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Yes, Virginia…

April 19, 2006

Yes, Virginia… is The Dresden Dolls newest album, and what a fantastic album it is. Based on their other two albums I had some high expectations for this one, so I was a little worried about being disappointed today as I went to purchase it. Not only was I not disappointed, I was more impressed than I could have imagined.

This album possesses much of the same appeal of their first two, but does not feel as though it is rehashing the same material again. You get the feeling that are continuing to change as musicians; a necessary trait to avoid becoming a caricature of yourself… *cough*Korn*cough* For one thing, Brian has started singing back-up vocals on some tracks. It's almost hard to get used to hearing a male voice in their music, but it sounds great all the same. I also detected a new theme — or at least one that I had previously not noticed — in some of their songs: rebellion against, for lack of a better word, Corporate America. Certainly rebellion isn't new to their music, but rallying against business is. "Modern Moonlight" is a call-to-arms against the massive amounts of advertising now rampant in this country, and "Backstabber" is, I think, about the music industry. Finally, there is "Sing"; not an uncommon rebellion theme for them, but one which I find so touching that I feel it is worth mentioning. To put it succinctly, this is what I understand the song to mean: do not be afraid to express yourself, it doesn't matter what others think:

there is thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked
it is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance

Moving on, there are an abundance of songs that keep you torn be laughter and tears. Amanda's way with words keeps you smiling, and yet this cleverness conveys such sad narratives. Sometimes almost comical in their cynicism (Shores of California), sometimes describing painfully futile situations (Delilah), songs about loneliness and love abound. And of course, every once in a while, irreverently macabre songs (Mandy Goes to Med School) that you can't help but laughing about. This is the stuff of which classics are made.

In addition to the fabulous music on this album, the cd comes packaged with nice case and great liner notes. The liner notes for Yes, Virginia… are filled with fantastic pieces of art; all of which relate to songs on the album. Only two songs are not represented here, as far as I can tell. It is quite fun, especially the first time through the album, to contemplate each picture juxtaposed with its song. There are also a one or two tidbits slipped into the lyrics transcribed at the end of the booklet.

Yes, Virginia… has all the depth and wit of their eponymous first album, and perhaps even raises the bar a little for their next album. No doubt, if you enjoyed their firstcd, this one is worth the money.

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