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The Residents: Commercial Album [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: The Residents
  • Format: Colour, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Mute Films
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Oct. 2004
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0006399LC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,508 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Residents' 'Commercial Album', a collection of 56 one-minute films based on the original 40 'Commercial Album' songs are presented.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great album and DVD which is one of the most exciting pieces of work from The Residents, really worthy to buy. If you like The Residents you will not be disappointed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Residents Commercial DVD 2 Mar. 2005
By TBo - Published on
Format: DVD
As a long time fan of the Residents, this is one of their best releases of the past ten years. The Commercial LP by itself was a very ambitious project and offered a wildly diverse selection of musical and philosophical nuggets. The DVD features very creative minute-long movies made by folks from around the world, matched to the various minute-long songs. Each of these movies is excellent, and every bit as interesting as the older catalog of Residents films, many of which are included on the DVD. What I like best about this DVD is that there are so many non-Residents perspectives that are all terrific. It's a great way to be introduced to media makers from around the planet....DEFINITELY recommended to Residents fans and people who have never heard of the Residents.

By the way, the production of the DVD is very good as well. Navigation is accessible by just playing the whole DVD, selecting pieces by filmmaker name, or choosing by song name.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
... 27 Dec. 2004
By SirTheory - Published on
Format: DVD
"The Commerical Album" was brilliant in it's scope and wit. Taking all of those songs and making music videos for them sounds like a disaster, but it was really executed well.

There are a lot of different directors and video makers represented here. Each adds his or her own touch, which allows each video to have it's own identity and the dvd not feel too repititous.

Thankfully, since each video is only a minute long, even the really bad ones are over quickly. Watching the entire thing is like taking a rollercoaster ride at the amusement park. And while the good ones are also over quickly, there is something equally interesting just following it.

The maze feature is unique, though loses it's novelty after a while.

I definately recommend this DVD over Icky Flix or Demons Dance Alone. I keep going back to this one time after time because it's easy to just sit down for ten minutes and see ten different movies.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Residents Go Commercial (again)! 15 Feb. 2008
By Thomas W. Hess - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Residents Commercial DVD is nothing short of amazing.

42 songs, each only one minute long (inc. two songs not included on the 1980 Commercial Album US LP release; "And I Was Alone" and "Shut Up Shut Up"). Every song is accompanied by at least one video clip, sometimes two different interpretations, by the Residents and a wide array of independent filmmakers.

The effect is almost like a string of television commercials, except in this case you are most often sorry to see each one end. Even if you're a bit weirded out by one, before you know it the song is over and you've moved on to another, which you'll probably like... what I find most amazing is the songs themselves, encompassing a huge variety of melodies, styles and moods, while at the same time being the most accessible music the Residents have ever produced. The one-minute rule not only imposes a strange discipline on the music, but also exercises all the fat from each selection, leaving only the bare essence of the song.

The videos are excellently crafted, showing a broad spectrum of visual interpretation, full of wit, humor, and insight. Where there are alternate versions of the same song, the approach taken by the non-Residents creator is always a fresh look, even unexpected (check out Picnic Boy, for instance). The fact that there are so many songs ensures that you will see a dizzying array of imagery, and I find it very addictive as ambient video, as you might play on infinite repeat at a party, or just in the background while you putter around the house.

Granted, the Residents are not for everyone, as the words "avant garde" or "bizarre" are often used to describe their aural and visual content. However, if you desire an entrance into the world of the Residents, this is probably it... just don't get lost in the maze.

All hail the guys (and/or gals) behind the eyes!
psychedelic... strange... 7 Jun. 2014
By S Tuffnell - Published on
Format: DVD
Welcome to the world of The Residents - the squeamish, mainstream, average pop music fan need not apply.

Residents' 'Commercial Album' is a 1980 Residents experiment where every track was designed to run for a whole minute with a few seconds to spare, to emulate the feel and style of a commercial. Fast moving, no nonsense, quirky music, with little verses, to complement the surreal sounds. The original 4 clips were put together by the Residents known as 'One Minute Movies' and introduced me to their style at an early age. Those clips are here and are the true highlights. At times the music may resemble a kids toy dinky piano or a glockenspiel, at other times there is a dark wall of sound or low synthesizer with a real atmosphere of doom and gloom. Nothing is as it seems and none of the songs are related to each other, rather you hear a whole swag of snippets of songs. The images are often unrelated to the lyrics, and very little is coherent. The album sounds like a sampler but these are the entire songs. The result is you just start enjoying the song and it ends abruptly without fanfare or apology. This is not as bad as it sounds because in contrast the songs you don't like are so short that it doesn't really matter.

The DVD to this album is a real curiosity piece but does not hold up to repeated viewings due to the nonsense on each clip. The brain cannot make sense of it and unless you decide to watch this doped up to the hilt, I guarantee the clips will soon become tiring. However the first viewing is a real treat and compelling viewing.

The Intro to the whole thing begins with a train whistle and an image of a locomotive barrelling towards us, and then a series of Cryptic Corporation logos. The strange psychedelic music begins adding to the high strangeness and all the guest artists are listed and we then launch straight into the trippiest series of music clips ever! I can only describe them as I see them so here's my unedited notes on each clip. You can take what you want from these notes. It really is a feast of one unsettling bizarre image package after another. Some clips created by The Residents, others created by guest artists. The DVD features the entire 'Commercial Album' but not in order of track.

Handful of Desire (1:00) - a bad way to start the barrage of clips. The rudest clip of the lot - the skin flick clip that's not to be shown to minors, miners or minotaurs. We see three images of headless nude people. In the middle a girl stripped down who reveals a hideous face. The other two frames show a male slapping the salami - blech! Woops, the girl just showed her puppies. As Jar Jar Binks would say, 'How Wude'. And there's a giant banana that comes down - subtle it aint!

Troubled Man (1:00) - Residents created this clip. The song grows on you with a nice little melody. The clip features an old man looking at the mirror which morphs unsettling reflections back and upsets him. A girl appears and he drives off to buy $1 tickets to see the movie "Love Story".

The Nameless Souls (1:00) - Ty Bardi's clip of a male marionette who finds a female marionette - you can guess the rest though the kiss is less than convincing. I like the song "she was just uncaring... indifferent... what else could she do... I was just a stranger...."

Amber (1:00) - cool melody and very weird clip of a figure doing bizarre things. Is that Molly singing?

Birds In the Trees (1:00) - A song over stuffed with shrilly sfx and a nasty deep vocal performance. Can't figure this one out at all. I think a bird may have appeared...

In Between Dreams (1:00) - a very bass heavy sound especially on keyboards that stab down without subtlety. Another Instrumental with a non-sensical clip.

Margaret Freeman (1:00) - Who is she? We will never know. We see a shadowy scenario with a claymation figure of grotesque proportions - that's her I guess. The Norman Bates' mummy look-a-like smiles evilly - dang this is weird, my heart is thumping hard now.

Act of Being Polite (1:00) - disturbing song and sonic bass is awesome. "I found her crying in the morning sitting in a chair, she was wrapping something up and wrapping it with care, I did not mean to hurt her when I fell asleep last night, I was just exhausted from the act of being polite." The clip is unforgettable. Blurred images, disturbing animation , fingers wrapping up a person's brain, blood drips down the screen, old images of a house are haunting. The original clip featured the eyeball Resident in top hat draped over a girl, exhausted from his escapades. We see an animated heart crushed and grinded down. Another tale of unrequited love.

My Second Wife (1:00) - Who knows what happened to the first.... Residents created this clip again. An animated swarm of bees flying around through the night sky and through houses where swordfishes hang on walls. The instrumental is weird and ethereal, even featuring a crowd cheering. The clip also features a TV, a cigar, creepy female face morphing sardonically. Are we having fun yet?

The Talk of Creatures (1:00) - this is as silly as it gets both song and clip. A minimalist approach again. The costumed maniacs on the clip are laughing at us for watching this bizarreness.

Loneliness (1:00) - a real fan favourite as it's a good song about isolation or alienation. The clip features a taxi driver, he watches a light that magnifies his close up face. Weird is too kind for this curiosity.

Die In Terror (1:00) - sounds nasty by the title but really a morbid minimalist attack on a form of music, the lyrics are inaudible, thankfully. The clip is really full of unsettling imagery such as a man slicing a huge knife back 'n' forth on his palm, perhaps suicidal? Eyes rotate around the screen making us feel under surveillance. Residents created this clip and its damn disturbing.

Suburban Bathers (1:00) - A collage of waves, swimmers, colorized ultra violet blue. The music is sweeping and sporadic, very child like.

Medicine Man (1:00) - Intermittent beat and irregular metrical shifts highlight this instrumental. Images of a fiery house, a space alien attack, a walking slide, a sauce spitting freak, why? oh yes, it is the Residents, I forgot.

And I Was Alone (1:00) - This is an instrumental highlight with excellent music and a dark clip, very eerie featuring a darkened house, dead fish and red walls in a red room and antique furniture.

Tragic Bells (1:00) - a car speeds down the road, through a tunnel, no sign of paparazzi, and the architecture warps. The song lyrics flick on screen, "Tragic Bells are ringing for me.... don't know when it will end..."

Loss of Innocence (1:00) - a good attempt at a song. The clip is unforgettable featuring a boy in a red striped jumper walking through city scapes and towns searching for something. Residents created this clip. The song is another highlight.

Floyd (1:00) - 2 rich gits in a bubble vacuum, a skull, artwork, porcelain figures, a robot, toy horsie, a devil - you can figure out who is Floyd.

Ups and Downs (1:00) - a very surreal clip and song. The music is compelling with off kilter strangled singing. I like the zaps at the end. It seems to collapse.

Love Is... (1:00) - a very unsettling song and clip. Indescribable. If you can, let me know.

Less Not More (1:00) - heavily percussive and the clip has animated shapes that morph and interchange. Very colourful.

Picnic Boy (1:00) - Residents created this clip too. A toy that is animated and Mr Skull appears with a slob slumped in the corner. Nice. Sounds like Lene Lovich is singing. Actually I found out from the credits it IS Lene Lovich singing and she does a comparable job too.

The Simple Song (1:00) - The sound is Kraftwerk gone beserk. Childish and simple "We are simple, you are simple, like this simple tune... We are simple, you are simple, like this simple tune..." This is not as good as the clip on the one minute movies but a bunch of bubbles singing still has some interest. The original clip featured Residents dancing around a flaming fiery candelabra with occultic sacrificial rites, if you like that sort of thing...

Perfect Love (1:00) - Fantastic song with great melody. "There's something I must tell you, there's something I must say, the only really perfect love is one that gets away." The vocals sound indifferent as if he has no interest in singing, but it works well. Nice clip, though the original again from the one minute movies is way better.

Secrets (1:00) - Penguin Bros created this. Its a doozy featuring a tarantula crawling and then its captured by a boy who keeps it in a jar in his bedroom. The spider escapes and we see it crawling up a building - a dream? The boy awakes and checks and the spider is gone. This clip at least kind of makes sense. The song is similar in melody and style to The Simple Song. I love the clip.

Japanese Watercolor (1:00) - Oriental influences abound creating strange music with Eastern influences. Nice Kabuki chick on the clip stripping down. The sax creates a sad solemn sound. Great instrumental.

Easter Woman (1:00) - Red sepia toned buildings, catacombs of steel girders, nothing to do with Easter, elongated arms and a fish face female. The music is not as unsettling as that though.

End of Home (1:00) - Residents created this clip that shows images of a flower, a Mohawk figure, Travis the Taxi driver? More close up flowers sweeping past, a well lit country homestead, and tears drip from a CGI face. We see a girl in a heart of flowers creating the happy ending, for a change. Very good song with excellent well executed synth.

Fingertips (1:00) - This one actually sounds like music, with some cool guitar licks, commercial indeed! The clip is freaking creepy and just awful. So disturbing it demands attention.

Phantom (1:00) - one of the best clips with actual eyeball footage. The residents themselves in CGI! Almost like a video game. It's the best instrumental.

The Coming of the Crow (1:00) - A seascape, an aerial shot moving along the landscape until we meet the eyeball Resident! An instrumental where the music is creepy with angular jangly guitar and irregular drums.

Dimples and Toes (1:00) - A Retro style clip to very disjointed, erratic, jaunty music without drums and well sung. "She is attractive but very restrained..." the lyrics are all on screen over images of a girl dancing in a garden.

Love Leaks Out (1:00) - Residents created this clip of a airplane pilot looking like Biggles, his close up face morphing into various people, changing expression. There is a US flag patriotically waving in the background. Biggles on Acid. The song is monotonous drivel unfortunately.

Moisture (1:00) - A classic track, my favourite with very cool melody and lyrics that are enigmatic. "Someone saw a stranger there with moisture on her lips, and it was also seen upon her arms and on her hips, no one knows exactly who she was or how she died, but when they opened up her purse they found a snail inside." The clip is great with that unforgettable image of crustacean claws attacking a silken wrapped female corpse. Yes it's the nightmare image that began that original 'one minute movies' series of clips.

My Work Is So Behind (1:00) - strange... just strange. I will not even bother to write about this.

Possessions (1:00) - Legs hang from the ceiling and someone reaches up to grab them, crawls up the trousers and they all reach for the ceiling. They escape through a black hole. The song is just as bizarre but it sounds delightfully progressive.

Give It To Someone Else (1:00) - The singing on this is great, very nasal like 'It's a Man's World'. And those lyrics "Squirming just a little bit... the sound of slapping skin... " What? Innovative music enhances this. Another definitive highlight.

Red Rider (1:00) - CGI animated caged hen, a pic of a Zeppelin, a toymaker, a cyclist with flowing red hair. That's what the song's about too. "Cellar doors are open but the stones were out that night, the light reflected from the leaves the sky was still too bright, I saw her passing as the wind was rising in the air, she rode upon a red bicycle and she had red hair".

La La (1:00) - Return of the eyeball Residents Magritte style, falling on the screen in an arty way, we see a multi eyed fat freak, a singing box and other monstrosities. Upbeat music for a change of pace.

Nice Old Man (1:00) - Quirky song with even quirkier clip. An old man of course.

When We Were Young (1:00) - Veber Veber created the clip featuring bouncing kids on fluffy clouds. The music is more accessible on this one and quite angelic.

Shut Up Shut Up (1:00) - Freaky cheerleaders, and Godzilla crushes Barbie. Its as weird as it sounds. The song is very catchy featuring cute little screams and a heavy guitar plucked from hell.

And thus ends the DVD as abruptly as it started. 56 minutes of mind numbing bizarreness from end to end. How can you describe this? Is it possible? You will have your own interpretation but nothing really makes sense and it doesn't hang together. The best thing about it is, it is one way to get hold of the tracks from the rare 'Commercial Album', but after a few viewings you are probably going to just want the songs by themselves without having to be inundated by all the strange freaky clips. The images are disturbing and play on the mind, and therefore not a pleasant experience to repeat over and over. One viewing was a fascinating hour of curiosity, however a second and third viewing begins to expose the clips for what they are - just a bunch of non sensical clips, that are at times mere puerile nonsense that are neither entertaining or worth discussing. I can tell you what the clips feature as far as images, but I could not begin to try and explain them as no explaining seems warranted nor justified, in fact perhaps the clips border on the infantile.

This is The Residents creed - to experiment with music as an art form rather than an accessible entertaining form, as they are not concerned with appeasing or pleasing the masses. Indeed there is nothing of conciliatory value here, rather a fractured series of random images designed to shock or disturb. The residents achieve that much definitely without overdoing it completely, though I could have done without the clip to 'Handful of Desire'. The result is a tiring barrage of surrealism, like looking at an art gallery that moves. Some of the clips are excellent, especially the Residents-created clips, but others you will want to skip on repeated viewings of the DVD. As a result, I could not recommend this DVD to anyone apart from die hard Residents fans. My main qualm with it is there is so little in the way of actual footage of the Residents. Occasionally, the eyeball top hatted figures appear but its not consistent enough. Some clips look like college or Uni art students having a stab at animation, and it looks as amateurish and juvenile, if not worse than a college ICT project. However, the music is still great and the main selling point of the DVD is that it certainly will create a topic of conversation. I dare you to show it to your parents. 3 stars for the highlights.
Like Walt Disney on Acid 1 Sept. 2006
By S. A DUNN - Published on
Format: DVD
One of my obsessive, compulsive deviancies is music, dvd roms and dvd's of my favorite Eyeball Buddies, The Residents! I've always enjoyed their freak-out type misguided tonal ventures on the Community Radio. The Commercial Album was the first CD I ever owned, and it's 50 one minute wonders were all just like Christmas the first time I heard them!

Now, at last, The Residents and their deviant friends have put these wonderful wonders to artistic, and Timothy Learylike visual vixens of eye candy!

My favorites!

"Talk of Creatures"- When the 'creatures' scribbled in their books and showed each other the drawings, they freaked out! And so did I!

"Ups and Downs"- A stamp footed thingie with a freznel lens head tries to capture and examine a little sprite fragment! He steps on it, it explodes into red string that binds him!

"Suburban Bathers"- Pay no attention to the naked forms on top, pay attention to the rubber suited figure on the bed below, with his gas mask!

After viewing the 56 odd treasures in this mast(u)rpiece, you can say, with authority..."NOW I'VE SEEN EVERYTHING!"
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