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The Residents - God In Three Persons CD (album) cover

GOD IN THREE PERSONS

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.87 | 25 ratings

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HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
4 stars I have a feeling that the Residents spent more time on this album than on any other album in their catalog up to that point. It really is an album that has to take its time sinking in, but once you fully get what's going on (I'm still not sure I do), it's pretty mind-blowing. It seems so far removed from their concurrent cheeky attempts at parody (e.g. the American Composers Series) that I get the impression that they spent the better part of a decade working on this, all the while releasing relatively half-hearted albums like "George and James".

The album seems to presage the latter-day Residents renaissance they've had of late, releasing elaborate, very emotional albums like "Demons Dance Alone" that are just as dark and serious as they are playful and strange. The "playful" part shows up right at the beginning, as a musical theme based on the old pop tune "Double Shot of My Baby's Love" (in fact, that's the recurring musical motif on the whole album) accompanies a chorus of women, who act throughout in a way similar to the "chorus" of Shakespearean plays - unseen by the main characters, but commenting on and reacting to the action. So what is the chorus on about here in the beginning? Well, they're just singing the opening credits. Brilliant!

After that, a series of deceptively simple musical pieces (all basically performed on keyboards and a drum machine) accompany an insanely convoluted spoken story, spoken in a warm Southern drawl (the lead singer's natural voice, it turns out). I won't begin to try to decipher the story (as if I could), but it plays out like a dream-sequence, with unnatural transitions, surreal imagery, and just some real heavy, at times bordering on violent, psycho-erotic sexual stuff. Roger Waters' "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" as seen through a kaleidoscope, in a way. AND! That's not all: the ENTIRE ALBUM is written and recited using a consistent meter and rhyme scheme - the whole thing is one big, crazy hour-long poem. Wow.

I can't call this a five star album, though, because as often happens with the Residents, the music doesn't always keep pace with the genius of the concept. However, this is still among the Residents' finest creations; the music, while staying out of the way most of the time, does react to the narrative in a way that indicates some thought was put into it. Even though it's just 80s keyboards with electronic drum sounds, it still "does the job" and ultimately works as an effective backdrop for the narration. The female chorus also interjects from time to time, adding a layer of humor to the proceedings. The rhythmic, poetic cadences of the narration adds to the "musical" side of the experience as well.

A strange, profound album that you won't soon forget. 4/5.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |

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