"HOME OF THE BRAVE," the soundtrack to Laurie Anderson's self-directed concert film, marks Anderson's transformation into "entertainer" from the more mysterious and forbidding-sounding "performance artist." It's also the record that asks the musical question: "Which is more macho, a knife or a pineapple?" (Correct answer: pineapple.)
Anderson's distinctive sound and vision, so exotic when she first appeared, has been absorbed into the mainstream. As she says in the neo-calypso "Talk Normal": "I turned the corner in SoHo today, and someone looked right at me and said: Oh no! Another Laurie Anderson Clone!"
Still, Anderson remains unique, with her quirky and amusingly perceptive song- vignettes isolating American cliches and buzzphrases, and her strings of non sequiturs, delivered in a dramatic, wryly humorous voice, which begin to make some kind of sense with repeated listenings. Paradoxically, as Anderson's fascination with technology deepens, somehow her stage persona and music get warmer and more human.
Several songs here -- such as the pulsing, Niles Rodgers-produced "Language Is a Virus" -- are danceable, even sing-alongable. To keep her on-the-edge creds intact, Anderson includes techno-experiments like "Late Show," on which she playfully manipulates a taped sample of speech by William Burroughs (he says "Listen to my heartbeat"), and several eerie instrumentals that refuse to become background music.
LAURIE ANDERSON -- "Home of the Brave" (Warner Bros. 9 25400-1); appearing Sunday at Constitution Hall. (The film opens July 11 at the Key Theater.)