Exposé Online banner

The Residents — Petting Zoo
(East Side Digital ESD 81662, 2002, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01

Petting Zoo Cover art

This collection is billed as a collection of the Residents’ more “accessible” tracks. I think it’s safe to say this is not an attempt to grab mainstream mass appeal, for even at their most “ear friendly,” the anonymous pop deconstructors are a long shot from even the strangest of Top 40 bands. That being said, for anyone who believes in music beyond the confines of commercial radio, this provides a reasonable introduction to the Residents’ massive body of work. Sure, the vocals don’t sound like the R&B crooner-of-the-month, and the backing vocals don’t sound like reworked gospel tunes, but you’ve heard that before, and you’re looking for something different, right? Rest assured that you’ll get some of the classics like “Constantinople” and “Smelly Tongues” and “Hello Skinny” and more recent tracks like the “.Road” (live in studio) version of “God’s Magic Finger,” and “Betty’s Body” from 2002’s Demons Dance Alone. Hearing these tracks all brought together emphasizes something that may not always be apparent in the Residents’ music: they are really excellent songwriters. “Fire Fall” is a touching evocation of old age, rather like a Tom Waits song, and “The Aging Musician” is a sad portrait of star past his peak: “Maybe if I put a bullet in my brain, they’d remember me like Kurt Cobain, and the parasites on MTV would wipe their eyes and act like they knew me.” Long-time fans won’t need this CD, but others would do well to pick it up. ‘Nuff said.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 26, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): The Residents, Philip Charles Lithman (Snakefinger)

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Ex-Vagus - Ames Vagabondes – Ex-Vagus is a French prog rock quintet (bass, drums, keyboards, vocals, and guitars) that would fit well in the Musea stable of French artists (Ange, Pulsar, etc.). Ames Vagabondes is their third...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues