The Residents- Demons Dance Alone: preREServed Edition Review

Aaron ConnMusic, ReviewsLeave a Comment

residents demons dance alone art

residents demons dance alone artAfter two years of vinyl reissues, the Residents have returned to releasing new entries to the pREServed Edition series. The latest entry, 2002’s Demons Dance Alone, is another impressive entry in the series. Now entering the 21st century, the series is now approaching releases from some two decades ago. When it comes to the later material by the group, Demons Dance Alone is often cited as a good later effort by the Residents. This three disc set makes a case for that argument.

A Little History + Review
demons dance aloneThe world changed on September 11th, 2001 when a series of terrorist attacks were executed all on the same day. The attacks would impact almost everything, including entertainment: some movies were postponed and other events were rescheduled. In the world of music, the impact of the attacks would influence several artists: Bruce Springsteen would release The Rising while Neil Young released Are You Passionate. The Residents decided to hold back on saying anything. Per the reissue’s liner notes, the group held their tongues. Eventually, this would inspire what became Demons Dance Alone.

While not exactly about the 9/11 attacks, Demons is a collection of songs about grief and loss. Similar to Freak Show, each song on the album was about someone else. Though similar to Gingerbread Man, the songs on the album are all bleak. Unlike the group’s previous work where there was a single inspiration (a book for Freak Show, the titular story for Gingerbread Man and the Bible for Wormwood), these are all original tragic tales. Unlike the other music that came out post 9/11, the songs on Demons could’ve been released at any point in time. Though with the grief and and sadness felt by everyone after the attacks, these songs came out at the right time.

The songs on Demons are all split into three sections: Loss, Denial and Three Metaphors. While these sections don’t exactly match up with all of the songs, it goes to show where the group was thinking: there’s a sadness in each of the songs. Whether it be something as poppy as “Mr. Wonderful” or the chaotic “Mickey Macaroni,” these are sad songs. Singing the songs are three different singers: the uncredited lead singer of the Residents, a child and Molly Harvey, the last of which had worked with the group on previous albums. All of the songs are well written lyrically, as almost all of them paint disturbing pictures.

If there’s any downsides to Demons, it would be the amount of music: following Wormwood and several other albums before it, the group utilized the space capacity of a CD. If any positives could be found in the album’s runtime, it goes to show the group were all in mourning. In some way, Demons also comes off as a cathartic album similar to that of Lou Reed’s Magic and Loss.

Bonus Discs
Residents Demons Live The bonus discs included with this reissue of Demons contain demo recordings and live performances. The second disc, titled Demos Dance Alone, doesn’t sound too different from the final album. It’s worth noting that most of the tracks on the second disc haven’t been released before, so that so make diehard fans happy. The third disc, Demons Dance Alive, features live performances of the songs by the group from 2002 and onward. Most of the material from this disc has already been released, with some tracks coming from the live home video that was released in 2003 (see picture). Similar to previous entries, the songs are in the same running order as the original album.

The pREServed edition of Demons Dance Alone is another stellar entry in the ongoing series. While some might find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of content presented here, this is a well put together set. According the booklet, the next entry in the series will be the group’s 2004 effort Animal Lover.

Album and reissue rating: 7/10

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Aaron ConnThe Residents- Demons Dance Alone: preREServed Edition Review