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The Residents - Tweedles! CD (album) cover


The Residents



2.63 | 22 ratings

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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 (and 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?

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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