Amanda Palmer

Theatre is Evil

8ft.

Sep 14, 2012 Issue #42 - The Protest Issue Bookmark and Share


Amanda Palmer is suffering from an identity crisis. Theatre is Evil, Palmer's first solo album since parting ways with her label, finds the self-proclaimed piano-slayer yearning not only to do it with a rock star, but to become one. The result is a song set that begins a move away from the haunted cabaret halls where Palmer shines-but never manages to go anywhere of note.

Palmer is a shrewd entrepreneur who had has built her near cult-like empire on the power of her unfiltered honesty; the album's oft-generic content is unexpected. But partnered with newly-formed backing band Grand Theft Orchestra, the "I" has been replaced with "we" and "you," and clever, piano-driven nuances have been all but eschewed in favor a larger, guitar-based sound. This in itself wouldn't be bad, if it weren't for the fact that Palmer leaves most of her personality behind in the shift. "The Killing Type" epitomizes the failure in Palmer's new approach to lyrics. "I just can't explain how good it feels," she sings. Fair enough, but the mere fact Palmer doesn't even attempt to seems unsporting. In "Grown Man Cry" she takes it a step further, rhyming "feelings" with itself. This from the woman who used to boast a seemingly endless supply of double-entendres?

The album's high points all stem from Palmer doing what she does best-namely, spinning tales of heartbreak. Tour staple "Trout Heart Replica" finds a home as the album's orchestra centerpiece, as does "Bed Song," Palmer's picturesque tale of two uncommunicative lovers. But the gut-wrenching moments are too often usurped by lost wallets, Instagram photos, and tales of songs on the radio-none of which add up to anything greater than the sum of their parts. As with all her projects, be it Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn, or as a solo artist, Palmer proves her chutzpa. What she has failed to prove is that Theatre is Evil is anything more than a passing fancy. (www.amandapalmer.net)

Author rating: 4.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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Jennifer
September 20th 2012
1:17pm

It was kind of a relief to find this review because everyone else seems to be raving about this album. Amanda Palmer’s been my favourite musician for the last eight years but this latest attempt just didn’t hit home for me.

Michael
September 23rd 2012
11:51am

I think you might need to listen again; the songs certainly contain substance. “Lost,” for example, starts with the lost wallet mentioned in the review, but is actually a song about what it’s like when people you love are dead; like Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” it introduces the idea of losing through small things, only to build it into something much larger. A lot of the album is like that. And anyone who doesn’t recognize “Grown Man Cry” as an instant classic probably has broken ears.

Michael Russell
September 30th 2012
1:20pm

No one’s ever lost forever
When they die they go away
But they will visit you occasionally
Do not be afraid
No one’s ever lost forever
They are caught inside your heart
If you garden them and water them
They make you what you are
No one’s ever lost forever
When they die they go away
But they will visit you occasionally
Do not be afraid
No one’s ever lost forever
They are caught inside your heart
If you garden them and water them
They make you what you are
      -Amanda Palmer, Theater is Evil, Album of the Year

Dark
November 15th 2012
2:17am

Amanda PALMER’S Kickstarter campaign was a Scientology SCAM. 24000 donations which can’t be verified translate to 24000 free downloads of her shitty album. That means she has 1000 actual downloads.  That’s why she couldn’t paty musicians. The sceinos won’t pay anymore. Amanda Palmer is human trash.

Cari
December 26th 2012
3:22am

I wish this idiot Amanda Palmer would get lost forever.

hochbeet
January 12th 2013
5:57am

hoping to have this album right away… i want to see how she made her new solo album. ill be listening this in my bed…