This was one of a few dozen albums that helped to create and sustain my teenage personae. Laurie Anderson was and is one of my heroes, an elemental role model during some highly formative years and a powerfully inspirational one at that. She seemed to have a direct line tapping into something terrifically weird coupled with this uncanny ability to effortlessly craft something equally rich and strange out of it. The New York avant-garde had made it to the surburbs of Cleveland. I loved it.
I remember driving with my mom one winter evening in the mid-80's and playing O Superman for her, attempting but never entirely succeeding in conveying to her how much it stirred me. It's breathy, hypnotic repetitions- minimalism at its most poignant and haunting? The birds that come in a little after a minute only to disappear until the songs last? The first burst or cascading synthesized reeds at 2:41? The seductive sing-song of its vocoder vocals? The fat analogue bass at 6:03? (The whole album is filled with wonderfully gritty sine bass.) The seedy sax in the final 30 seconds? The apocalyptic lyrics? We parked in a parking lot and she listened until the end. I don't remember what she thought.
Listening to Big Science tonight, though, it's Let X=X that's rocking my world.