Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer

October 1, 2008

This may be an Modern Rock Faux Pas on a grand scale, but I have to admit I hadn’t listened to a Dresden Dolls album all the way through until fairly recently. I wasn’t aware that this solo album by the lead singer of that band even existed until I came across it a couple of days after it’d been released, in a Target, no less. My first impression of it from reading the back cover copy, by Neil Gaiman, was that Who Killed Amanda Palmer was a concept album of some sort or another, which it isn’t, really. (It’s a Twin Peaks reference.) My second impression, after actually listening to the contents, was that it was pretty amazing music for the most part, risky, sometimes borderline pretentious and sometimes just sort of silly, but always compelling, from first note to the last. It’s Palmer with full instrumentation, produced and arranged with Ben Folds, so in addition to piano and drums, there are guitars, bass, a full string section, choruses, guest vocalists, etc., all used to marvelous effect. The music is an expansion on the punk cabaret style heard on the Dresden Dolls albums, albeit expanded quite a lot. A good deal of Who Killed Amanda Palmer is given over to grandly stylized pop, with a Broadway cover thrown in as well, and you know, a surprisingly amount of it actually rocks. I have to say, I like it better when Palmer isn’t singing like Marlene Dietrich (a lot better, honestly), but I have no complaints about her lyrics, which are grimly intelligent, sardonically witty and tempered with just the right amount of romanticism. So, yeah, I liked this album a lot, and I certainly recommend it. Standout cuts: “Astronaut,” “Runs In The Family,” “Leeds United” and “Guitar Hero.”


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