The Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia…

Alright, I don’t care for musical theatre, but there’s a place in my heart for the didactic and theatrical. Music isn’t rational, nor should it be – a dreadful world of formalism is yours for the taking, if you desire. Phooey upon that, sez I; give me a woman who sings about soul-crushing lonliness in the context of early morning masturbating with a voice that snarls and whispers and tweets so sweetly that you cannot help but fall in love just a tiny little bit.

Nothing wrong with a little hateful beauty now and then, and I have made a mental note to never, ever, ever cross singer Amanda Palmer, even if only in her imagination. Of course, it’s not the most upbeat thing you’ve ever heard in your life, but Yes, Virginia… is another addition to my collection of albums that don’t travel in mixed company very well. It’s a literal vicious cabaret, though that is a facile and obvious description that, at least judging from interviews, the band would not approve of. Frankly, I’m from the old school where if you form a theatrical two-piece and sing strange songs with a lot of conviction and didactic flair, you’re going to get pigeonholed as a cabaret band of sorts. It’s an easier and more accurate description than “Weimar punk cabaret neo-goth performance art gahh gahhh gahhhh” and so forth.

So as a compromise I’m going to go with “Catchy songs about dreadful things.” and leave it at that.

A lyrical selection (short version: she’s betrayed by a woman who goes back to a man who’s bad in an unspecified way – physical abusive? just an emotional vampire?):

and you’re the last one leaving
and you thought you could change the world
by opening your legs
well it isn’t very hard
try kicking them instead
and you thought you could change his mind
by changing your perfume to the kind his mother wore
o god delilah why?
i never met a more impossible girl….

And the aforementioned song about jilling off:

i am too busy to have friends
a lover would just complicate my plans
so i will never look for love again
i’m taking matters into my own hands

i think i could last at least a week without someone to hold me

This particular selection always makes me laugh because I’ve known women like this:

she’s the kind of girl who gets her slings and arrows from the dumpster
the kind who tells you she’s bipolar just to make you trust her
she’s the kind of girl who leaves out condoms on the bedroom dresser
just to make you jealous of the men she fucked before you met her

Not so much the condom bit but there’s nothing like setting up your own bad behavior by telling everyone you meet you’re completely damaged; “But I told you I was broken! I just can’t help myself!” It’s a great follow-up to acting like a selfish git.

Samples and lyrics

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