|Studio album by|
|Released||February 14, 1984|
|Recorded||July - December 1983|
|Studio||The Lobby, RCA, A & R, 39th Street Music, New York City|
|Laurie Anderson chronology|
|Singles from Mister Heartbreak|
Like its predecessor, it contains reworked elements of Anderson's United States ("Langue d'Amour", "Kokuku", based on musical elements from "Rising Sun", and "Blue Lagoon"). However, Anderson also introduced new material ("Sharkey's Day"/"Sharkey's Night" and "Gravity's Angel") while "Excellent Birds", written in collaboration with Peter Gabriel, was written for a 1984 project for video artist Nam June Paik called Good Morning, Mr. Orwell.
"Gravity's Angel" borrows imagery from Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Anderson had "wanted to make an opera of that book ... and asked him if that would be OK... He said, 'You can do it, but you can only use banjo.' And so I thought, 'Well, thanks. I don't know if I could do it like that." "Blue Lagoon" contains allusions to other tales of the sea (William Shakespeare's The Tempest (Ariel's song) and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick).
Considered more mainstream than its predecessor, Big Science, the album's lead track, "Sharkey's Day" formed the basis of a popular music video. Author William S. Burroughs read the lyrics of the closing track, "Sharkey's Night", while Peter Gabriel provided vocals on "Excellent Birds", an alternate version of which, titled "This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)", also appeared on his album So. A third version of the song can be heard in the music-video version, directed by Dean Winkler.
Most of the songs on this album were later performed in Anderson's 1986 concert film Home of the Brave. Burroughs appears in that film and appears in two brief segments reciting lines from "Sharkey's Night", although it is Anderson herself who performs a complete version of the song at the film's conclusion. "Sharkey's Night" featured in the Australian short documentary film Ladies Please! (1995).
It has sold 44,000 copies in France.
All songs written by Laurie Anderson except as indicated.
|1984||The Billboard 200||60|
|1984||Dutch Album Chart||23|
|1984||Swiss Album Chart||19|
|1984||New Zealand Album Chart||12|
|1984||Swedish Album Chart||46|
|1984||UK Album Chart||93|