Monday, July 21, 2008
School House Rock! Rocks, Rocks
Last night at a barbecue I had a chance to rediscover School House Rock! Rocks, one of the great tribute albums of my childhood. Much like The Crash Test Dummies' God Shuffled His Feet, I probably played this slightly jokey record about 39 times more than anyone reasonably should have.
That being said, this collection, composed of 90's artists putting their own take on the entertaining, if slightly dippy, School House Rock videos from the 70's, is a legitimately entertaining collection of songs. Plus, it's practically a "who's who" of mid-nineties rock & roll. I'm pretty sure that my introduction to Pavement came via their version of "No More Kings," and a pre-lame Moby has an awesome thrashing, menacing version of "Verbs." The Lemonheads, for that matter, never sounded more pleasantly stoned than during their cover of "My Hero, Zero."
My two favorites are placed right at the beginning of the record. Deluxx Folk Implosion's "I'm Just a Bill" is almost too tongue in cheek but, listening to it last night, I couldn't help but think that it still held up pretty well as both a funny, if still respectful, tribute to the song and a prefect send-up on the earnestness of the original narration (though The Simpsons' "Amendment to Be" remains the all-time classic send-up). In case you've never seen it, here's the original song:
The real gem remains Blind Melon's "Three is a Magic Number," a song that seems so up their silly hippie alley that it's almost hard to believe their version is a cover. Shannon Hoon was born to sing that song, and it's likely the best thing they did after "No Rain." Here's the video (with their cover in place of the original):