Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: September 16, 2008
I get a certain thrill out of being bummed out. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I thoroughly enjoy movies and books with horribly bleak endings. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m such an outwardly happy person it’s nice to get away for a while, or maybe it’s because tragedy is incredibly intriguing to me. One way or the other I positively adore the Ben Fold’s produced debut solo album from Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, Who Killed Amanda Palmer.
This tragic record begins with “Astronaut,” a song that shifts between being a lonesome piano ballad to one more in the vein of a Dresden Dolls’ song. It is a fantastic start to the record, as it’s more upbeat, albeit with depressing lyrics, and it’s a nice transition into the next song, “Runs in the Family.” “Runs in the Family” is a perfect representation of what kind of writer Amanda Palmer is. The song, like “Astronaut,” is quick and upbeat, but the lyrics are so relentlessly self-deprecating they're hilarious. And that’s a recurring topic over the course of the album: self-deprecating humor. But the way Palmer sings, she comes off as sincere where many other artists would appear tacky.
Then, the record moves on to “Ampersand,” possibly my favorite song on the record, and one of my favorite songs of the year. This track is where the tragedy truly sets in; the ballad is so incredibly depressing, but the piano is so equally beautiful. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but again, the raw emotion in Palmer’s voice makes the song. “Leeds United” is a bizarre song; it’s quick, but the lyrics are quite confusing. I’m not really sure what to make of the hilariously weird one liner “And who needs love when the sandwiches are wicked and they know you at the Mac store,” but it’s a nice break between “Ampersand” and the equally depressing-as-fuck “Blake Says.”
“Blake Says” follows the actions of the titular character that is hinted to be somewhat mentally detached. The music is slow, and hopeless. It’s wonderful. “Strength Through Music” is another slow song, but it’s relation to campus violence hits hard in an era where school shootings are more then a rare occurrence. The next cut, “Guitar Hero,” is excellent if only for featuring East Bay Ray, of the Dead Kennedys, on guitar. The cultural relevance is here as well; this time with war and videogames. The tragedy continues on through “Have to Drive” into “What’s the Use of Wond’rin.” “What’s the Use…” is a unique song with its ‘50’s sound, but it keeps in with the theme of the album with incredibly dark lyrics about domestic abuse.
“Oasis” may be the only song that feels a little out of place on the record. It’s definitely the weakest on the album, but it’s still good regardless. The lyrics are dark, but a little silly, and the song just feels tacked on. Personally, I think it would be at home on a Doll’s record. After “Oasis” the record closes with two darker, slower tracks. “The Point of It All” is a great song, but it’s greatly overshadowed by “Another Year.” “Another Year” is a ballad about procrastination, an art in which I’m quite skilled. It’s not tongue-in-cheek though, no, Amanda Palmer is pretty fucking serious. Her desperation fills the ears while her piano reminds us how bleak life can be.
And that’s how Who Killed Amanda Palmer ends. It doesn’t end with a sing along anthem or an uplifting dance number. It ends like my favorite movies, it ends with my stomach sunk and my mind focused on what I just experienced, and it’s never happy.
I really like thsi CD, when I first got it I was like nice more No Virginia B-sides, much? But then I listened to it again recently and realized how great it actually is. I love Leeds United, Anstronoaut, Ampersand and Another Year. It is a great CD everyone interested check it out.