Amanda Palmer's new album is finally out having been purely funded by her fans using the Kickstarter crowd-funding service. $1,192,793 pledged by 24,883 people in 30 days. Impressive figures showing that people are indeed still willing to pay for music. It just requires that they expect and get quality and that they feel connected to the project and the artist. Amanda is without a doubt one of the most innovative artists today and she operates in this internet based world with true perfection. Most artists could learn a lot from her.
Having seen her shows in Brighton and London last year and having had a blast at her 3 days Kickstarter event in London this summer, I already knew 2/3 of the songs before the album was out. I already knew that the quality would be damn great. What is more impressive however, is that the rest of the album is just as great. It is a hugely satisfying pop rock album from beginning to end. It has a lot of the sound from the eighties to it, but don't expect it to sound dated at all. It is an album that deserves to be played loud and there's a good chance it will find itself on your playlist for a very long time.
I reckon Amanda Palmer the most interesting artist on today's music scene. You just never know what you get when you go see her live or listen to something new she has put out. But most of the time it blows you away and even when it does less than that, it rarely fails to make you smile.
Amanda is not the greatest singer in the world but her energy, piano skills and charisma more than makes up for that. She is the perfect entertainer. And on her new album and live she is backed by a group of musicians with talent and many skills. The Grand Theft Orchestra has 3 band members: Michael, Chad and Jherek. We have come a long way since The Dresden Dolls but Amanda still sounds like herself and not quite like anybody else.
The songs that I knew already from the singles, the internet, live gigs:
- The first song Smile is a great song but I'm not happy with the production. I think it would have worked better with a more smooth and easier digestible sound. As it is now it is a great song with a heavily distorted sound, and I think it's potential could have been used better.
- The Killing Type is a really great song even if I liked it even better as a raw acoustic version performed live at the Kickstarter shows. It doesn't however take anything away from the album version which is also very enjoyable, almost as much as the bloody video that is quite an experience. Nope, Amanda is really not the killing type. DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!
- Do It with A Rock Star is an in-your-face pop rock song that works best when played at a thunderous volume.
- Want It Back is a live favorite with a good melody and chorus. It works well on the album and it worked well live sung thru a megaphone.
- Trout Heart Replica is a slow and quiet song with great strings arranged by the band's bass player Jherek.
- Lost is another great pop tune that I wrongly first thought was named Wallet. It's been a live favorite since last year and this song will win over any live audience.
- The Bed Song is about a relationship that's gone completely wrong. It's a piano song and the lyrics are among the best on the album.
"and i lay there wondering
what is the matter
is this a matter
of worse or of better
you took the blanket
so i took the bed sheet
but i would have held you
if you’d only
- Massachusetts Avenue is always fun live because of Amanda's use of local horn players giving it a new twist every time. It's a song about the street she lives on and it's another one of those tunes that you'll love instantly.
- I first heard Berlin at the London Kickstarter event and I didn't really like it. That hasn't changed and I think it's the only throw-away song on the album. Amanda used to strip for money for a period of time and that's what this song is about. Unfortunately I think that it's a complete mess to listen to and I usually quickly skip it.
- Olly Olly Oxen Free is the last song on the album and it ends this album with yet another catchy pop tune that will probably get stuck in your head for several hours.
The songs I hadn't heard before:
- Grown Man Cry is a slow tune that I instantly fell in love with.
"and i’m scanning
through the stations
as the boys declare
but it doesn’t
feel like feelings
it feels like
it’s like they
just want blowjobs
and they know these
songs will get them."
- Bottomfeeder has this dreamy sound to it and it's one of my current album favorites. Extremely catchy tune. One of those you can't help but love.
- Melody Dean is an up tempo kick ass pop song with an electro twist and again it's one of my favorites if not the favorite.
"i never put my foot in the
same river twice
i don’t like getting wet"
The Bonus Tracks:
As a Kickstarter backer you get the full package of bonus tracks. Other versions only get some of them. The full list of bonus tracks are:
- Denial Thing,
- The Living Room,
- Ukulele Anthem,
- From St. Kilda To Fitzroy,
- Video Games ft. Dot.AY,
- Not Mine.
They are actually worth getting. Several of them are quite cool.
The different versions:
I already have the digital download, the retail CD, the retail vinyl 2LP (incl. free CD). I am waiting for the Kickstarter 2LP and companion art-book to arrive. Looks like the only version I won't be getting is The Kickstarter CD. The music is the same anyway, so I guess I'll have to live with that. The Vinyl 2LP sounds very good by the way. 180g heavy top quality and the eighties sound is perfect for vinyl. Also it suits the album very well to be split on 2 physical discs.
spread the love,
spread the word,
play your ukulele.