Meet the Residents

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Meet the Residents
MeetTheResidents1.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1, 1974 (1974-04-01)
RecordedFebruary–October 1973.[1]
GenreAvant-garde
Length44:25
LabelRalph
ProducerThe Residents
The Residents chronology
Santa Dog
(1972)
Meet the Residents
(1974)
The Third Reich 'n Roll
(1976)
1977 Reprint Cover
MeetTheResidents2.jpg
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
eMusic4/5 stars[3]

Meet the Residents is the debut studio album by the American avant-garde music group the Residents, released on April 1, 1974 through Ralph Records.[1]

Background[edit]

Recorded as a break from their film project Vileness Fats, the album was home-produced and recorded throughout 1973 with help from fellow musician Snakefinger and based around N. Senada's "Theory of Phonetic Organization."[4] Its album cover brought the band to prominence, being a parody of Meet the Beatles!, the Beatles' second US album release. EMI and Capitol were angry with the cover and threatened to sue (though it is rumored that either George Harrison or Ringo Starr had loved the cover and bought a copy).[5] Due to the labels' complaints, a 1977 reissue had a different cover, still parodying the Beatles but this time featuring "John Crawfish, George Crawfish, Paul McCrawfish, and Ringo Starfish," with illustrations of the applicable sea creatures wearing the Beatles' suits.

Release[edit]

The original pressing of the record sold poorly, reportedly selling only forty copies in its first year with most being returned to the publisher unopened.[6] There exists two versions of the album; the first is that of the original 1974 vinyl pressing, which is unedited and in mono and the second, that of the 1977 pressing, which is in stereo but runs shorter by roughly seven minutes. Subsequent re-releases of the album have alternated between these two versions. The first CD pressing was the first edition to restore the full unedited mono but subsequent CD editions have reverted to the edited master. CD releases of the album in 1988 included tracks from the 1972 double single "Santa Dog." The 2018 pREServed double CD edition features both the 1974 mono and 1977 stereo versions, plus the Santa Dog double single and various outtakes.

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Although Meet The Residents was largely ignored at the time of its release, it has since garnered critical acclaim after a favourable review in a 1977 issue of Sounds, which described initially listening to the album as incomprehensible and alien, but said it becomes enjoyable after multiple listens.[7] David Cleary of AllMusic gave the album 4 stars, calling the band "true avant-garde crazies...[their] work of this time really sounds like nothing else that exists."[2] Nils Bernstein of eMusic also gave the album 4 stars, saying its "brilliance lies in collaging less avant-garde elements like vaudeville, early rock ‘n’ roll, world music and snippets of pop culture in "songs" that were as disorienting as the barrage of media and consumerism they subtly critiqued – the medium is the message, indeed."[3] In a positive review, Julian Cope said of the album "just as DJ's would play the best minute and a half or so the latest garage, soul or pop hits before fading it out into another great single before the listener gets bored, the Residents weld together a collage of the most annoyingly catchy riffs and tunes leaving the listener initially confused and later hooked."[8]

Connections with other Residents projects.[edit]

  • "Numb Erone" was performed as the opening to The Residents 1976 live debut.
  • In 1978 the Residents re-recorded "Smelly Tongues" with their friend and occasional guitarist Snakefinger as the B side to Snakefinger's single "The Spot"
  • In 1982 Penn Gillette listened to Meet The Residents for the Ralph Records 10th Anniversary Radio Special
  • Smelly Tongues was performed all throughout the Residents 13th Anniversary Show between 1985-7, segueing into "Eloise", from their film "Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats"
  • "Blue Tongues" from their 1992 Our Finest Flowers album uses the instrumental from Smelly Tongues.
  • "Smelly Tongues" was the opening song to their 2011 "Talking Light" Show.
  • Multiple cover versions of Meet The Residents were used for their 2018 mashup album "I Am A Resident"

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by the Residents, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Boots" (Lee Hazlewood)1:30
2."Numb Erone"1:23
3."Guylum Bardot"1:22
4."Breath and Length"1:45
5."Consuelo's Departure"1:55
6."Smelly Tongues"1:35
7."Rest Aria"5:41
8."Skratz"1:18
9."Spotted Pinto Bean"6:37
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Infant Tango"6:01
2."Seasoned Greetings"5:12
3."N-ER-GEE (Crisis Blues)"10:06
Total length:44:25

2018 2 x CD pREServed Bonus Tracks[9]

Personnel[edit]

  • Ruth Essex - Vocals on "Breath And Length"
  • Wool - Vocals on "Smelly Tongues"
  • Philip Friehofner - Oboe on "Spotted Pinto Bean"
  • James Whitaker - Piano on "Spotted Pinto Bean"
  • Pamela Wieking / Zeibak - Vocals on "Spotted Pinto Bean"
  • Bobby Tagney - Bass on "Infant Tango"
  • James Aaron - Bass and Guitar on "Infant Tango"
  • The Human Beinz - Sampled on " N-ER-GEE"[10]

Single Version[edit]

"Meet The Residents"
Single by The Residents
GenreAvant-garde, experimental, parody
Songwriter(s)The Residents

In February 1974 The Residents released a single sided Flexi-disc containing excerpts from the album available to order for free with the Canadian magazine File.

4,000 copies of this Felx-Disc were pressed. In 1977 Ralph Records sold the remaining 1,000 leftover in a black and white cardboard cover.

The single contains excerpts from the following songs

  • Numb Erone
  • Guylum Bardot
  • Smelly Tongues
  • Rest Aria
  • N-ER-GEE (A Crisis Bluesuite)
  • Seasoned Greetings

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Residents, The – Meet The Residents (CD, Album, Reissue, pREServed edition) 2018 (Cherry Red/New Ralph Too) - accompanying booklet
  2. ^ a b Meet the Residents at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Bernstein, Nils (April 5, 2011). "Features + Reviews - The Residents, Meet The Residents". eMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  4. ^ "Meet The Residents - CD Liner Notes". residents.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  5. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to More than 1200 Artists and Bands. Rough Guides. p. 868. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  6. ^ Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses liner notes
  7. ^ "Residents: Meet the Residents *****; Third Reich 'N' Roll *****; Finger Prince *****. By Jon Savage : Articles, reviews and interviews from Rock's Backpages". www.rocksbackpages.com. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  8. ^ Cope, Julian (2000). "Unsung Reviews: THE RESIDENTS - MEET THE RESIDENTS". Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  9. ^ https://www.discogs.com/The-Residents-Meet-The-Residents/release/11451331
  10. ^ https://www.discogs.com/The-Residents-Meet-The-Residents/release/1189587