Search - Karen Finley :: Fear of Living

Fear of Living
Karen Finley
Fear of Living
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Karen Finley
Title: Fear of Living
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Pow Wow Records
Release Date: 11/10/1994
Album Type: Live
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
Styles: House, Reggae, Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews, Meditation
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 019527745523, 019527745547

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CD Reviews

This is not Karen Carpenter
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You may remember Finley as one of the 5 controversial performing artists who struggled against bigoted conservative congressmen in the early 90s to keep their Performing Arts funding. Their in-your-face performance art, often dealing openly/squarely with important issues such as homosexuality, AIDS, spousal abuse, sex, drugs and a host of other "liberal" issues, was seen as "dirty," "un-American," "immoral,"etc. by the Religious Right.( I forget who won out in the end.) I caught Finley in Berkeley in 1992--it was a formal "reading"(!) in an academic setting--we were all floored! In her full concert performances, Finley would hypnotically chant unnerving, tawdry litanies at the top of her lungs (especially)about female angst (at full-screech, mind you) while covering her semi-nude body in chocolate syrup and faux-masturbating with yams--(No unfortunately I missed the full show!) The next day after the reading (during which she belted and raved, but no foodstuffs! )I bought her first album, and let my friends listen--I remember we were all transfixed from beginning to end...a totally original sound, lots of comedy, even some tears...WOW, we thought, what powerful--and appalling use of rhythm and language and that pleasantly blood-chilling voice! It's captured in all of its irreverent yet uplifting power on this album, with some of her chants set to music. (NOTE: The catchy "SUSHI SUSHI SUSHI! ALBACORE AND EEL!" has nothing to do with maguro!) I bought this later Finley offering FEAR OF LIVING (many tracks taken/ re-mixed from original album) on the cheap many years later, and have played the heck out of it. There's lots of obscenity on the album, but it serves the higher purpose of articulating this artist's rage at the Male Machine--and in this sense she is a very high-minded, intellectual artist! If you are not easily offended--or better, if you love being offended-- and are looking for a PRIMO, CATHARTIC ALBUM--give this unique performance art a chance! (Warning: this album is not for most grandmas! ) (By the way, look for Finley in the role of the female MD in PHILADELPHIA with Tom Hanks--you'd never guess from that movie that this woman had screwed sweet potatoes on stage before appreciative audiences less than a decade before!)"
For the radical in all of us
VertigoXpress | USA | 04/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This album is basically a reissue of an earlier album, "The Truth Is Hard To Swallow", which featured a lovely cover illustration of two people vomiting. This release's sleeve is decidedly more subtle, depicting a 50s style living room--perhaps making the album's content a little more of a sneak attack for the uninitiated listener.

The tracks on the album alternate between Finley's obscenity-laden disco tracks and a live recording of her obscenity-laden spoken word performance piece "A Constant State of Denial". True, she's way over the top, but if you don't already know this then you probably wouldn't be looking here. Her dance tracks, produced with Mark Kamins (of early Madonna fame), feature Finley gleefully chanting outrageous obscenities that couldn't (and shouldn't) be repeated here.

But she has an agenda. Finley channels the rage and angst of the disenfranchised, especially women who feel abused and degraded. While performing, Finley often becomes this image onstage, stripping her body and covering it with various messy substances like eggs, glitter, and most notoriously, chocolate.

Nothing is taboo as far as Finley is concerned. Her attacks on more familiar targets of counterculture outrage, such as corporate greed and commercialization, come off as more hilarious than anything else, especially "Enter Entrepreneur", where Finley envisions a revenge scenario that would make any living male shudder. It's not as deep as it seemed when I was young, in fact these passages are rather obvious. Not so in the case of her more personal subjects, where she takes you uncomfortably close to instances of rape, sexual abuse of children, suicide, and domestic violence. It's here that Finley's work cuts deepest, and where her real talent is; her commentary on the uncomfortable realities of degradation and humiliation cuts right to the bone. She has a brutal way of communicating feelings and sensations to the listener that really sticks with you after you've experienced it.

Her dance tracks are shallow by comparison; their strength lies solely in Finley's ability to summon up nasty words that rhyme. Nevertheless, the influence of Finley's signature track, "Tales of Taboo", can't be denied; for nearly a decade, house music producers and DJs sampled her voice."