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Commercial Album Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Mar. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Euroralph
  • ASIN: B0000081O9
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 679,447 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This was the first Residents album I heard after hearing "End of Innocence" and "La La" on a sampler. Quite amazing, brimming with ideas. Melodic and tuneful and COMMERCIAL, but quite definitely Residential. A fantastic introduction to the synthesizer era work of the four Op Tops!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94558510) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93f2a1e0) out of 5 stars More proof why the Residents are pioneers, not just wack jobs 3 Nov. 2006
By Scott Hedegard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Many listeners got their first taste of the Residents on the "Dr. Demento" radio program back in late 1979 or 1980. The song was "The Laughing Song" and I never forgot how wonderfully bizarre it was.

Louisiana swamp rats who relocated to San Francisco (a good choice, given the musical tolerance the Bay Area has boasted over the years) and created a stir with never revealing their identities and making head size eyeballs famous, the Residents specialized in proto-synth programming that predated Devo and just about every cutting edge artist, with the possible exception of Can, the German experimental legends. While comedy is the main focal point of these twisted genius' work, they also experiment with sounds and textures never before attempted or replicated. In fact, "Eskimo", their biggest selling album, is somewhat serious, a five part soundscape that defies description in print.

For those not quite ready to take the plunge with "Eskimo", "The Commercial Album" is a good starting point as each selection is exactly one minute long, making up forty snippets of amazing hooks, noises, and even the occasional pretty tune. Fans of electronic music like NIN, meet your roots. Reznor could never have created his work without these pioneers. As so often is the case, some of the world's most obscure artists also act as the most influential. Laugh along, but don't forget the new ground that is constantly being broken as you listen to "The Commercial Album". Also, pick up "Duck Stab/Buster & Glen", the other Residents' masterwork.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93f2a234) out of 5 stars Defines the 80's 28 Mar. 1999
By NO GURU (ladida@cyberusa.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album was originally released in 1980 and it is the best album of that decade, as it satirically typifies the shady border between art and commerce which was the crux of that time. We have 40 one minute songs covering a range of dark subjects (Death of children. . .Mental illness in loved ones. . .Inner thoughts of serial killers. . .etc) all set to deliciously loopy, childlike melodies. In a warped kind of way, it chronicles the transition in popular music from angry punk to hyperkinetic, polyrhythmic new wave. Heavy on electronic keyboards, think of it as Commercial jingles from some Dostoyevskian Underground.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x943333d8) out of 5 stars Best Release I've Gotten my Paws On 11 July 2008
By K. Tkacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are plenty of reviews that will tell you why you should or shouldn't buy this album, but it frustrates me that so few reviewers on Amazon mention the actual version of the product at hand. I would think that many if not most of the potential buyers of this disc are already familiar with The Residents, if not this album itself, but what is seldom (if ever) mentioned is that this is a fantastic 'pressing' packaged very handsomely in a CD-sized, glossy hardcover book. I first dicovered that Residents albums were being packaged this way when I recently picked up the two double-album discs comprising the so-called 'Mole Trilogy.' I decided to take a chance on this disc (as well as Duck Stab) and was very happily surprised to see that these, too, had been released in these wonderful packages, with booklets containing artwork and lyrics.

As for the music, what can I say? The "Commercial Album," a 'reaction' of sorts to their own magnum opus "Eskimo," is a late-70s avant garde classic, a kind of satire of a culture of sound bites. There are 40 1-minute tracks (as opposed to the single 40-minute track on "Eskimo") that sound like an alien child's attempt to recreate the experience of having heard Earth music, and in particular, music from TV & radio ads (in my opinion).

Are all the tracks great? No, you have to absorb them more as a collection, but it's still a clever concept album, and some of these tunes will have you laughing at their absurdity (like "The Act of Being Polite"); others may have you pondering the meanings behind their short lyrics for hours to come ("Easter Woman"). A few are actually pretty ("Amber"). If you're looking for originality, you've come to the right place. You may not play this album every day, but it's worth having in your collection, especially this well-packaged edition.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x958faf84) out of 5 stars "Cut out the fat and a pop song is only one minute long" 24 May 1999
By ptitchitza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As stated in the liner notes: "POINT ONE: Pop music is mostly a repetition of two types of musical and lyrical phrases: the verse and the chorus. POINT TWO: These elements repeat an average of three times in a "top-40" radio hit. POINT THREE: Cut out the fat and a pop song is only one minute long. POINT FOUR: One minute is also the length of most commercials, and therefore, their corresponding jingles. POINT FIVE: Jingles are the music of America. CONCLUSION: This compact disc is terrific in shuffle play. To convert the jingles to pop music, program each song to repeat three times."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93f2a6fc) out of 5 stars Almost great 4 Jan. 2000
By Jim Owen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As you probably know, this is a CD of 40 songs, each exactly one-minute in length. It's a great one to have just for the fun of the concept. The difference between this album and the pop songs they are supposedly (but aren't really)parodying is that most of these songs BEG to be longer, whereas if they really were pop songs they wouldn't.
However, it is not the best Residents CD. This album came out at the tail end of their creative peak, and after a dozen or so songs, the album starts to sound like channel flipping. "Here's a sound, here's a chord, here's a weird instrument".
That said, it's a lot of fun. Who is that on the cover? Streisand and... Travolta, maybe? Listen for an Andy Partridge vocal about halfway through....
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