5 07 2017

During the ‘long’ weekend, I had an opportunity to watch a some biographical documentaries of two incredible musicians. Searching for Sugar Man, and Phil Ochs, There but for Fortune which is also the title of the written biography. Perhaps it was the vitality and creative spirit of these poetic songwriters that allowed me to listen to Laurie Anderson‘s Strange Angels with a new ear. While each of the songs stand out with her signature style, Ramon especially was inspirational lyrically.

Listening to the words describe the duality of cosmic connection and singular truth through always entertaining turns of phrase was a delight. ‘Last night I saw a host of angels, and they were all singing different songs.’ Angels of course, being marvelous agents of creation, while singing different songs demonstrates the dissolution of cohesion. Of course this leads to unpleasant auditory experience. ‘it sounded like a lot of lawnmowers, mowing down my lawn.’ Imagine a bunch of angels doing whatever they want, no one the universe is so busy, keeping up after all powerful beings must be a resource drain.

The next lines are interesting as well, as they refer directly to the (apparently eternal) battle between logic and emotion. ‘And suddenly for no reason,’ and ‘travelling at the speed of sound.’ Since logic (formation) is a foundation of light, then the reference to sound is also painting the psychic canvas with the ‘relief’ motif.

Then the ‘plot twist,’ ‘Just as I turned to go, I saw a man who’d fallen he was lying on his back in the snow.’ Then presenting the listener with the the daily dilemma which we all seem to face. We never seem to find out if Ramon is the man who had fallen, or if he is the narrator, either way, the answer to the dilemma is presented in the lyrics, ‘So when you see a man who’s broken, pick him up and carry him.  And when you see a woman who’s broken, put her all into your arms.’

This imperative continues to build the tension lyrically, while the song fades with the paradoxical description of weight and weightlessness, ‘And you? You’re falling. And you? You’re travelling. Travelling at the speed of light.’