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Talk Normal: A Laurie Anderson Anthology
Laurie Anderson
Talk Normal: A Laurie Anderson Anthology
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #2

Laurie Anderson is something of a missionary. Having endured the scorn of some influential avant-garde peers for "selling out" (by signing to a major label and taking her live shows to a relatively large, mainstream audien...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Laurie Anderson
Title: Talk Normal: A Laurie Anderson Anthology
Members Wishing: 11
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 10/17/2000
Release Date: 10/17/2000
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative, Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 081227664824, 081227664862

Laurie Anderson is something of a missionary. Having endured the scorn of some influential avant-garde peers for "selling out" (by signing to a major label and taking her live shows to a relatively large, mainstream audience), Anderson instead chose to challenge their assumptions, proving by default that they were as ossified as anything in the so-called mainstream. Anderson also chose not to define herself strictly as an artist, but as a storyteller and de facto humorist--and one that dared point out that her chosen venue of "performance art" wasn't particularly avant at all. Or that the dreaded cliché was often merely the most efficient way to make a story point. This generous double-disc anthology charts the arc of Anderson's adventurous "mainstream" recording career, from the minimalist, unlikely Euro-hit "O Superman" through 15 years of ever more ambitious studio recordings and live shows. Tellingly, as Anderson's ambitions and acceptance grew, so did her playful warmth and often self-deprecating humor. Indeed, much of this set is an implicit jab at the implicit elitism of the so-called avant-garde--or is it their jealousy? --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

Love Ms. Anderson, but still dislike re-mixes....
Mark D. Kindt | Lakewood, OH USA | 07/31/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I had very high hopes for this anthology, but was indeed disappointed to discover that many of the cuts were re-mixed. Rarely, have I ever heard a re-mix that was superior in quality to the original release. This is especially so in Ms. Anderson's case, where the original material is always of such high and sublime quality."
Laurie Anderson's Greatest Hits 81-95
J. Eshleman | Hilton Head Island, SC USA | 10/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What's crystal clear, very bright yet often dark, and goes 70 MPH ? Laurie Anderson's Anthology "Talk Normal" playing in my car. Oh boy, right again. This package is an overview of LA's career under Warner Brothers with a mixture of studio and live tracks. It ends with material from her 1995 Nerve Bible Tour, so fans (like me) who have been kept waiting and waiting for her current label, Nonesuch Records, to release material from her 1999/2000 Moby Dick Tour are, well, still waiting. There's a little sentence in the thoughtful full-color booklet that comes with this collection which says that "Laurie Anderson's new album with Nonesuch Records will be released in 2001". Don't hold your breath since the info on rarely-updated website said it would be much sooner (and that website is NOT given as LA's official website in the booklet but rather a fan site is ! Weird...). However, "Talk Normal" is a very good linear retrospective on Laurie's career. In fact, a highly visible progression is easy to see when you listen to this album package from beginning to end. Much of the early work, especially the live cuts from "United States Live" are innovative but shrill. I avoided the fast-forward button as long as I could, then gave in. The first CD of "Talk Normal" is the reason I was not an LA fan in her early days (with the exception of "Gravity's Angel" and "Sharkey's Day", both personal favs) but it's important work none the less. Then we get into the heavenly "Strange Angels" with the second CD, which marks a less-experimental and a welcome and more "musical" phase of LA's work which continues through today. The second CD of this set is full of the music and poetry that modern LA fans like myself have come to love. The entire album was remixed and the producer was Laurie Anderson so this isn't just a repackaging job of old material by WB as much as it's a retrospective look on a unique musical voyage by the artist herself. The booklet contains lots of pictures and a study of LA's career through her albums. Yes, it even mentions Laurie's romantic interest, Lou Reed, prominently. For any fan of Laurie Anderson, new or old, this is THE definitive anthology in one album set. The remixes are not noticibly different from the originals (possibly cleaner due to modern technology). But I gave this album five stars because it sound great, I couldn't bear for my collection to be without it, and after all, it's Laurie Anderson."
Greatest Hits, No New Stuff
Dane McGregor | Wilmette, IL USA | 11/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although I'm disappointed that this collection contains no previously unreleased material, I am still quite pleased with this collection. Aside from collecting favorite pieces in one place, this albumn's main fascination and value is to listen to the progression in Laurie's style and voice through the course of her career. By the time we get to the tracks from Tightrope/Bright Red, it feels she's come full circle, finally coming back to (or perhaps just finally arriving at) the place she seemed to be trying to reach with her earliest work, before she polished her voice and story-telling skills to their current high level.And it makes a great soundtrack for reading her biography, Laurie Anderson by Roselee Goldberg :-)."