Amanda Palmer, 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' (Roadrunner)

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Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Critical Mass
Label: Roadrunner

by Shannon Zimmerman

Manic and depressed, Amanda Palmer's solo debut is either artful psychobiography or deeply twisted dramatic monologue. Either way, the album is a dark gem, a high-IQ song cycle that combines guilt, neurotic lust, and low self-esteem into piano-based tunes that come studded with lyrical daggers. On the rapid-fire "Runs in the Family," Palmer recites a catalog of maladies, including an impulse to "open my legs up to anyone who'll have me." On the sultry, over-amped "Leeds United," she intones over a slurred, high-stepping horn section: "Who needs love / When there's Southern Comfort?" On this Method-acted album, that's a rhetorical question.

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