The Commercial Album(1980)
OverviewTracksLiner NotesLyricsUncle Willie
The Commercial Album is another manifestation of The Residents' whimsical relationship with pop music and their interest in music about music. The album is a collection of forty one-minute commercial songs -- their very own personal Top 40, or perhaps a collection of one-minute jingles: the music of commercials. The Residents teamed up with several artists, including their old friend Snakefinger, who not only provided guitar, but sings on Ups & Downs. The band also recruited Chris Cutler, who had worked with them on Eskimo, Fred Frith, Lene Lovich, Andy Partridge and others.
Working from September, 1979, to July, 1980, The Residents used a number of ideas which had cropped up during the recording of Eskimo but were inappropriate for that project. The Commercial Album was the first Residential album to be licenced overseas, and was heavily promoted by the licencees. PRE Records in England even put out The Commercial Single, which included two songs which had been left off of the album because The Residents felt that they didn't quite fit in.
Phonogram and Celluloid Records financed a series of four short videos called One Minute Movies, featuring the songs Moisture, The Act of Being Polite, Perfect Love, and Simple Song. Meanwhile, in North America, the Cryptic Corporation bought forty one-minute commercial slots on KFRC-AM radio, the top-40 radio station at that time in San Francisco, and broadcast the entire album in bite-sized chunks. This stunt was questioned by Billboard magazine as payola, though the time purchased was quite definately commercial time. The album is currently in a deluxe release by Mute Records. An award winning interactive DVD, also distributed by Mute, is available featuring 56 one minute videos.