The Residents - The Third Reich ‘n Roll (1976)
The Residents are fucked up. They make fucked up music for fucked up people who think “pop” music is fucked up. And that seems to be just what they set out to prove on Third Reich ‘n Roll. First assembling a medley of songs that acts as a history of 60’s pop, the Residents then played over that medley, atonally and discordantly, growling or moaning the lyrics when they even felt like including the lyrics. They then took the original versions of the songs out of the mix, leaving their own bizarre interpretation.
The result isn’t anything approaching a satisfying listening experience, but that isn’t the point. Unfortunately, I’m also not sure exactly what the point is. Probably something about pop music and fascism, and the shittiness of pop music, or whatever. It really doesn’t matter. I must admit, it is kind of fun to figure out what songs formed the basis of what they play, and their selection of songs is quite interesting in itself.
Originally the album was comprised solely of two side-long parts of this medley, “Swastikas on Parade,” and “Hitler Was a Vegetarian.” The CD version added a few bonus tracks from somewhere or other, including a similarly bizarre and fucked up cover of “Satisfaction.” There is an actual hidden gem in the bonus tracks, “Beyond the Valley of a Day in the Life,” a sound collage of various Beatles songs (the original versions) and Beatles sound bytes, and it’s actually a pretty brilliant use of these songs and amounts to what might be the first-ever mashup, pretty interesting coming from a band that professed to hate the Beatles (The Residents claimed the only good Beatles song was “Flying,” off of Magical Mystery Tour, an expectedly odd cover of which appears right after “Beyond the Valley….”)
So check this out and be appalled.
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