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The Residents - Meet The Residents CD (album) cover

MEET THE RESIDENTS

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.02 | 108 ratings

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Mr. Soot Gremlin
5 stars The world of avant-rock and experimental rock can be a dark and twisted place, yet no band was able to do it as well as the Residents did with their debut album. The genre can also be near unlistenable, which is what I think many people would feel about the Residents, even prog-fans who appreciate dissonance and complexity if used well. The problem (or perfection) of the Residents is that their music is dissonant and complex but also utterly chaotic and sinister. And it all is done on purpose. Take this album as a perfect example; out of tune instruments played by semi-competent musicians clang and sputter throughout and the compositions are in no way meant to be easily digested. This is rock music stretched to the very limits of listenability, and some might even find it impossible to sit through. My opinion? I like it very much.

What the Residents have managed to do with their debut album is create a work of art that not only has stood the test of time but has quietly defied all that is considered "normal" in the world of rock and pop. Even the album cover is a tease aimed at the most popular rock band of all time, and the heading below the title proclaims the Residents to be "North Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo". Nothing could be farther from the truth. From the start of the album, the band shows its intentions are far, far from the pop scene by massacring Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" with nothing but strained, hilarious singing and crazy saxophone accents. This leads directly into a suite of epic proportions that is some of the the darkest and most haunting music you will ever hear. The voice of the crazed singer screaming "Walk all over you!!" as the distorted piano (yes, distorted piano) fades in with a wobbling melody will stay with you for the rest of your days. And as the madness continues, it becomes clear that these musicians are doing everything deliberately. The dissonance and wobbling melodies are all there as part of the album's total experience, one that ranges from disturbing to confusing to funny. Wonderful examples or their intentions can be seen by listening to tracks like "Rest Aria", which follows the long opening suite and is the most stable composition on the album. It also proves that the band can produce startlingly original and listenable pieces, even though they are played on substandard instruments. Another would be the closing track, "N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)", in which for a few seconds the guys start an actually catchy little dance number with... (gasp)... drumset! This, however, is quickly destroyed by a looped vocal segment, and the band returns to its normal behavior: reinventing your concept of music.

This album is powerful, revolutionary, and sadly overlooked and unknown. So far, it is the best of the little I have heard from the Residents, and I believe that everyone should give it a serious chance. It is almost an educational experience to listen to Meet the Residents, because it truly shows how far music can go, and how going this far can be so very fun and unforgettable. Giving this album 5 stars is a must, because of its strength, audacity, and lasting power. Truly a masterpiece from America's best experimental rock band.

Mr. Soot Gremlin | 5/5 |

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