Mister Heartbreak

Laurie Anderson

1984: Warner Bros 25077-2

  1. Sharkey’s Day
  2. Langue d’Amour
  3. Gravity’s Angel
  4. Kokoku
  5. Excellent Birds
  6. Blue Lagoon
  7. Sharkey’s Night

Wow, what an album…. The weakest track, for me, is “Sharkey’s Night”—and that’s only because I heard the version in the concert film Home of the Brave before I heard the original version. Ditto “Sharkey’s Day,” although I still enjoy it on this album (but it’s a mighty work in the filmed performance and puts this one into a little box by comparison).

When I lived in Anchorage, in the winter of 1986–87, I used to listen to “Blue Lagoon” on a cassette tape and look out over the wintry weirdness of that city from my apartment window; it always seemed so appropriate for the confused detachment I felt there. Years later I played it for my friend Karen in Edinburgh late one night as part of a show-and-tell tour of our musical loves, and she said it evoked for her not the heat and silences which I described as being my impression but instead an escape fantasy of someone stuck in a New York City winter. While she’s probably accurate in this, and she didn’t mean it in a dismissive way, I’m still happy with my take on it.

It’s an awesome album—get it if you don’t already have it. Ignore videos for them you might find on YouTube, including those created by Anderson herself, and just take these at their sonic face value without visuals, if you want to get them right.

“Days, I dive by the wreck; nights, I swim in the blue lagoon. Always used to wonder who I’d bring to a desert island….”

“And the little girls sing—”