Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Who Killed Amanda Palmer is the first solo album by American musical artist Amanda Palmer.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2008 (2008-09-16)
GenreDark cabaret, alternative rock
ProducerBen Folds & Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer chronology
Amanda Palmer
Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele
Amanda Palmer studio albums chronology
Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Theatre Is Evil
Singles from Who Killed Amanda Palmer
  1. "Leeds United"
    Released: November 2008
  2. "Oasis"
    Released: February 3, 2009

The album was largely recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, with collaborator Ben Folds[1] and was released on Roadrunner Records (also home to The Dresden Dolls). The name of the album is a reference to the series Twin Peaks, which revolves around events surrounding the death of Laura Palmer.


Certain tracks also featured Folds on percussion and keyboards and former Rasputina member Zoë Keating on cello.[2]

In 2007, Palmer self-released the song "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", a cover of the Death Cab for Cutie song, on her MySpace. The ID3 tags listed the source album as Nashville. Fans began discussing the possibility of the solo album having this name, but Palmer dispelled rumors on the Dresden Dolls' forum, The Shadowbox, stating:

that was titled 'nashville' because that is the location that i am recording the solo album....in nashville, at ben folds' studio, with ben, who is producing the record and playing on it. [...] it will not be the album title unless i decide to confuse everybody and come up with an album title that will throw EVERYBODY

....ie 'nashville blues'

in which case shoot me[3]

Palmer also revealed that the song would not be on the album, instead releasing it on Peace (for Mom) a compilation released by Brainwashed Recordings.

Palmer confirmed to the Boston Phoenix in April 2007 that the album was indeed titled Who Killed Amanda Palmer, although another working title was That's Amanda Fucking Palmer to You. She joked that the latter was unlikely to encourage being stocked at supermarket chain Wal-Mart.[4]

On the overall feel of the record, Palmer said:

A lot of the songs are piano ballads that never found a home on a Dolls record, because I hadn't wanted to overload the record with slow material. But there's a really intense, exciting energy to the tracks at the same time. It definitely won't drag.[4]

Additionally, she has said: "We've been adding everything from organs and Leslie cabinets [keyboard speaker] to strings, horns, and tympani. The final result should be biblical."[2]

In November 2007, members of Estradasphere started touring with Palmer,[5] as well as helping to produce this album.[6]

The magazine Alternative Press named this album one of the "Most Anticipated Albums of 2008".[7]

In an interview on April 20, 2008, Palmer told Hayley Rosenblum on her WHRW (Binghamton University's radio station) show, Penguins in the Desert, that the release date would be September 16, 2008. She also mentioned that the album would be remastered on April 25 because Ben was not happy with the original mastering job. A later blog post by Amanda indicated that the album has been remastered at least three times.[8] A companion book created in conjunction with Neil Gaiman was also mentioned.[9] Roadrunner Records has since confirmed that the book will be a book of photography.[10] Photographer Kyle Cassidy confirmed on June 30 that the book would be written by Neil, with Kyle laying out, designing, and supplying photography for the book.[11]

In an interview with Songfacts, Palmer explained that "Leeds United" was inspired by losing a Leeds United football shirt that was given to her by Ricky Wilson of the English band Kaiser Chiefs.[12]

On September 5, 2008, Palmer revealed pre-orders for the album would begin on Monday September 8, 2008, via her new web site, whokilledamandapalmer.com.

Music VideosEdit

Music videos for seven of the tracks from Who Killed Amanda Palmer ("Astronaut", "Ampersand", "Runs in the Family", "The Point of It All", "Strength Through Music", "Guitar Hero", and "Another Year") all formed part of the Who Killed Amanda Palmer video series, directed by Michael Pope. These videos are all connected, and spoken word material can be heard at the end of several of the tracks. "Another Year" serves as the credits song and a video exclusive instrumental version during the intro. A cover of "Everybody's Gotta Live" by Love is featured in the epilogue.

Separate videos were released for "Oasis" (directed by Pope), "Leeds United" (directed by Alex de Campi), "What's the Use of Wond'rin'?" (directed by Pope), and "Blake Says" (directed by Steven Mitchell Wright) were released on February 3, February 26, March 11, and December 20, 2009 respectively.

In November 2008, Palmer refused her record label's demand that she remove shots of her "uncommercially fat" stomach from the "Leeds United" video. There was much controversy over these demands, eventually resulting in a fan protest that became known as "The reBELLYon". Fans posted photos of their stomachs on Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer fan site "Shadowbox", and eventually sent the photos to Palmer's label, Roadrunner Records, to prove their point. Palmer was successful in being dropped from the label, and released a free song, entitled "Do You Swear to Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth, So Help Your Black Ass", in celebration.


As a promotional game for the release of Who Killed Amanda Palmer, a fake radio site, WKAP-FM,[13] was set up with clues to her alleged disappearance. The alternate reality game was designed and curated by musician Olga Nunes.[14]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Alternative Press     [16]
Allmusic     [17]
Drowned in Sound          [18]
musicOMH     [19]
Pitchfork Media(7.4/10)[20]
Spin     [21]
The Guardian     [22]
PopMatters          [23]
Time Out Sydney      [24]

The album has received a score of 78/100 from media aggregate site Metacritic indicating "generally favorable reviews."[25] Joshua Klein of Pitchfork Media gave positive reviews of all tracks (with the exception of "Oasis"), and stated that "The Point of it All" "emphasizes [her] strengths as a lyricist".[26] MusicOMH reviewer Natasha Tripney described the album as "...exhilarating... It is a rather delicious confection; a cake iced with the darkest, bitterest chocolate", and ultimately gave the album 4 and half stars out of 5.[27] However, Allmusic only gave the album 2 and half stars out of 5, stating that "[The album is] a disc full of songs that originally didn't make the cut on the band's main albums. Most of these best alternate song ideas were already used up when compiling the track listing for the fantastic Dresden Dolls B-sides compilation, No, Virginia... released earlier the same year. So, what we're looking at here are C-sides, which despite any amount of studio polish and however great the contributions by Folds, don't quite stack up."[28]

Song historyEdit

  • "Ampersand" began appearing during Dresden Dolls concerts shortly after their album Yes, Virginia... was released.[citation needed]
  • "The Point of It All" was performed numerous times during Palmer's solo sets during the Dresden Dolls' film festival project Fuck the Back Row, in 2007. She also performed "Night Reconnaissance" during these concerts, leading to fans expecting it as a solo Amanda Palmer track only. However, that song was eventually released on the Dolls collection No, Virginia...[citation needed]
  • "Blake Says" has been shared online for many years; the version that has circulated is from a performance in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2004.[citation needed] It has been a staple in Palmer's solo shows and has been performed since at least 2001. It heavily references the Velvet Underground song "Stephanie Says",[29] and is named after Boston artist Blake Brasher.[30]
  • "Straight", which was recorded during the sessions but not actually on the album, has also circulated under the working title "Hey Bitch".[citation needed]
  • According to Palmer's MySpace,[citation needed] her set lists show that she had performed "Another Year", "Runs in the Family", "Guitar Hero", "Blake Says", "Ampersand", "Astronaut" and "Leeds United" during her 2007 summer concerts.
  • "Have to Drive" has been performed sporadically during Dresden Dolls concerts, but not since 2005.[citation needed]
  • The earliest version of "Astronaut" was finished on October 15, 2006, at the Crystal Ballroom.[citation needed]
  • "Runs in the Family" was written during the same time period as "Girl Anachronism" and was performed as a Dresden Dolls song before being vetoed for the band.[citation needed]
  • The earliest version of "Guitar Hero" was finished in late 2006.[citation needed]
  • The melody for "Another Year" was given to Palmer by Cormac Bride in 2005 as noted by Palmer on July 20, 2005, at a Boston performance.[citation needed]
  • Palmer stated during the Evelyn Evelyn tour that "Astronaut" was created in Portland Oregon's very own "Crystal Ballroom" while traveling for the earlier Dresden Dolls tour to the same location.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

On June 6, 2008, in a preview for an interview with e-zine TheMagazine, Palmer gave the track list for the album,[31] stating that advance copies of the album had been sent out to reviewers in Europe.

A live version of the song "I Google You" (co-written with Neil Gaiman) was available with the pre-order of the album.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer
1."Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing" (ft. Zoë Keating and Ben Folds)4:37
2."Runs in the Family" (ft. Ben Folds)2:59
3."Ampersand" (strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster)5:59
4."Leeds United" (ft. the Born Again Horny Men of Edinburgh)4:55
5."Blake Says" (ft. Zoë Keating and Ben Folds)4:43
6."Strength Through Music" (ft. Strindberg and Ben Folds)3:29
7."Guitar Hero" (ft. East Bay Ray and Ben Folds)4:48
8."Have to Drive" (ft. the Via Interficere Choir of Nashville and Jack Palmer, strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster)5:50
9."What's the Use of Wond'rin?" (ft. St. Vincent; from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel)2:50
10."Oasis" (ft. Ben Folds and Jared Reynolds)2:57
11."The Point of It All" (strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster)5:35
12."Another Year: A Short History of Almost Something" (strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster)6:03
13."Straight" (Amazon MP3/iTunes Exclusive)5:13
14."Leeds United" (Lounge Version; Amazon MP3/iTunes Exclusive)4:33
15."Guitar Hero" (alternate version; Amazon MP3/iTunes exclusive)5:22

Three months after the album release in December 2008, an alternative version was released as an online only album. This version included single-take alternate recordings of songs from the album along with some tracks not on the original album.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer Alternate Tracks
2."The Point of It All"5:33
3."Night Reconnaissance"4:19
4."Runs in the Family"4:06
5."Blake Says"4:55
6."Strength Through Music"2:37
7."Guitar Hero"5:21
8."Boyfriend In a Coma"2:56
10."You May Kiss the Bride"4:00
11."I Will Follow You Into the Dark"4:58
13."Straight" (with Strings)5:15
15."Have to Drive"5:16

Chart historyEdit

Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200[32] 77
U.S. Top Album Sales[33] 77
U.S. Alternative Albums[34] 3

Palmer paved her own way with "Who Killed Amanda Palmer," which has sold 38,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. [35]

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Online pre-order September 8, 2008 Digital download
  Australia September 13, 2008 Roadrunner Records CD RR 7925-5
United Kingdom September 15, 2008 Roadrunner Records CD RR79255
USA September 16, 2008 Roadrunner Records CD 179252
  Canada September 16, 2008 Roadrunner Records CD
  Germany September 26, 2008 Roadrunner Records CD
USA October 7, 2008 Vinyl 179251



  1. ^ Ben Folds working on Amanda Palmer's solo album in theSuburbs.org
  2. ^ a b "Dresden Doll Preps Solo Debut". spin.com music for life. spin.com. April 25, 2007. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved December 8, 2007. The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer chats with SPIN.com about her forthcoming solo effort.
  3. ^ Amanda Palmer on theshadowbox.net, the Dresden Doll's forum
  4. ^ a b Jim Sullivan (April 9, 2007). "Amanda Palmer declares title to Boston Phoenix". Thephoenix.com. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  5. ^ Corazon, Billy (November 1, 2007). "Live show review of Amanda Palmer with Estradasphere @ 608 Club in Ballard". Three Imaginary Girls. Archived from the original on December 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  6. ^ "Estradasphere touring with Amanda Palmer". Estradasphere.com. Archived from the original on November 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  7. ^ "In The Rag". Altpress.com. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  8. ^ Amanda Palmer. "celtic scramble brain pudding". Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  9. ^ "Amanda Palmer radio interview with Penguins in the Desert on WHRW". Myspace.com. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  10. ^ Roadrunner Records. "WKAP press release". Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  11. ^ Kyle Cassidy. "If you need me, me & Neil will be hanging out with the Dream King ... Neil says "Hi" by the way". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2008.
  12. ^ "Leeds United". Songfacts.com. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  13. ^ WKAPFM.COM Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Metacritic Review". Metacritic. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "Critic Reviews for Who Killed Amanda Palmer". Alternative Press (October 2008): 158. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  17. ^ Jason Lymangrover. "Who Killed Amanda Palmer". Allmusic. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "Reviews: * Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  19. ^ Natasha Tripney (September 15, 2008). "Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (Roadrunner)". musicOMH. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  20. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/12208-who-killed-amanda-palmer/
  21. ^ Shannon Zimmerman. "Amanda Palmer, 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' (Roadrunner)". Spin. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  22. ^ Dorian Lynskey (September 12, 2008). "Pop review: Amanda Palmer, Who Killed Amanda Palmer". The Guardian. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  23. ^ Adrien Begrand (September 19, 2008). "Amanda Palmer: Who Killed Amanda Palmer". PopMatters. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  24. ^ http://www.timeoutsydney.com.au/music/albumreviews/amanda-palmer—who-killed-amanda-palmer.aspx[dead link]
  25. ^ "Metacritic Review". Metacritic. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  26. ^ Joshua Klein (September 19, 2008). "Who Killed Amanda Palmer". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
  27. ^ Natasha Tripney (September 15, 2008). "Amanda Palmer—Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (Roadrunner)". MusicOMH. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
  28. ^ Jason Lymangrover. "Who Killed Amanda Palmer". allmusic. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
  29. ^ Popmatters review of WKAP. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  30. ^ Twitter message from Palmer referring to a photo of her with Brasher, July 21, 2010.
  31. ^ "TheMagazine interview". Wearethemagazine.com. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  32. ^ "Who Killed Amanda Palmer – Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  33. ^ "Billboard Top Album Sales chart". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  34. ^ "Billboard Alternative Albums". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  35. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/498050/in-the-studio-amanda-palmer-readies-new-album-for-september-release

External linksEdit