Theatre Is Evil - Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. In every sense, Theatre Is Evil sounds like a million dollars.
  2. Oct 5, 2012
    In Theatre Is Evil, Palmer hasn't just topped her best releases to date. She's done it with room to spare.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    This record isn't simply a record, it's an emotional, intricate experience that keeps on after the instrumental break.
  4. Sep 17, 2012
    The record is the most unvarnished rock music Palmer's ever created, leaning heavily on '80s goth and the oddball New Wave of folks like Lene Lovich.
  5. Sep 14, 2012
    Theatre is Evil bristles, crackles, aches, and moans with surprising efficiency considering its 15-song length, pairing fractured synths and staccato guitar riffs with Palmer's throaty, untamed pipes, sounding for all the world like a brazenly cool, alternate-universe version of No Doubt.
  6. Sep 7, 2012
    Around two thirds of Theatre Is Evil's songs are bolted to the chassis of a loud, poppy guitar band, bringing inescapably to the fore Palmer's gift for killer-catchy melodies and stratospheric contrapuntal arrangements.
  7. Sep 6, 2012
    Most of the record is a vivid splurge of new wave, glam-rock and showtunes, armed with lyrics as punchy and memorable as their melodies. [Oct 2012, p.108]
  8. Sep 6, 2012
    Theatre Is Evil feels like sitting on the bed of your tattooed, far cooler cousin 30 years ago, while she tells you "all you need to know" about music.
  9. 80
    Palmer captures the human condition like no other artist. {Oct 2012, p.90]
  10. Sep 6, 2012
    The faithful will lap up every eccentric note, of course, but there's much here for the uninitiated to delight in as well.
  11. The album is all about big and big is what you get.
  12. Sep 11, 2012
    Kitsch aside, Amanda Palmer is one hell of a musician and lyricist, and this album, thankfully, makes good on its million-dollar expectations.
  13. Oct 4, 2012
    One of the year's best rock records.
  14. Sep 18, 2012
    This isn't a record you dismiss on one spin and parts require some work from the listener, but given proper attention Theatre Is Evil unfolds into something multilayered and quite lovely.
  15. Sep 10, 2012
    If you like a theatrical sound with a dose of anarchy, quirk and unpredictability, this record comes highly recommended.
  16. Nov 8, 2012
    Palmer seems intent on cramming as many ideas and textures into every song as she can, which is exciting at first but exhausting by the halfway point of an excessively long album.
  17. Oct 5, 2012
    Perhaps the best way to approach Theatre Is Evil is not even as an album, but rather a collection of songs--all fairly similar but often good, sometimes very much so.
  18. Sep 6, 2012
    The gut-wrenching moments are too often usurped by lost wallets, Instagram photos, and tales of songs on the radio--none of which add up to anything greater than the sun of their parts. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.113]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Sep 12, 2012
    Amanda Palmer turns in a dreary, childish effort. The lyrics are nonsensical. The anger is a narcissistic demand for attention. The one thing Amanda Palmer seems to be consistent about is to never learn about her craft. This record is completely amateur. The production values make the - drama kid freaking out and showing her poo panties- quality, even more obvious. A complete waste of time. Full Review »
  2. Oct 30, 2013
    Amanda delivers her finest album yet. It covers a wide space, but is consistently great at whatever it tries. The progression of songs is a nicely tuned rollercoaster and while a good chunk of the lyrics are not immediately clear in and of themselves, in combination with the music, delivery, and some introspection, they have more meaning than per syllable than most other albums out there.
    Amanda may be the first to admit she does not know how to sing, or at least know how to sing like some specific other people, the style grows on you and does not seem at all amateurish, quite the opposite.
    While I think the album compares favorably to earlier Dresden Dolls fare, be aware that the style has changed and expanded.
    If you buy an album today, let it be this one.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2013
    Amanda Palmer cannot sing and despite her histrionic delivery, she has no sense of musicality. I find it astounding that she continues to peddle such badly drawn songs. Rather than learn her craft, Palmer piles on musicians and sounds drawing even more attention to the inherent emptiness of the each track. The songs are bad on two levels, the insensitivity of her voice and the shallowness of her lyrics. The harder Palmer tries, the more apparent it becomes that she is deeply untalented. I have heard people at karaoke bars with better technique. Avoid at all costs. Full Review »