Album Review: Amanda Palmer – Theater is Evil

The De Mello Rating – *

Amanda Palmer has had a crazy few months. She held a Kickstarter project and raised over one million dollars, had a bit of controversy surrounding her call for free tour musicians (she responded to the open letter with one of her own) and released a new album, Theater is Evil. If you’ve this blog at all you probably have an indication of how I feel about artists using Kickstarter as s funding source. As far as the posting for free musicians I think Amy Vaillancourt-Sals expressed the point very well and I feel I don’t need to throw my two cents in here.

Onto the album; Theater is Evil is about as disjointed an album as I’ve heard in a while. It’s just a bit all over the place. There are a few good songs on the album, a few awful songs on the album and everything else in between. It is a very avant-garde album with techniques many of us aren’t used to, but that has never precluded me from liking something before. In fact, I’d almost be more inclined to like it for taking chances. My main issue is that Mrs. Palmer simply doesn’t sing well in many of the songs and the style that she is attempting in the songs that are truly bad on the album like the first real track “Smile (Pictures or it Didn’t Happen)” don’t fit her voice.

Theater Is Evil is bloated, odd and overproduced. There are a few songs that I found to be pretty good like “Grown Man Cry”, but songs like that aren’t the norm on this album and her voice is a cross between David Byrne and Chrissie Hynde which would be fantastic if the album lent itself to a cohesive group of songs. If you’re a fan of Mrs. Palmer’s or a contributor to her Kickstarter campaign then you are probably in the vocal majority that loves this album, but as for me I simply can’t bring myself to recommend it.

Worst Song: Smile (Pictures or It Didn’t Happen) – I hated this song from go. It is such a sophomoric attempt at connecting on some weird level with an ongoing internet meme. I understand Mrs. Palmer has struck internet gold, but this song is laughably bad. There is no other song this terrible on the album, so this was an easy choice. I definitely wouldn’t have led off with this one.

Theater is Evil is available here.

If you disagree with me or are interested in seeing Amanda Palmer live check out her tour dates here.

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