As it says on the tin - this is The Residents' very own Top Forty of FAB poptastic tunes. Yeah - you heard right. Far from being the impenetrably cryptic experimental oddballs as their preceding albums have all suggested, here the Dada-esque mavericks have simply decided to play straight and issue forty delightful melodies each lasting exactly one minute as part of an initial concept to make some music for TV commercials. This they carried off when six of these tracks were indeed accompanied by short films all commissioned in 1980 (these were issued on the remastered DVD collection of the same title, and then accompanied by a whole load of brand new exclusive videos subsequently created by a variety of artists to illustrate the rest of the 40 tracks).
Ever ones for experimenting with song structures, here The Residents pare down the whole notion of a pop song to just one intro, one verse, one refrain and/or one chorus - and bang - that's it. Over. They reasoned that by doing this any pop song should ideally be just one minute long without the need to repeat to fade or insert bridges, extra choruses, etc... All very well and good then. Fortunately, far from the end result sounding like a load of pretentious drivel, the ensuing tunes are largely very enjoyable indeed. In fact, they're all over much too quickly! Impossible to cite highlights from this collection as all 40 tracks are just sublime. Different in mood and tempo and melody yes, but they all sound indisputably, characteristically the work of The Residents.
The album even features vocal contributions from Lene Lovich and Andy Partridge (XTC), as well as the omnipresent and loyal Snakefinger on guitar. All in all, this is a delightfully immediate and - yes - commercial - exercise in short sharp snappy songcraft, proving that when it comes down to it, the Residents are perfectly capable of composing nifty little pop nuggets as good as the rest of them.
Well worth getting hold of then - and I thoroughly recommend the whole load of extras (visuals, videos, etc) on the DVD issue too. What are you waiting for???