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TWEEDLES!

The Residents

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Only the oddball eyeballs of the Residents would dare conceive a concept album about a sex-addicted circus clown. But in the typically obscure fashion of the band there's more to it than just a warped idea.

Don't be misled by the slap-happy title and clever design (take another look: that cover is more revealing than you think). The album actually presents a somewhat disturbing, all-too accurate dissection of the male libido, not exactly a cheerful subject, despite the grinning clown metaphor (and isn't there something intrinsically sinister about circus clowns anyway?).

The packaging is certainly lavish, in mini-book form with lyrics and supplemental narrative text, some of it uncomfortably explicit (at least to my own prudish tastes). And disguised within the album artwork is more male genitalia than in a Mitchell Brothers blue movie.

But the project is undermined by two nagging flaws. First: like too many concept albums (why does the name ROGER WATERS suddenly come to mind?) the music itself is subordinate to the concept. Which means there aren't enough actual tunes worth revisiting after an initial spin.

And second: unlike other, better Resident albums this one is conspicuously lacking the deadpan alien humor that always made their music so unique and endearing.

I certainly don't begrudge the group their need to be regarded as serious artists (if it is, in fact, still a group, and not a single remaining Resident, as I suspect). But even at their conceptual best ("Third Reich and Roll", Eskimo") there was always a (sometimes twisted) vein of irreverent tongue-in-cheek subversion running just below the bayou twang and nursery school rhymes.

Granted, this is an album always intended for uneasy listening. But in the long run there isn't enough musical interest (which ought to be the first concern of any concept album) to sustain it for over 61- total minutes.

Put it this way: do you really want to spend an hour in the company of a sex-crazed slapstick comedian?

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#203931)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars 'The Tweedles' is the Residents at their most controversial concerning the maniacal musings of a perverted clown. We hear all his contorted thoughts and venture into his jaded world with bizarre music and melodies, occasional singing such as on The Perfect Lover. More often we are hearing his narrations and sometimes there are some oddities that really strike home as coming from a deranged but intelligent mind; 'The memory thing is kind of like eating, we don't bother to remember what it felt like eating that steak when we were really hungry, slicing into the charred flesh and watching, as the ruby juice flows from the fresh incision, and out onto the otherwise pristine plate. And the same single minded dedication that goes into eating that steak duplicates itself in the pursuit of physical pleasure. Hunger and sexual gratification, is there anything else?'

The clown is lonely and disturbed and even considers himself as disgusting; a reject of society that is unwanted and unloved. He imagines himself as a cannibalistic predator, he muses on his humanity and his lack of it and there are a lot of expletives to wade through.

Brown Cow has some unsettling lyrics 'He said that he loved me and, He told me that he cared, He said that he loved the way, I walked and I was weird, Now he hovers over me, And motions in the air, He's pointing at the oven, And I'm getting really scared.' The clown talks of how she melts at his feet with a confused look on her face and he points at the oven door and she begins to blubber like a baby. He sounds like a sociopath and has no emotions, perhaps he killed her, and he is killing many others and is telling us about his feeling towards his victims. This is demented stuff.

Ugly At The End is even more disturbing talking about how his mother died an ugly death. Keep Talking is a jaded conversation with the clown desperately trying to persuade his girl that he didn't have an affair but of course we know he did as he is a nymphomaniac. The album closes with Shame on Me and finally the clown reveals his true name which is his childhood name for his member, we all know that is of course The Tweedles. So that's his secret revealed.

What a bizarre album. I can manage 2 stars as this is too unpleasant for repeated listening.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#1071003)
Posted Saturday, November 02, 2013 | Review Permalink

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