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Just had to write a review on this album. I really do like the Simpsons,and this album,it was released back in 1999,but it still sounds as good as it did back in the day.
Even though this album is not the longest,it is definately fun and enjoyable to listen to,whether your young or old.
The track list is as follows, and no doubt you will have heard at least one if not more of the tracks on various simpsons episodes that have been shown either on terrestrial or on sky:
1. Do The Bartman
2. School Day
3. Born Under A Bad Sign
4. Moanin' Lisa Blues
5. Deep, Deep Trouble
6. God Bless The Child
7. I Love To See You Smile
8. Springfield Soul Stew
9. Look At All Those Idiots
10. Sibling Rivalry
If you like the simpsons though whether you are young or old you will definately like this album,I mean granted you are going to have to be in the mood,but just listening to these songs will definately bring a smile to your face,especially do the bartman,i mean c'mon who doesnt like bart simpson!
I've been a fan of "The Simpsons" for many years now, despite having come to satellite TV relatively late in life and only seeing the show for the first time as an adult. One of the things that has always helped me enjoy the show is the musical numbers. Whilst some shows have successfully done musical episodes, few have managed to weave so much good original music into such a long running show.
Admittedly, thanks to the format of the show often involving spoofs of other shows, many of the songs aren't exactly original, but either cover versions or parodies of songs. Also, thanks to the show supposedly being around a family, some of the vocals are a little ropey, as it would be unusual for a whole family to be musically talented. Outside of the Jacksons or the Osmonds, at least. But even knowing this was not enough to dissuade me from buying "The Simpsons Sing the Blues" when I saw it on sale in Asda for £3, as I figured that the amount of entertainment it would provide would outweigh the number of duff notes they would hit.
The album opens with "Do The Bartman" which was a number 1 single way back in 1991, well before "The Simpsons" had become as popular in the UK as it is now. It's certainly a very dated song now, being the kind of pop-dance-rap hybrid that was so popular at the time. The song was supposedly written by Michael Jackson and there are a couple of "Thriller" sounding moments and Michael Jackson references which suggest the man has a better sense of humour and more of a tendency to poke fun at himself than I would previously have credited him with. This may well be familiar to fans of the show, especially as the video was an extra in the 4th series DVD and it's certainly only one for fans of the show now, given how dated it sounds, although it is still quite a good example of the music of the time, if you're still into that kind of thing, although the intro is unnecessarily drawn out.
The album is a combination of reworked cover versions and original tunes and "School Day" is the first example of the former, being a version of a Chuck Berry song. The music has remained largely untouched, so you still get the 50s rock and roll number coming through and the vocals aren't done by one of the major characters, so although it's not as good as the original, it's not as bad as some. The song does also feature Bart singing some parts and putting his own take on things which will be good for fans of the show, but not for blues or rock and roll fans.
Next up is Homer Simpson's version of Albert King's "Born Under A Bad Sign", with B. B. King on guitar. Sadly, Homer isn't one of life's better singers and that vocals do take away from the song, especially as the song itself is a decent blues number. There is some entertainment to be had at the end as Homer tries to give himself a blues name, but for the most part the vocals make this one to skip.
"Moanin' Lisa Blues" is another original song and one I remember from featuring in the TV show. It's a fairly standard down-tempo and down beat guitar and organ led blues number. Whilst the tone of the song is in keeping with the blues, some of the lyrics like "Well, I'm down so low / If I cheered up I'd still be depressed" show the nice touches and flashes of humour so typical of the Simpsons and which raise a very un-blues like smile.
The second single from the album is another original tune. "Deep Deep Trouble" again reflects the style of pop-dance-rap from the early 1990s and, also similar to "Do The Bartman" it features references to and input from the whole family. Again, it's dated quite badly and it's one that can only be listened to by fans of the show, as musically it doesn't have a lot going for it and some of the lyrics are a little woeful. Still, I suppose that as the performer is portrayed as only being ten years old, you can allow a little lyrical immaturity.
Next up is a cover of Billie Holliday's "God Bless The Child" as performed by Lisa Simpson. As the family's musician, she is also not a bad singer and this is by far the best song on the album, vocally speaking. It's a gentle soul and blues ballad and it's such a good song that the interjections from the characters during the intro and towards the end actually detract from the song rather than adding to it. This is possibly the only song on the album where this is true and if it wasn't for those would be the one song you could listen to independently of the album without worrying that the vocal credit goes to a Simpson's character.
The opening to "I Love To See You Smile" sounds very much like Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend In Me" from "Toy Story" and that makes sense when you realise this is a Randy Newman cover, as performed by Homer and Marge Simpson. It's a sweet down tempo bluesy song with the piano to the fore but which is, unfortunately, let down by the fact that Homer and Marge shouldn't be singing in the shower, much less on a record. Fortunately it's quite a short song at just over three minutes and ends very quickly. Randy Newman fans will probably be even more grateful about this than I am and even fans of "The Simpsons" will struggle to find anything in this worth listening to.
"Springfield Soul Stew" is a reworking of King Curtis' "Memphis Soul Stew", performed by Marge Simpson. She's really not the best person to be performing the track, although as it's in the form of a recipe, she's really the only one who could do it. It's a slightly disjointed soul track with a great horn section and a decent funky vibe, but I'm not convinced I'd be a fan of this song, no matter who it was performed by. As a fan of "The Simpsons", it is vaguely amusing to hear how uncomfortable Marge sounds when she's taken so far out of her natural element, but that's really about the only good thing I can say about it.
The album closes with a couple of original numbers, with Monty Burns and Smothers starting off with "Look At All Those Idiots". This is possibly the best compromise between music and "The Simpsons" on the album, as it's a pretty decent pop-soul song in its own right, but the interaction between the two characters adds extra humour to it. This is a song that entertains for every second of the nearly four minute playing time, one way or another and the way the two characters behave and what they say is entirely in keeping with the show, leaving fans amused; more so than the music fans, I suspect.
There's quite a show tune feel to parts of "Sibling Rivalry", with the intro leaving me convinced they're about to break into "I Know Him So Well" from "Chess". This is another song that will have more in it for fans of "The Simpsons", as it seems to veer between various show tune styles and doesn't settle down into being one thing. The vocals are a little lacking again and there's a line late on from the backing singers which intrudes into Bart and Lisa's rivalry and takes the edge off. Like some others, this feels for the most part as if it's more of a skit from the show than a song itself, but it is still quite entertaining for the fan of the show.
If you're a fan of "The Simpsons" and remember one or more of the original singles, this is an essential purchase, even if it does sound a little dated in parts. I found a copy in Asda for only £3 and it can be had from Amazon for £3.97, from Play for £4.99 and even cheaper at places like eBay and the Amazon Marketplace where copies have been seen for less than a pound.
If you're not a fan of the show, this really is one to avoid, but the prominence of the family on the cover will more than likely give you that idea anyway. There are some fairly inoffensive tunes if you're not a fan, but for the most part decent songs are made less so by the inclusion of the cast and if the show annoys you over half an hour, this album certainly will over 40 minutes and ten tracks. But as a fan I love it and, despite any number of releases in the fifteen or so years since this came out, I think this is still the best of "The Simpsons" albums.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Do The Bartman
2 School Day
3 Born Under A Bad Sign
4 Moanin' Lisa Blues
5 Deep, Deep Trouble
6 God Bless The Child
7 I Love To See You Smile
8 Springfield Soul Stew
9 Look At All Those Idiots
10 Sibling Rivalry