I just listened to I Am A Resident for the first time. HOLY EYEBALLS IT'S AMAZING!
I mean, I was expecting to like it since most of the songs covered in this album I like, but WOW. The remix concept is really what pushes this album from "cool fan compilation, Eyesore 2.0" to the advertised "NEW CONCEPT FROM THE RESIDENTS". It is fantastic. It really is a new Residents album, and it's pretty sweet.
I like the little radio framing device they use to open and close the album. It's cute and makes the album feel like this big event... I'm not sure properly how to explain it. Somehow it makes it feel more like "oh yeah, these people ARE Residents!" Honestly it reminds me of those 1 hour megamixes pop radio stations play on the weekends (... not that I listen to pop music radio...). It's a pretty genius way to frame this album because well... the remix concept really does make this a megamix in a way. I mean it's just one hour of straight Residential chaos and it's awesome.
The whole remix thing adds another layer to the thing as well. Because all the covers blend together and "The Real Residents?" add new textures (AND LYRICS!) on top of them, this really feels like "Our Finest Flowers 2". Which is pretty sweet! Honestly? I kind of like this more as a "Residents play The Residents" album compared to Our Finest Flowers. Maybe because we live in the future where computer synthesized music sounds better and we have even more Rz material to choose from. Maybe it's because the songs are longer and mixed together so they have time to flow between vastly more songs AND the songs get to live on their own for a bit instead of just being squashed together into one single song. Maybe because that cute radio thing and the "I Am A Resident theme" at the end made it more special. I don't know but I love it.
I'm honestly surprised that they thought of this project back in 2013. I mean, at this point I'm used to knowing that Residents albums take years to develop from just the basic idea, but wow... unlike whatever the "Blues Album" is going to be called, this one kind of just laid hidden for quite a while until they actually unveiled the pledgemusic campaign. It's weird that this Residents album was originally imagined up right when I became a "proper" Residents fan... and it just came out and I'm just now listening to it. Crazy!
I lack the musical talent to have properly contributed to the project... and even if I did, I had no money while the pledgemusic campaign was running. So do I consider myself to be a Resident? Maybe. Just maybe.
This follow up was posted a couple days later on .
You are actually required by law to listen to this album if you are a Rz fan.
I should mention a few more things I forgot to write in my post. I was really surprised that this was a new Residents album. I was kind of just glossing this one over, partly because the fan concept meant this wasn't the "Real Residents?", and partly because Intruders the "next studio album" was coming out pretty soon. I mean, I preordered Intruders a couple of days before I Am A Resident came out, and this time I decided to buy the CD and the vinyl because it's a "real album". The day I Am A Resident arrived I didn't even really think to myself, "I'm going to listen to a new Residents album today", because deep down I didn't consider it a new album at the time.
After I listened to it I realized how special this album really was. It really hit me with these complicated emotions I've felt in Residents projects before, but never mixed together like this. I've listened to Eyesore a few times, and overall I like a lot of the covers in that compilation. For every cover there is a bit of respect I feel for what they do with it; I think every song in Eyesore is different enough from the source to come with a "huh... so that's how The Residents have impacted you?" kind of appreciation.
Our Finest Flowers mixes concepts in an interesting way. Connections between Residents works that didn't exist before are explored in a way that's like crossing your senses together. Hearing familiar melodies and lyrics flow into other familiar melodies and lyrics was a true joy... and shock as well. (Note: I should mention that when I first listened to Our Finest Flowers I was probably only familiar with about 20% of the source material)
The latest Residents live shows have radically transformed the existing sounds of The Residents' previous (and in some cases, present and future as well) works. I mean, I guess the old Residents live shows have too, but these more modern shows transform the source material much more than just adapting the song to what a live band can practically produce. The exciting thing about hearing one of these new performances for the first time is that at the start of every song it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what song they're playing. The melody seems so familiar... and when you finally realize what song they're playing it's so exciting. OMG! They're playing this song, I've only listened to it hundreds of times, and it only took me a minute to figure it out!
So, all of those emotions are combined in this album. Every new cover introduced tends to confuse me for a few seconds while I figure out what they're actually playing, then I feel joy and excitement when I realize what it is. Then I think "wow, this is an interesting interpretation of the original song. GOOD COVER!". Then it flows into another song and I think "WOW this is a connection I've never made before!". And it keeps on going until the end.
Of course, there are some special moments in this album that fit outside of this emotional loop. The endings of most of the tracks of the album are quite special, the ending of the "Lingering Illusions" in particular messed me up a great deal. Also the ending to the album as a whole is just... silly, beautiful, triumphant, and... well... special! The last bit of the actual "megamix" as I described it earlier is also just... wow. As I was hearing the final moments of all these weird covers it blended into one last cover. It sounded familiar to me... what was this a cover of? And where had I heard this cover before? Then it hit me and I suddenly was overwhelmed by memories. Once that final song bit fades out, all that's left is something else and there is no more to say.