[Our series of posts on albums, movies, etc that celebrate significant anniversaries this year continues. - KJ]
For decades now, the musical enigma that is Bay Area underground legends The Residents have created an enormous body of work shrouded in anonymity and secrecy, while enjoying the support of a loyal, unwavering fanbase, starting with their official debut album, Meet the Residents [Ralph], released in 1974.
If you've even been curious about these guys, there are numerous sources out there for you to learn more about The Residents and their music, with more info and commentary than we could ever attempt in this space. However, we thought we'd steer you towards a couple of albums that are worthy initial forays into their strange, wacky world.
Because of the uncompromising and somewhat impenetrable
nature of their music, many have recommended their 1980 release
The Commercial Album [Ralph]—a collection of songs of little over a minute each, meant as a commentary on ad jingles of similar length being the actual, true American music—as a good starting point for those unfamiliar with The Residents' brand of avant garde pop.
We don't disagree, but Glorious Noise's Todd Totale makes a strong case for Duck Stab [Ralph-1978], an album of "streamlined songs that housed a large amount of disturbia in such as small amount of time," and "a fine place to start."
If Captain Beefheart, Brian Eno, latter day Tom Waits, and left-field pop experimentalism are your cup of tea, you are probably already acquainted with The Residents. If not, the two albums mentioned above can be your ticket to embarking on a whole new bizarre and whimsical adventure. A word of caution: tread carefully, for this music is most assuredly not for everyone.