Red House Painters (also known as Rollercoaster or Red House Painters I to distinguish it from the second eponymous album, known as Bridge or Red House Painters II) is the second album by the group Red House Painters, released in spring 1993 by 4AD. Eight songs left over from the recording sessions would make up the band's second self-titled album. Mark Kozelek's lyrics focus on themes of pain, desolation and loss, while musically the album runs from the folk-pop of "Grace Cathedral Park" and "Mistress" to the stark "New Jersey" and onto the soundscapes of "Funhouse" and "Mother". The chorus of "Dragonflies" is based on a famous haiku by Chiyo-ni. Kozelek discussed his views of the album in the foreword of the 2002 and revised 2008 editions of his book of lyrics, Nights of Passed Over:
...I know the Rollercoaster album is many people's favorite. But for me, it is and will always be the most difficult to get through. I hadn't heard it in years, and though there are some beautiful things I had forgotten about -- a delicate piano in "Things Mean a Lot," the way the band brings life to "Brown Eyes" midway through, and the chorus of "Strawberry Hill," which was sung by a group of strangers we gathered from outside the Divisadero Street studio where we were recording -- what I remembered most, even when I look at the album's cover, is nine months of worry.
The album's artwork features a sepia-toned picture of the now-demolished roller coasterThunderbolt at Coney Island. An original idea for the album's front cover artwork was a close-up, sepia-toned photo of a fish head. The Rollercoaster album peaked at #63 upon its initial release on the UK Albums Chart in 1993.
In September 2010 Pitchfork Media included "Katy Song" at number 162 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s. The song was featured in the movie Totally F**ked Up.
Although no commercial singles were ever released from the album, a promotional-only CD was issued for "Mistress" in the US in May 1993. The single features a different mix of "Mistress" as well as the piano version, along with the album version of "Grace Cathedral Park." While the sleeve lists "Strawberry Hill" as the album version, it is in fact an edit, which removes roughly 50 seconds of guitar noise in the beginning of the song.