Music Reviews

Amanda Palmer Faces The End of the World

Kahn & Selesnick

Her new album There Will Be No Intermission wrenchingly explores womanhood, fear, and loss

There Will Be No Intermission is Amanda Palmer's odyssey.

The album is a melancholic jigsaw, moving through the political and the revelatory with an intimate, theatrical power. Palmer centers the record on the trauma of living in a female body, writing about the stigma around abortion, the emptiness of loss, the guilt of bringing a son into a world that won't ever love him like as she does.

But it's proof of her strength as a narrator that none of this ever feels truly hopeless. The interlude-song structure challenges the listener to imagine the album as a series of movements, with her scintillating voice, dense lyricism, and her magnificent piano work acting as guides through the album's stark orchestral production. Her writing is poetic, but never subtle, and it doesn't—shouldn't—have to be. Palmer sees the world ending in slow motion, a perspective she skillfully reflects and pushes back throughout the album's expanse.

There Will Be No Intermission is a plea for empathy as much as it is a fierce demand for recognition. Palmer writes the personal into the communal and back into herself: "Everything is gonna be just fine," she sighs on "The Ride," but you wouldn't dare mistake that for optimism. It's a decision to live and to keep living. There Will Be No Intermission becomes a celebration of life's heaviness, of the chances she's gotten to make herself new in the face of fear. She, and the rest of us are just here for the ride.

Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir.

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