Usually when I write about music on this here blog, it’s about Ben Folds, Piano God Extraordinaire. And with the recent release of The Sound of the Life of the Mind, the first Ben Folds Five album in 13 years or so, there will be a post up in the next week about what I think of it. Early review: it’s alright. But I’m going to head a bit out of my comfort zone and look at an album that I had a small hand in making happen through the artist’s Kickstarter campaign. That album, as the title alludes to, is Theatre is Evil by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra.
My exposure to Ms. Palmer prior to the album was pretty limited. I had heard of the Dresden Dolls growing up, but it wasn’t quite in my wheelhouse at the time. However, when I joined Twitter back in the day, she was recommended as a person to follow, so I listened to the little bird and did so. As a bit of an artist myself (LOL), it is always interesting to see the various ways that people promote themselves or what they produce. I found Palmer’s tweets to be interesting and many of her blogs about whatever to be a good read. I tracked down some other music, which she tends to make available to folks for whatever they want to pay on her website. She entered rotation on my Ben Folds dominated iPod, and when they teamed up with others to do 8in8, I was hooked. “Because the Origami” is one of my favorite songs, and the combination of Palmer and Folds is awesome.
Earlier this year, Palmer decided to use Kickstarter to fund her new album and a pretty awesome tour. While it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to catch her anywhere near me, it still felt pretty cool to contribute to a person making art. Throughout the process, she released many of the songs to supporters, and I have to admit I was pretty impressed with what she was doing. And when I finally got the album last week, within a day of getting access to the new BF5 album, I found myself listening more to Theater is Evil. When someone can knock a new BF5 album down a peg when I get both the same week is saying something.
Since I am not a professional music critic, nor do I want to be, I don’t know if I can find the words to describe the album. It truly is a powerful album from beginning to end. I think the thing that I was most impressed with was the range that Palmer shows from song to song. The first song, “Smile (Pictures or it Didn’t Happen),” sounds dramatically different from the next song “The Killing Type,” both in style and vocal range by Palmer. This is repeated from song song across the album, and if you think that Ben Folds cornered the market on loud piano rock with the songs from Way to Normal, have a listen to “Do It With a Rockstar,” which is probably my favorite song on the album, if not my favorite song of 2012.
I could talk about every track which each have their own distinct style, but that might be a waste of time. Just get the album and have a listen. It is that good. It would probably be easier to point out which song I don’t like, but I don’t think that would be fair. They are all so brilliant and unique in their own way. I went into my first listen a casual fan and emerged 100% all-in to all future projects from Amanda Fucking Palmer!
Well done, Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra.
Until next time…