Review Summary: The Commerical Album has alot of great songs, but almost all of them don't go anywhere.
The Commerial Album was disappointment to me. As a Residents fan, I expected something really great out of an album full of 40 one minute songs. I hoped it would be like Wire’s “Pink Flag”, but more weird and interesting and…Residentsque. Instead, the album falls into a deep, dark pit of underdevelopment. I will refuse to call these songs, but rather ideas.
One should note that all the ideas here are catchy, diverse, and clearly had the sparkle of what could have been mind-blowing songs. Easter Women, for example, kicks off the album with a high note. It has that spine-chilling funeral march feel to it, and by the time first verse hits “Eeeeaster women came today and took away my wife…” the music is so creepy that it’s hard not to feel shivers go down your spine. Then, it just stops. There’s no development, there is no new ideas added on, and, hell, there isn’t even a proper ending. It just ends like the band just give up. You better get used to this, because every track on the album is like this.
Now, instead of listing everything that’s wrong about this album, I’m going to talk about the tracks that actually do work on here.
Act Of Being Polite- With just synths and vocals, it ends up being the only song that actually works being a one minute song. With all its minimalistic sounds, it truly gives you that unnerving feeling you sometimes get at night, when your alone, and you can’t sleep, and you think there is someone in your room…
Moisture – By far, the albums best song and it’s most developed song. Instead of stopping abruptly in the song, The Residents let the song have TWO verses (What?) and a guitar solo midway (Huh?), and it’s incredibly catchy and fun to listen to. Granted, it could have been a better song if they had made it longer, but out of all the songs on this album it’s the track that I repeat the most.
Japanese Watercolors- Although this song REALLY suffers from lack of development, it’s the most interesting. They start out with one idea, then adds another, then adds another, then ends abruptly in the albums fashion. Like I said, it lacks development for than any other song, and sounds more like a Terry Riley piece that should last 20 minutes with constant musical ideas adding on and on and on.
And finally, Fingertips- With only one verse and a guitar, it ranks up there with Moisture as the best song on the album. It has a slow beat to it, and a mind blowingly amazing guitar solo that ends up being the most memorable moment of the album (although I wish the solo was 4 minutes rather than 20 seconds).
In conclusion, this album had a great concept that wasn’t excuted well. They weren’t exactly the first band to mess around with the idea of making an album full of one minute songs, and they definitely weren’t the best at it. After this album, their music went all downhill, and they ended up trying to hard to be weird and creative, and eventually completely lost their focus in the main purpose of their music. I have to admit, if you have NEVER heard of The Residents, then I would suggest getting this album first. It reflects their style of music more than any other album and, next to Duck Stab, is their most accessible.