Number 27 on my countdown of Top 40 albums is Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall. Those of you who follow me on Twitter surely remember my semi-obsessive discovery of Rob Cantor and Tally Hall last summer. The best way I can describe Tally Hall is to tell you this: I drive between 30 minutes and an hour and a half everyday and for two full months I listened to nothing but Tally Hall and Rob Cantor in the car.
Tally Hall falls into a category I like to call “Music for Everyone.” Often, preconceptions about certain genres or one’s own personal taste or bias prevent individual musics from being enjoyable to the consuming public. However, I believe there are certain artists where this is not the case. These artists have music that possess so many universally “good” qualities that anyone who listens to it is forced to enjoy it. Tally Hall is certainly among these artists. Their song-writing is pristine: gorgeous melodies atop interesting harmonic structures organized into song formats that vary just enough from the usual pop song format to retain the listener’s interest. Also, they are really freakin’ fun.
Before I delve into the music of Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, I would like to point out some interesting (and possibly blasphemous) musical parallels between Tally Hall and The Beatles. The Beatles are at the heart of my “Music for Everyone” category, so if my invented genre-fication is enough to satisfy, then you can skip down to the music! If the ravings of a fat guy on WordPress are not enough to convince you of the parallels between this band you may never have heard of and the greatest band of all time, then allow me to provide some hard evidence. Tally Hall has five members:
1. Rob Cantor: Guitar and Vocals
Paul McCartney was the chipper, cute, melodically driven Beatle whose songs embody the epitome of pop rock and who went on to write much more commercially accessible music post-Beatles than any of the others.
2. Joe Hawley: Guitar and Vocals
John Lennon, always interested in the artistic and off-beat, wrote some of The Beatles catchiest music early in their catalog and went on to write some of the most expressive and experimental music late in the catalog and in his solo years.
Zubin Sedghi: Bass and Vocals
George Harrison could, I suppose, be described as the most “unsung” Beatle. However, he provided much needed color and support for the group, a different personality from the two front men, and although he didn’t get as many songs on the records as Paul or John, he certainly made them count when he did.
Ross Federman: Drums
Ringo was a humorous, lovable Beatle. He was not the original drummer of the group, but he drummed for them throughout their commercially and musically successful years.
Andrew Horowitz: Keyboards and Vocals
George Martin was the Beatles producer for most of their career. He was classically trained and had an incredible knack for writing orchestral bits that accentuated Beatles songs rather than overtake them.
If you are a Tally Hall fan, I am sure those comparisons don’t seem too far-fetched! In other words, Tally Hall is really cool, you guys!
Alright, finally onto the music! Much like Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack which was number 29 on the countdown, this album’s genius lies in it’s diversity. I think the only way to adequately describe its diversity is to do a rundown of the track list.
1. Good Day
One of my absolute favorite songs. The re-play value of this song is through the roof!
A great alternative rock song with heavy 90s influence and surprisingly poignant lyrics.
3. Welcome to Tally Hall
50% white boy rap, 50% funky riffs, 50% catchy chorus, 50% head banging bridge, 200% awesome
4. Taken for a Ride
A unique and interesting song that has as much lyrical creativity as it does beautiful orchestral production
5. The Bidding
A Monk Chant/Pop Raggae/Stadium Rock track about a romantic bidding war over some of the worst dudes imaginable
6. Be Born
A beautiful faux country song written to an unborn baby boy.
7. Banana Man
One of the most ruthlessly charming and wonderfully goofy songs you will ever hear. This song is, I guess what you might call island pop rock and afforded the band their first success via albinoblacksheep.com in the pre-YouTube days.
8. Just Apathy
A beautiful pop song which you can find here if you like https://speakingofthingsthatrule.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/great-pop-song-writers/
9. Spring and a Storm
Just listen and smile wide
10. Two Wuv
A modern rock song with a fantastic bridge in tribute to the Olsen Twins
I suppose you could call this one another island pop rock song written about the difficulty of writing a haiku for your significant other.
12. The Whole World and You
An upbeat, charming, and hilarious ragtime jazz/rock ‘n’ roll tune
An orchestral prelude that is track 13, is 13 seconds long, and has 13 notes in its melody
14. Ruler of Everything
Truly, an astonishing work of art. Here is “13” and “Ruler of Everything” for your listening pleasure.
15. Hidden in the Sand
“You told me to buy a pony, but all I wanted was you.”
Well, there you have it! Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum coming in at number 27 on the countdown of Top 40 albums. If you are interested in the other posts from the countdown so far, here are links!
Thanks for reading! You can look for number 26 in the countdown next week! Hint! The number 26 album was released the same year as Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum! Have a great week and enjoy some great music!