Many, many years ago, oh lordy, we must be talking at least 2004, my old boss offered me a lend of an album. “This looks like your sort of thing, Rob,” he said cryptically.
It was the first, self-titled Dresden Dolls album, and curse him for seeing the convolutions of my twisted little soul, he was right. It was skewed, wonky, unafraid of it’s influences, powerful, bold and brave. And I instantly fell in love with the stripy-stockinged loon that was Amanda Palmer. A clockwork Sally Bowles, a ticking song bomb. Greasepaint, corsets, minor chords and love songs to robot boys. What’s not to love?
Time moves on. The Dolls go into hiatus, and Amanda works on a solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? Produced by the mighty Ben Folds, it focuses on her piano-driven pop sensibilities, and is a work of utter joy. She makes a couple of cheeky, funny promos skewering the pop world, low-budget gems that show off her penchant for dressing up and being a bit silly. I fall in love all over again.
And then the wheels come off. Her record company, Roadrunner, best known as a metal label, clearly have problems with her. And they start to interfere with the way she portrays herself, calling into question her approach, her songcraft.
Then they start calling her fat.
And here’s the vid in question, so you can see what the fuss is all about.
Bellygate is clearly the thin end of the wedge as far as Amanda’s concerned. She is now involved in a turf war with Roadrunner. At stake, nothing less than her career. She’s making the perfectly valid point that Roadrunner don’t get her, never did, and are not treating her with any kind of respect or even mild interest. She wants out, and she doesn’t care who knows it.
Here’s her latest offensive, a song written especially for her label, that really tells you everything you need to know about the conflict this far. It’s utterly typical of Amanda that she should take a situation that’s clearly causing her pain and misery, and turn it into entertainment. The sign of a great performer.
Here’s to the exit sign, Ms. Palmer.
Props to Rick for pointing me at this in the first place.