technologies we now consider arcane, into a suspended dream ambiance that only the human voice, with all its weary and triumphant inflections, could rise above. Could soar.

Big Science. Strange Angels. Bright Red. Homeland. The Ugly One with the Jewels. “Sharkey’s Day.” United States… I could list them all, really. Laurie Anderson was engaged with the immediate now long before SnapChat and Twitter. Long before Facebook and Instagram stole our names and held us captive.

So it does all my chakras a grand good to tell you that Heart Of A Dog is her best work yet. Her great achievement. Heart Of A Dog finely balances her unerring irony, sarcasm and satire. It’s twenty-six tracks hold her Pollyanna Zen to the fore, with her politics, heartbreak and dry, lilting humor backing it up. City sounds. Her dog playing piano. A man looks up and a dying duck lands on him and kills him. Ghosts. Phosphenes. Death as the release of love. Childhood trauma. Mom. Lou. Lolabelle. Towers fall. As they always do.

As the score to her latest film which I have yet to see (sadly) Heart Of A Dog, for me at least, creates an open space for meditation. Cracks the NSA probed surface of our digital idiot environs and allows time to stretch, snap back, stretch, snap back. Each time advancing a little more forward. A little more towards that long sought, hard fought, understanding.

– Mike Jurkovic

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