Sandra Bernhard

Everything Bad & Beautiful

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If hearing Sandra Bernhard deliver a stately, theatrical version of Cheap Trick's power ballad "The Flame" sounds absolutely delicious to you then there's a lot to love about Everything Bad & Beautiful. If it sounds repulsive, then there's nothing about this one-woman show soundtrack that'll change your mind. The love her or hate her comedienne's first full-length since 1998's I'm Still Here...Damn It! is Sandra at her most Sandra. Celebrities are bitterly cut to pieces, the word "sister" is dropped repeatedly, and that strange mix of skittish, snide, and spiritual is working overtime with fractured narratives of childhood memories drifting into negro spirituals and onto pop songs. There's barely any transition between topics, some references require a cosmopolitan NYC background, and her singing is power over pitch, all of which make her ever so special to her devoted following. The album is filled with reasons for them to celebrate along with a couple key moments that should really be heard beyond her cult. While it's probably not fair to attack President George W. Bush by way of his daughters, Bernhard busts through all good taste barriers and forges on with one of the most vicious and well-constructed attacks imaginable. "I Hate Golf/Mock the Poor" kicks the Cuban cigar-smoking crowd to the curb in one sweet minute and once again Mariah Carey gets the scorn; once again it's hilarious. Topping it off is "Perfection," a strange club track best suited for sardonic dancefloors. [A limited-edition version of the CD was also released.]

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