Tweedles! - (2006)
Tweedles! is a disturbing look into the psyche of a clown wannabe and emotional vampire who uses sex to ruin the lives of others while somehow feeding his twisted needs and desires. On one hand, Tweedles (the clown) is utterly detached from his actions, matter-of-factly describing the shattered lives left in his wake and seeming to derive pleasure from it. On the other hand, he seems to understand that society sees him as evil, even if he doesn't quite feel that way himself. The songs and narrative explore this conflict. Thematically, Tweedles! looks back to the outright carnality of God in Three Persons, except it's at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from the "Holy Kiss of Flesh". Musically, Tweedles! continues with the addition of acoustic instruments that were reintroduced on Animal Lover, with some really nice piano on the first couple tracks (of course, there are plenty of creepy synths and electronics throughout). Some of the songs feature the Film Orchestra of Budapest, adding an entirely new element to the Residents' sound. "Mark of the Male" (nice in-joke) makes use of some slamming beats and metallic guitars, and weaves the sound of the orchestra in and out. As usual, the songs seem deceptively simple on the surface, but the arrangements and orchestrations really show off the Residents' musical skills in surprisingly varied settings ("Susie Smiles" even has a bluesy element). Tweedles! is the Residents at their darkest and most disturbing, but is also one of their most rewarding albums from a purely musical standpoint. If you didn't already think clowns are creeepy, you will after listening to this.