Laurie Anderson - O Superman - music video

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Laurie Anderson - O Superman - music video

O Superman is a 1981 song by experimental performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. O Superman, a half-sung, half-spoken, almost minimalist piece unexpectedly rose to #2 on the UK Singles Charts in 1981. Its one that seems to be getting renewed airplay and has certainly survived the test of time as an engaging work and one of my all time favorites.

Anderson constructed the song as a cover of the aria " Souverain, juge, pre" (O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father) from Jules Massenet's 1885 opera Le Cid.

She got the idea after listening to a recording of the aria made by African-American tenor Charles Holland, whose career was hampered for decades by racism in the classical music world. The first lines ("O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad") especially echo the original aria (" Souverain / juge / pre").

Overlaid on a sparse background of two alternating chords formed by the repeated spoken syllable "Ha" created by looping with an Eventide Harmonizer, the text of "O Superman" is spoken through a vocoder. A saxophone is heard as the song fades out, and a sample of tweeting birds is subtly overlaid at various points within the track.

The text addresses issues of technology and communication, quoting at various points answering machine messages and (what is falsely perceived to be) the United States Postal Service creed: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

This line is in fact the inscription over the entrance of the James Farley Post Office in New York and is derived from a line in Herodotus' Histories (8.98), referring to the ancient courier service of the Persian Empire. This line is also interpreted in the accompanying music video into American Sign Language by Anderson wearing white gloves, white sunglasses and a white coat.

All of this is in the context of an attack by American planes and arms. Several times, including in an interview with the Australian magazine Bulletin in 2003, Anderson has claimed that the song is connected to Iran hostage crisis occurring when she wrote it.

The lines "Cause when love is gone, there's always justice / And when justice is gone, there's always force / And when force is gone, there's always Mom" derive from the fourth sentence of Chapter 38 of the Tao Teh Ching: "When Tao is lost, there is goodness. When goodness is lost, there is kindness. When kindness is lost, there is justice. When justice is lost, there is ritual. Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty, the beginning of confusion."

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...



O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me, but I know you.
And I've got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go.
You can come as you are, but pay as you go.
Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justive is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.

Laurie-Anderson-O-Superman.jpg - 6.45kb
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2010








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