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The Residents - Commercial Album CD (album) cover


The Residents



3.61 | 89 ratings

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3 stars Yet each man kills the thing he loves, from all let this be heard. Some do it with a bitter look, some with a flattering word. The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with the sword (Oscar Wilde)

The Residents appear to have attempted a Reductio ad absurdum ploy here to break down the constituent parts of pop music so that they are revealed as products in the builder's yard.

They protest too much. (and don't ever let them do your loft extension)

Perhaps the most disingenuous aspects of this endeavor are threefold;

1 - It is precisely the repetitive elements of pop music that define pop music.

2 - Every masterpiece ever created in western diatonic music can be reduced to just 12 notes and no amount of dice juggling monkeys are ever going to come up with Barber's Adagio For Strings of Bananas.

3 - See Oscar Wilde.

The Residents would not exist as a viable entity were it not for the platform afforded to them by popular music, as how else could we reference their work against what it purports to deconstruct?

(Hey check this out guys, it's a piss-take of that funeral procession music they use on Neptune!?)

Despite these niggles, what is presented on Commercial Album if taken on its own merits, is yet another intriguing installment of some of the most bizarre and 'uneasy listening' you are ever likely to encounter. The percussion has almost a 'toddler banging on Mum's Tupperware' effect and there is a playful and childlike element to the Residents that sits uncomfortably beside its sinister and darker elder sibling.

It's practically impossible to tell you what these tracks sound like as it would be like asking Sherlock Holmes to provide a description of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So as glib as the following may appear, they are sincere testament to what the contents do suggest, at least to me.

My Work Is So Behind - Yosemite Sam tackles rap but is interrupted by an incoming call on his cellphone

Birds in the Trees - The Beach Boys undergo a full body search by Customs in Hawai

Picnic Boy - Rare and previously unreleased Fun Boy Three and Mud collaboration

When We Were Young - Elgar's rejected score for 'The Spy Who Loved Me'

Love Leaks Out - Morrissey auditions as the replacement for Bob Marley in the Wailers

The Act of Being Polite - The on board demo that shipped with Casio's flagship Dictaphone

Loss of Innocence - Deputy Dawg sings the 'Jaws' theme

Simple Song - Like hearing Kraftwerk at the other end of a telephone

Ups and Downs - A lullaby sung by Vlad the Impaler

Possesions - Status Quo cover version by the house band in the Betty Ford Clinic

Moisture - Apocalypso Now

Amber - A sea shanty written by a shipwreck

I'm not even sure if the Residents would much care if they were considered 'progressive' or not, but I would place their tradition as belonging to that of psychedelia and 60's trash culture. For those with an adventurous spirit and a receptive set of ears, this record contains a bounty of unknown pleasures and more.

unsettling/beautiful/cute/kitsch/insidious (Delete as applicable)

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |


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