We are about to attempt a crash landing: the best of Laurie Anderson

I was too young for Laurie Anderson — my college station played “Beautiful Red Dress,” then like a shaft of sunlight in June she vanished, obscured by the storm clouds of bands that sounded like Seattle rock. Honestly, I’m still not a “O Superman” fan, but the single is such a startling assemblage of electronic manipulations and vocal inflection that I hear what listeners in 1981 heard.

Before she even took singing lessons for 1989’s Strange Angels, Anderson had proven herself a master vocalist; I wasn’t sure how to represent United States Live on this list, so I’ll just say the collection needs to be appreciated as a comedy record: she does delight, affected wonder, and, best, coming dread like no one else (I understand why Lou Reed may have adored her). I have more to say about her approach in my review of 2015’s wondrous Heart of a Dog.

1. From the Air
2. Strange Angels
3. Language is a Virus
4. O Superman
5. Only an Expert
6. Sharkey’s Day
7. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
8. Let X=X/It Tango
9. My Eyes
10. In Our Sleep
11. Beautiful Red Dress
12. Thinking of You
13. Speak My Language
14. Big Science
15. Gravity’s Angels
16. The Lake
17. How to Feel Sad Without Being Sad
18. Langue d’Amour
19. Coolsville
20. Love Among the Sailors

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