Laurie Anderson, American Girl
Published July 13, 2010
It’d be understandable if you heard that Laurie Anderson, beloved performance artist and wife to Lou Reed, was making a detour from her work as a celebrated international avant-gardist to announce a new record, Homeland (now available), and thought: indulge her. But you’d be under-selling the experience. With Homeland, Anderson, who performs tonight at Le Poisson Rouge, has created a poetic, satirical landscape that mirrors all the most ludicrous and disturbing elements of our national mindset. “I think it’s hard not to take your identity from things like the sense of where you come from,” Anderson says. “So even if you’re not a flag waving American, somehow some of the things that happen here do feed into my identity. No matter what I do. So, for example, if suddenly we’re torturing people, I feel responsible for that. It becomes part of who I feel like I am.”
From politics to consumerism to our global image, Anderson proves that time has only sharpened her critical eye. On the track “Another Day In America,” she soliloquizes beautiful and accurate absurdities in the voice of her drag alter ego, Fenway Bergamot. Spoken with a modulated deep baritone with backup vocals from Antony (of and the Johnsons), it’s a string of exquisite mind-floss that doesn’t come off so much as stream of consciousness as it does collected consciousness. The song, like the album as a whole, is harrowing and hilarious. Homeland is a gift of perspective.
Laurie Anderson performs tonight at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. Homeland is out now.