Today’s choice hails from Boston, Mass in the year of Nomar of 2006.
The Dresden Dolls – Yes Virginia…
Listen to it here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Dresden+Dolls+Yes+Virginia/67631909
Read about the duo here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dresden_Dolls#Discography
Fun Facts: The name of the act is at least partially inspired by the fire bombing of the city of the German city of Dresden by the allies during WWII. These attacks claimed the lives of over 25,000 people and has become one of the more controversial and lasting images of the war.
|RC: Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia…
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 4.5
|Preconceived Notions: Before collecting these tracks for the group I would’ve bet quite a chunk of change on them being a punk act. Something about the title of both the band and the album – sort of sets off the image of punk in my head. Anyway, the cursory listen I had to give while compiling this made me quickly re-think that classification. So now I’m confused and looking to sort it out…
After Listening: Piano and drums dominate this record. And that’s not a bad thing for the theatrical framework of these songs. Certainly a record that makes you wonder if these two are on to something, or if they’re all an act. Musically it’s a fairly shallow record, the piano is largely poppy, the drums – well they’re in time. The brief appearances by the other instruments are slight colored pieces better off being back in the mix, than being focused on for any good deal of time. Vocally, I couldn’t tell Amanda Palmer was a woman at 1st – she has a voice the reminds me at times of some dramatic male voice – like the lead singer of Modest Mouse. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy it, it’s got a timbre that sounds very good with sparse arrangements – and works best when she plays the lyrics straight up. Her voice can lend itself at times to annoyance with mock anger and a sort of smarminess when she’s trying to emote some of her more sarcastic lyrics. And really, what they’ve done is created a lyrically driven album-and it’s here, and on their delivery that the album is best judged. A myriad of sexual imagery-and a variety is conjured here, with both success and failure. Topical wise there’s plenty here to attempt to cause listener discomfort abortion, sex change, alcoholism, masturbation….but also there’s a duality of humor implicit in many of these subjects, and that side is played with skillfully here and there.
Favorite Tracks: “Backstabber” – a poppy song with a message of violence both implied and explicitly referred to as already having occurred. It has a nice backing chorus section, and just generally keeps your attention. One of the happiest songs with violent overtones I have heard in awhile.
Deliah – I think I mainly enjoy this track, b/c of the general idea. The music presents us with this melancholy tone that you’re just so certain is going to lead to a sad love song in the 1st person. But as the lyrics unfold you realize that it’s not about the singer’s love (or the singer’s character) at all, and it’s not about a traditional love, but that of an abusive relationship. And then the final twist, it’s the not the singer mourning over this person’s broken situation…it’s the singer being fed up with the victimization of her friend- and being disappointed and anger at her. An honest viewpoint that many of us have experienced in our own lives, a frustration that has no good outlet.
Least Favorite: First Orgasm – Musically it has a disturbingly juvenile (in the gradeschool sense) melody given it’s the backdrop of lyrics about masturbation. The allusions to church make an incomplete and shallow metaphor that leaves you uncomfortable more at the songwriting-instead of the idea, as was no doubt intended. And then apart from that, the song just sort of lays there (up to you if you wish to invoke the pun) until it reaches a bizarrely forced ending.
Overall: 3.778 I went from thinking these guys were just another punk band, to thinking they were some type of art rock fronted by a dude, to thinking they were pretty deep, to thinking they were a little formulaic. And here’s where I settled: I feel like this album is two different diaries kept by a teenage girl. One is the type she censors, that she hopes someone will find to showcase the best sides of her emotions- where she’s generous, empathic, kind, even hurt in romantically bittersweet ways-she’s very proud of this diary, it’s all of her. Well the all of her she’d like to be anyway. The 2nd type is the diary with 4 padlocks that even she can’t go back and read too many pages from without putting the thing down. The type of diary where everything comes out – no conclusions are made, and if they are they’re made with skepticism, sarcasm, inappropriate humor-and any other part of the human maelstrom that erupts. Honesty isn’t even a word that has relevance to these writings because the author never stumbles on the breath of thought about it….it just comes out. And I think when all is said and done on this one we get more of the padlocked diary which is important, interesting, and worth listening to…it’s just in more places than I would like I feel like I’m being lead down a path, instead of arriving there with the artist.