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The Residents - The Tunes of Two Cities CD (album) cover


The Residents



3.25 | 46 ratings

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2 stars 'The Mark of the Mole' was the beginning of a proposed project by The Residents that originally was supposed to be spread out among 6 albums. Because of the financial disaster of the concerts that were supporting this project, the project got prematurely terminated. The only albums released were Part 1: The Mark of the Mole, Part II: The Tunes of Two Cities (this one) and Part IV: The Big Bubble. There was also an EP released which had intermission music from the concerts. This project was also the beginning of a decade of mostly bad albums from The Residents. Most of the music from this era was really bad sounding electronics and synthesizers.

So, 'The Tunes of Two Cities' is supposed to represent the two opposing cultures that were developed in the story of 'The Mark of the Mole' by showing their differences in the kind of music the cultures listened to. So this kooky album's tracks alternate between the music of the chubs, which is elevator music style jazz, and the music of the mole people, which is industrial hymns, that are bizarre avant garde pieces done electronically.

The best track on the album is the opener 'Serenade for Missy' which seems to be the only track that uses a standard, organic instrument, the brass solo. This first one is the chub style. After that, it alternates. Most of the rest of the album is comprised of really bad synthesized instruments. The music is goofy, and tends to wear out its welcome quite quickly. This is the 'anti- music' that The Residents were trying to create, music so bad that it represents the bad pop music that is out there. The Residents were great at lampooning popular music and popular society, but during this segment of their career, it was done to the extreme that it was not so funny after the first few minutes, and the fact that people had a hard time not taking the music seriously.

While it is true that some of the Mole people's music is similar to the music in 'Eskimo', now it was just too fake sounding, and really seemed to serve no purpose like it did in the 'Eskimo' album. The flatness of the early electronica equipment also left the music sounding non-dynamic and this gets quite boring after a while.

I must say however, that at least this is a bit better that 'The Big Bubble' which came later. The music on that album had awful, indiscernible lyrics and really, really bad singing because it was supposed to represent another society's music. At least on this album, you don't have to sit through the bad singing, and a couple of the tracks are at least a bit interesting. This album also was the first to feature the use of a sampling device called the E-mulator, although it is quite prehistoric sounding. So at least it has some historical value, even if it doesn't have much hysterical value.

Anyway, it is very difficult to sit through listening to the album, and it is one that doesn't see the light of the CD-rom laser very often. Once in a while, I just have to remind myself how bad it can get.

TCat | 2/5 |


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