4th March 2009
The solo-debut from Amanda Palmer opens with an explosion of shouts and banging piano in Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing. The piano lulls fleetingly for the entry of her deep, dark voice, before both she and the piano rollick together with pounding drums, then mellow out once again, in a Pixies-esque cabaret kind of way.
I’m in complete, head over heels, ridiculous, teenager-like love with Amanda Palmer’s voice. Her Boston accent is musical in itself, but her voice has an addictive toffee-richness.
The solo effort Who Killed Amanda Palmer? knocks the socks off. It is both rollicking and gentle. Astronaut could wake up your neighbourhood; Leeds United is stuck-in-your-head-all-day catchy, while the ballad Ampersand is simply beautiful. Palmer doesn’t just sing. She weaves raucous stories.
Some of those stories have courted some controversy.
Now, the video for upbeat track Oasis has been banned in the UK, apparently for “making fun of rape and abortion”. The song is about a teenager who is fed alcohol, gets raped and has an abortion, but finds it’s all ok really because she sent a letter to Oasis and they sent her an autographed picture back.
It seems in this case the Brits don’t understand the power of irony in expressing a message. Palmer, herself a rape victim, blogged: “if you cannot sense the irony in this song, you’re about two intelligence points above a kumquat.”
That isn’t the only uproar - a fan “reBELLYon” was sparked when her label demanded she remove “uncommercially fat” shots of her stomach from the video for Leeds United . . . fans responded by sending pictures of their own stomachs to the record company.
All controversy aside, Who Killed Amanda Palmer is a quickly addictive solo debut which fans of The Dresden Dolls will lap up. I only wish it included her cover of Radiohead’s Creep, which she plays with a ukulele. Have a listen here.
Fingers crossed she plays it at her Auckland show, where I’ll be front and centre. The word is the openly bisexual musician likes femme girls . . . guess I’ll be dusting off the heels then. Heh.