Last month while I was putting together a “Top 10” of 2019, I mentioned that I was glad to have opted out of doing a top 10 of the decade. I mean ten years is a long time, and with the amount of great up-and-coming bands, underground artists, and reissues it can be hard to keep track of what’s come out in a year, let alone ten. Which brings me to my point, I figured it would be dishonest to not write about, knowing full well, without a doubt what I thought to be the number one album of the decade, and that album is…
The Bob’s Burgers Music Album. Yes, you read that right, and yes, as in “Bob’s Burgers’ ‘ the hit animated television show. I’ve loved the show since the first time I watched it, a humble restaurateur with an outrageous family (The Belchers) following their dream of running a burger joint and struggling to pay rent..highly relatable in today’s times. Not too long after the album came out in 2017, my parents were on a vacation in Florida. Knowing how much I loved the show (they’re fans as well) they couldn’t resist picking up the CD for me. It was a fun gift and my wife and I couldn’t wait to play it in the car on our next long drive. Little did I know that that would be our first mistake, as those songs have now absorbed into my subconscious for all eternity leaving me randomly humming each of their catchy songs at all hours of the day.
The album starts, as it should, with the show’s theme song, the type of theme song that makes us yell “it’s on!!!” as our significant other panics as the microwave still has to count down another 20 seconds. The jangly ukulele plays and we can already picture our favorite animated family enduring disaster after disaster and putting up signage for their “grand re-re-re-reopening”. The monstrous 112 track, two CD, or two LP, or deluxe box-set version, cover the series first 6 seasons, but we’re only at the beginning, so buckle it up (“buckle it up, buckle it up or you’ll die”).
I’d love to do a track-by-track of this masterpiece, but as previously stated 112 tracks is a bit overwhelming. After the series’ theme we have “Lifting Up The Skirt Of The Night “, a sexy slab of 70’s style funk from an episode where Bob has to moonlight as a cab driver to help pay for a birthday party for his daughter Tina ( already we can see it’s the heart of this family that sets it apart from other animated series). The retro synths and hilarious vocal delivery will have you moving and shaking in no time. A few tracks later we have “Theme From Banjo”, Bob Belcher and his son Gene bond over a goofy cowboy series where the titular character “doesn’t play it for fun/ he’s just hiding his gun”. Silly almost child-like lyrics are a common element throughout the album and should bring a smile to the faces of even the most elite music snobs.
In the second season premiere, the Belcher kids hear a rumor from Teddy(contractor and friend of the family who dines at the restaurant frequently) about a hidden treasure in the abandoned taffy factory. Teddy draws a map for them that looks like a butt revealing the whole story to be a joke, but the kids check it out anyway. While the kids, unfortunately, leave the excursion treasureless, the shows writer’s strike gold with the song “Taffy Butt” sung by Cyndi Lauper( oh heck yeah, that one) who reveals in the song that “Teddy was right about the treasure in the butt”. “Oil Spill” is sung by the character Tabatha Johanson, who is essentially a Tori Amos parody who sings….not so subtle songs about her vagina, “ ooo it’s hot and wet and slick/ and it’s making everybody sick/ oil spill, oil spill” she sing over a piano melody, we can almost hear her dry-humping the piano bench on this recording.
Season 3 is where things really get musical, it’s almost as if some of the episodes are written around the idea of these big musical numbers. While songs like “Kill The Turkey”, “Silent Love”, “Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex”, and “This Is Working” shouldn’t go unmentioned, it’s the song “Electric Love” that’s an album (and series) highlight. In an episode where Louise has an argument with an Edison loving substitute-teacher, she’s forced to ditch her usual phone-it-in science fair project of a baking-soda volcano(you know, the one we all did) in favor of an Edison themed project. While struggling to find an easy out, the librarian (a real shit disturber) Mr.Ambrose, mentions “Topsy the elephant”. While I won’t go into extreme detail about Topsy, it is a very interesting read that you should investigate….but for the sake of this piece long story short Edison electrocuted an elephant.
In an effort to get back at the teacher and his hero, Edison. Louise stages an elaborate stage play enlisting her family, landlord, and a few friends and we’re gifted with the absolutely hysterical duet “Electric Love”. Sung by the Belcher family’s landlord Mr.Fischoeder and Linda’s shockingly awkward sister Gayle, “Electric Love” turns the story of Topsy the elephant into an exaggerated love story between Topsy and Edison. The lyrics “But I never noticed/the curve of her trunk/and I never noticed/his electric junk” will have you wheezing and snorting before the song’s climax where the duet just belts the song’s title will leave you ruined.
Another highlight from the songs of season 3 include “Coal Mine”, “Whisper In Your Eyes”, and “I Wanna Hear Your Secrets” all sung by the boy-band Boyz 4 Now. Boyz 4 Now perfectly parody the late 80’s/early 90’s fad of bands like New Kids On The Block (NKOTB if you’re into their edgier material), Backstreet Boys, and N*SYNC. Their softer than baby shit delivery and cheesy lyrics will have you groaning before erupting into laughter. “ Would you be mine?/coal mine/would you be mine?/ diamond mine/I’ll pick you, can our love begin?/tell me now before my heart caves in”….brutal right? “I Wanna Hear Your Secrets” is about being really interested in your crush, what they had for lunch, what friend they’re mad at, even what took place in the bathroom. “You just went to the bathroom/number 1 or number 2?/I wanna know everything/everything ‘bout you”. It should be stated that if you think you’re too good for a pee-pee poo-poo joke…maybe this album isn’t for you.
Skipping ahead a little brings us to about the halfway mark of the double album, and we’re at another great trilogy of songs from an episode where Linda Belcher lives out her rockstar fantasy by getting the old band back together to play the high-school reunion and take her place on the throne after having lost to rival group Bad Hair Day(who are now world-famous). Bad Hair Day play their hit song “We Won The Talent Show” a leather clad hard-rock song about how great their lives have been since well…winning the talent show in high-school. “I’ve never had to change my pants/I’ve never moisturized my hands/I sleep with anyone I want/I own a mountain in Vermont”…pretty glamorous stuff!
“Derek Dematopolis” is a ballad about Gayle’s high-school crush of the same name. The song is the perfect trifecta of awkward, uncomfortable, and hilarious..but hey high-school was a pretty strange time for all of us. “Derek Dematopolis/your neck hair makes me weak/won’t you enter my acropolis/and make my yogurt Greek” Gayle sings in a breathy voice over the piano ballad(please note I’m laughing to myself as typed that last part).
Before Lizzo became a household name, Linda Belcher was the body-positive icon we didn’t know we needed. “Not Bad For Havin’ 3 Kids’ ‘ is an anthem for all the moms about still having all your “sexy parts”…well at least 2/5 anyway. “This is down here/but should be up there/this is kind of loose/and I think it might tear ” belts Linda absolutely owning it…not bad for having 3 kids.
“The Fart Song ” is another song that absolutely can’t go unmentioned. In this episode of the show the Belcher kids have to write an essay for a school exhibition about well…how much they love their school. When Bob and Linda attend the event they can’t help but notice the absence of their kid’s essays, apparently, they’ve been deemed too offensive. In Gene’s story, Wagstaff Elementary is now The Fart School For The Gifted, where all the children listen to Gene’s farts and keyboard fart sounds. The evil guidance counselor Mr.Frond confiscates the keyboard and the children rebel.
“The Fart Song” is about being loud and proud with a chorus so rocking, so epic, so timeless that even Freddie Mercury and his Queen bandmates would seethe with jealousy. “It’s that gas from your ass/it’s that toot from your boot/that hum from your bum/it’s that loot in your chute/all that air from your own derriere/come on and set it free/ ‘cause farts are liberty!” sing Gene and the rest of the children in a joyful act of rebellion during the anthemic power-pop song until Gene plays a fart sample so loud the school explodes!
“Wharf Of Wonder ” is noteworthy as it’s a pretty goofy take on James Bond themes, but we’ll jump ahead a bit to “Die Hard/Working Girl Musical Medley” and “Work Hard Or Die Trying Girl”. These songs bring together two of the biggest movies of the 80’s Working Girl and the Christmas classic Die Hard(OMFG could you imagine thinking Die Hard is a Christmas movie? LOL) in the form of a hybrid stage musical. If the lyrics “I’m Grubin’/I’m Hans Gruber and I’m Grubin’/and sometimes that can mean shooting/Mr.Takagi in the head ” don’t make you belly-laugh then I’m afraid maybe nothing will.
“Love Is In Control(Finger On The Trigger)” is a solid take on the Donna Summer classic performed by a less than sober Bob, but it is shortly followed up by fan-favorite “Happy Crappy Place”. After waiting and waiting to become a member of the local community garden, Bob is finally accepted…but at a cost, he makes an agreement with Cynthia (who Linda finds insufferable) to hire her son Logan(Louise’s rival) for a summer program. Bob finally finds his happy place and starts to become a real green thumb leaving Louise and Linda to spend their days suffering with Logan and Cynthia. “The only thing greener than this grass is my thumb” exclaims Bob, “ how’d we ever get stuck with these bums?” reply Linda and Louise “the restaurant’s now a crappy place/ I think I found my happy place”. Some other fun ones from season 5 include “Date Night”, “I Don’t Need Music”, “BM In The PM”, and “I’m Falling For Helen”
*Exhales deeply* alright, we’re almost there, we’re about to jump into the last of the songs on The Bob’s Burgers Music Album we’re finally into the music of season 6. Our new favorite boy band Boyz 4 Now make another appearance with “I Love You So Much(It’s Scary) in a Halloween themed episode. “When I see you, I fall apart like a zombie/I got too nervous to ask you out to the prom-bie” the band croons as they take you back to those long sleepless nights where you’d stay awake wondering if you were “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”.
Some other fun ones from season 6 are “Cease And Desist”, “Butt Phone”, and “I Love Charades” but we must absolutely talk about “Bad Stuff Happens In The Bathroom”. In the midst of a prank war between the Belcher children, Bob becomes an unfortunate casualty and is glued to the restaurant’s toilet….but of course, it would happen to coincide with his big interview with Coasters magazine (a foodie magazine).
In a duet that’s too funny, Bob remains hopefully optimistic, while Louise tries to deny any blame whatsoever. “Bad stuff happens in the bathroom/I’m just glad that it happens in a vacuum/can’t let them see me with my pants down/Coasters magazine is gonna be my big chance now” sings Bob, while Louise tries to plead her case, “let’s be clear, I did absolutely nothing wrong/I’m not to blame, it’s not my fault/this is just to say, if Gene had pooped like every day this would’ve all just blown away”, the two then sing their verses together and bring their duet to it’s epic finale.“Bad Stuff Happens In The Bathroom” is a spectacular way to wrap up the decade’s best album, congratulations, you’ve made it though 107 songs over Bob’s Burgers first 6 seasons.
……But wait there’s more! I know, I know 107 songs just wasn’t quite enough. Luckily “Bob’s Buskers” are here to deliver. But who are these “ Bob’s Buskers”, well it’s some of some of Sub Pop’s best current artists…oh yeah that’s right The Bob’s Burgers Music Album was released through Sub Pop (Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Mudhoney, The Postal Service, and many many more)!
St.Vincent kicks things off with a rocking cover of “Bad Girls”, a tween anthem that only a true badass would understand from an episode where Tina Belcher starts to fall in with the wrong crowd at school. “Bad girls don’t like to go to dog prom/and bad girls don’t like to pay for lip balm” sings St. Vincent over distorted guitars dripping with punk rock energy. “Bad Girls like to fight with their moms/ and bad girls don’t use pads just tampons”…what is happening to our dear sweet Tina? This version features some pretty wicked fretwork and a pretty rad guitar solo…but what I really want to know is “are the boys and their cute butts really worth all this”?
Stephin Merritt and Kenny Mellman do a fun version of “Electric Love” but popular indie band The National take over the rest of the cover versions of “Sailors In Your Mouth”, “Christmas Magic”, and “Bad Stuff happens In The Bathroom”( which also features Lapsley). The National do a really great job of owning their versions of these songs, taking them from upbeat, and fun-filled to almost serious….almost. This is especially prominent in their version of “Gravy Boat”, originally a duet featuring Linda’s signature showtunes style with some help from her sister Gayle, it is now turned into the melancholic “Sailors In Your Mouth”. On the surface it may seem like a serious ballad…but it’s really just a song about Thanksgiving and gravy, but by the time the chorus “sailors in your mouth/what Thanksgiving’s all about” you’ve already wept a single tear at how beautiful it is.
So that’s it we’ve conquered all 112 tracks on the decade’s best album. We’ve laughed, we’ve really laughed, we’ve laughed so hard we’ve cried, and well maybe we’ve just plain cried a little bit. As we’ve probably deduced by now The Bob’s Burgers Music Album is a must have for any die-hard fan of the show. More casual fans can be lured in by the fact that some of their favourite comedians have been featured on the show and some of these songs(Paul Rudd, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis to name a few). Bob’s Burgers is currently airing their 10th season, and a movie is scheduled to be released summer 2020, so here’s hoping The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol 2 will be released in a few years time…and maybe just maybe come 2030 you’ll be reading about the best album of the next decade.
Written by Russ Walsh, owner of Sour Cat Records on 9th St E in Owen Sound ON.
You can pick up Bob’s Burgers Music Album and many others at his new spot. You can also pick up the newest Rrampt magazine there!