Amanda Palmer’s new album “There Will Be No Intermission” is not specifically a masterpiece of music, but a truly meaningful work of art. One attribute of great artists is that they take risk in exposing themselves to the world. That is what Amanda Palmer does best. She exposes herself with every aspect of this record. She lays bare her reality as a woman, daughter, mother, fan and friend. The album cover is a picture of Amanda standing on a pedestal, completely naked, holding a sword towards the sky saying, “This what is to be me, to be a woman.” It really truly visualizes what the album is all about.
The entire endeavor is as though you are getting on a beautiful antique carousel that is haunted by Amanda Palmer’s memories of her life. As it takes you round and around it drowns you in an ocean of emotions. Her story shows what it means to be alive with all the tragedy and joy that’s involved.
Amanda has true freedom with no label to answer to. She isn’t forced into using any formula. She can melodically and lyrically transport you into her mind’s eye. She opens life’s emotional experiences to anyone who is willing to experience them, even though they may never personally live through those moments. Amanda Palmer has essentially given herself over to the public eye so we may fully observe and begin to empathize with these moments that are so pivotal in many lives.
The album starts with a dream like musical intro that sets the tone of the album. The next track, appropriately titled The Ride is a waltz with melodies reminding you of old carnival music matches the theme beautifully. In between every song is an interlude of haunting melodies borrowed from the songs on the rest of the album. The Thing About Things is about our connections with items and what they can mean to us. Judy Blume is a love letter of appreciation to an author that you find out had a huge impact on Amanda’s early teens reminding her she can say the things that might make you seem strange but you’re not. Bigger On The Inside has a repetitive melody to tell a story that is an emotional poem that tells us “That some dumb rockstar truly loves you.” An emotional line from the song that stands out in it’s message.
Voicemail for Jill is the first music video from the album that speaks for itself in it’s message. A topic that some may have reservations in breaching but is a reality for so many as the interlude leading into the song is titled “You Know The Statistics”. Drowning in the Sound and Machete, two tracks that could remind you of her former bands The Dresden Dolls and The Grand Theft Orchestra. Both tracks have more going on in them than the rest of the album but still fit the stripped down piano and synth dominated album well. A Mother’s Confession is a track that rings with brutal truth of being a mother that most can relate to. It’s deeply personal tales from her experiences with her son Ash, that are both frightening and a few that are almost comical in their realness. Look Mummy, No Hands is a mature look back how we all are careless when we are young when it comes to our mothers and can’t have that time back. It also brings back home the carousel ride feeling connecting it back to The Ride earlier in the album. Death Thing is a track that has a epic feel of loss and a pre-chorus of call and response that is exceptional in its execution.
In a TED talk that she gave in 2013 (found here: https://youtu.be/xMj_P_6H69g) about the art of asking and connecting to people, she gave a speech opening people’s eyes to the idea of letting people pay for art making real connections with people. I believe she has done so in a emotional way.