Things got pretty ugly for a while there. The New York Times posted an article detailing some of the responses and criticism aimed at AFP. Musician Steve Albini called her an idiot (and then claimed that he didn’t). A Seattle-based musicians’ union attempted to publicly shame her into paying those who performed on tour with her. And Amanda, after explaining that the Kickstarter funding covered costs for production and promotion of the album and the tour, basically said that as long as everyone is happy, what’s the big deal?
So just how did Amanda Fucking Palmer raise over $1 million in crowdsourced funds in the first place? By being awesome, obviously. Remember that song “Coin-Operated Boy” from about eight years ago, the one with the plinky child’s piano sounds and the sort of circus-y video? (See video below.) That was by The Dresden Dolls, a self-described “cabaret punk” duo consisting of Amanda and Brian Viglione. She’s also half of another theatrical “dark cabaret” music duo, Evelyn Evelyn, with Jason Webley. Oh, and she’s married to Neil Gaiman, which makes her half of yet another extremely cool partnership that could easily threaten to dethrone Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as World’s Quirkiest (In a Totally Cool Way) Couple. Plus she’s just extremely creative and talented and is more of a musical performing artist than just a musician.
I have to confess, I’ve only listened to Theatre is Evil in its entirety once, but I’ve heard enough of it to know that it’s worth downloading. Trying to define it with the usual genre labels is like trying to staple pudding to a brick wall. There’s a bit of punk, some melodic ballads, a sprinkling of pop and rock, all melding together into an aural feast. Amanda Palmer is one of those artists who…well, you either get her or your don’t. And the only way to find out is to give her a try. The album can be purchased on her website, AmandaPalmer.net, at a “pay what you want” price ranging from $1 to $20. Check it out now, thank me later.