I have always been deeply ambivalent about Amanda Palmer, for reasons very similar to the ones that Amber Waves (who I just found in a Google search, but will now be reading more regularly) covers pretty well here. I loved the first Dresden Dolls album, its anger and unapologetic ugliness, at a time when most of the music I heard from women artists was expressing disappointment with the world in perfect, 2-part harmony (yeah, Indigo Girls, still love you). Amanda Palmer sang about the parts of my experience that I kept locked up in a box and didn’t want to look at, and when she did, she sounded the way I felt.
True story: when I moved to Scotland, the Yes Virginia album tour came through London, and I caught the cheap overnight bus down and back again so I could make it to the concert.
But my loving of Amanda Palmer’s music was never really loving Amanda Palmer herself, and certainly not loving her fans. The fan culture was exactly like the mean girls from high school, dressed up differently: cliquey, snide, prone to in-jokes and unwelcoming to outsiders. Not my scene. And Yes, Virginia lost a lot of the audio quality that I valued in the first album, gained a bit more studio polish, and the songs, on the whole, felt a bit less honest, a bit more ironic-hipster-ish. Who Killed Amanda Palmer didn’t hold my interest enough for me to bother to pick up a copy–it reminded me waaaaay too much of something that my art school classmates might’ve put together as a practical joke. Or an overly serious attempt at self-expression. Either way.
So, when the disability fail story broke, I kind of shrugged. Sure, I wish that the person who made one of my favourite albums ever were, well, a better person, a more conscious artist. But I’d already gotten over expecting better from her, already mostly separated the work from the person who made it. But I still thought hard about whether to put a Dresden Dolls track on this mix. In the end, I did, because my love for that first album (and a few tracks on the second album–like this one) is just that strong, because I don’t know of anywhere else to find sound like this.
This is a song about growing up and realising that the world isn’t as simple or pretty or fair as you were always told it was. It will rip your heart out. But in a good way.