Big Science (Laurie Anderson album)

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This article is about the Laurie Anderson album. For the BWO album, see Big Science (BWO album).
Big Science
LaurieAnderson BigScience.JPG
Studio album by Laurie Anderson
Released April 19, 1982
June 18, 2007 (reissue)
Recorded The Lobby, The Hit Factory, New York City
Genre Avant-garde, electronic, pop
Length 38:19
Label Warner Bros.
Nonesuch/Elektra Records (reissue)
Producer Laurie Anderson
Roma Baran
Laurie Anderson chronology
You're the Guy I Want To Share My Money With
Big Science
Mister Heartbreak

Big Science is the 1982 debut album by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson and the first of a 7-album deal she signed with Warner Bros. Records. It is best known for the 8-minute epic "O Superman", which reached #2 in the UK. The album is minimalist and monochrome in sound, and like a great deal of Anderson's work is based largely on spoken word. It is a selection of highlights from her eight-hour production, United States Live, which was itself released as a 5-LP box set and book in 1984. United States Live was originally a performance piece, in which music was only one element. After Big Science music played a larger role in Anderson's work.[1]

Although considered her debut album, Anderson had previously recorded one side of a 2-LP set titled You're the Guy I Want to Share My Money With, a collaboration released on Giorno Poetry Systems with William S. Burroughs and John Giorno. She had also contributed two pieces to a 1977 compilation of electronic music.

A newly remastered version of the album was released on 18 June 2007 by Nonesuch/Elektra Records with new liner notes, and, in the data portion of the CD, the bonus track "Walk the Dog" (B-Side of the original "O Superman" single) and the "O Superman" video.

The album has been sampled in a number of hip hop songs:

  • "From the Air" was sampled by Mr. Lif in the song "Home of the Brave" on his Emergency Rations EP. The song deals with political repercussions of September 11, 2001, playing off the original song's description of a plane crash.
  • "Raspberry Fields" by Cannibal Ox contains a sample from "Sweaters".
  • "This about the City" by cLOUDDEAD contains a sample from the song "Big Science".
  • Brief snippets of "O Superman" were used by Cut Chemist in the introduction to his song "Spat".

Slant Magazine listed the album at #44 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[2]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A− [4]
Music Box 4.5/5 stars [5]
Pitchfork (8.7/10) [6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Laurie Anderson.

  1. "From the Air" – 4:29
  2. "Big Science" – 6:25
  3. "Sweaters" – 2:18
  4. "Walking & Falling" – 2:10
  5. "Born, Never Asked" – 4:56
  6. "O Superman (for Massenet)" – 8:21
  7. "Example #22" – 2:59
  8. "Let X=X/It Tango" – 6:51 ("Let X=X" – 3:51; "It Tango" – 3:01)


Additional personnel[edit]



Year Chart Position
1982 Pop Albums 124[8]
1982 New Zealand Albums 8[9]
1982 UK Albums 29


  1. ^ Susan McClary. "Laurie Anderson". In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Big Science". Allmusic. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2005. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 1, 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Laurie Anderson: Big Science". The Village Voice.  Posted at "Consumer Guide June 1, 1982". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 11 January 2012.  Relevant portion also posted at "Laurie Anderson: Big Science > Consumer Guide Album". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 16 March 2006. 
  5. ^ Heselgrave, Douglas (September 23, 2007). "Laurie Anderson Big Science > Album Reissue Review". Music Box. 14 (9). Retrieved 28 September 2007. 
  6. ^ Klein, Joshua (August 2, 2007). "Laurie Anderson Big Science > Album Reissue Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 3 August 2007. 
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (June 10, 1982). "Laurie Anderson Big Science > Album Review". Rolling Stone (371). Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2006. 
  8. ^ Big Science - Laurie Anderson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Album at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2006.
  9. ^

External links[edit]