Various Artists - The Bob’s Burgers Music Album

by Jon Burke Rating:7 Release Date:2017-05-12

Given we are still in the midst of the Golden Age of Television, one would be forgiven for missing-out on the brilliance of Bob’s Burgers. There is simply too much content to consume and too many “you gotta see ___” suggestions from friends, family, coworkers, etc. to catch everything. Plus, given Fox’s track record with animated shows (for every brilliant The Simpsons there are a dozen shitty Family Guys) one could be wisely suspicious of Bob’s Burgers. With all of that said, for those in the know, Bob’s Burgers is one of the best written, most consistently entertaining, comedy programs on the air today. The Belcher family’s travails running a seaside burger joint has proven themselves to be one of the best situation comedies to be found on broadcast television.  

Though music is an important element of Bob’s Burgers it’s never obtrusive or distracting, moreover, the show’s music is masterfully subtle and fully-developed. Songs are pop culture referents while also being both lyrically and musically linked to each individual episode. Thus you might find guest vocals from Cindy Lauper on a Goonies parody episode or an interpolation of Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” on a Breakfast Club-esque episode. With that in mind, SubPop has assembled a comprehensive collection of 107 songs from the entire run of Bob’s Burgers to date. Though most of these tracks are less than a minute long, and none cross the four minute mark, they are all fully fleshed-out songs boasting amusing lyrics and instrumentation. Though some episodes feature singing, most of these songs play over the credits dance sequence at the end of each episode.

In terms of the individual songs there are too many here to cover comprehensively and too many styles/genres present to adequately sum-up anything about the show other than to say Bob’s Burgers is both culturally and self-aware. There are no less than five songs on the tracklisting with the word “butt” in the title, including the album’s cowbell-heavy, 80’s rock, opener “Butt Phone”. In addition to the butt-related titles there are at least a half dozen other songs dealing with pooping, farting and other bodily functions. For example, “BM in the PM” is a blue-eyed soul take on the pleasures of pooping at night. While not all the songs are scatological, given that the Belcher children’s age-range is 9-13, there is an appropriate amount of those types of jokes to be found in the show. The album also features a few direct covers sung by characters including the douche anthem “You’re The Best” and Nena’s 80’s classic, “99 Red Balloons” and Eddie Money’s immediately catchy, “Baby Hold On”. There is an incredible range of sounds to be found on this record; to name just a few, California surf punk (“If You Love Something”), Soul Coughing-esque (“The Diarrhea Song”), boy band (“Whisper In Your Eyes”), The Runaways adjacent “We Won the Talent Show”.

In addition to the original versions of songs from the show, Bob’s Buskers, a band created specifically for the show, whose members include St. Vincent, The National, Låpsley, and Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, also perform covers of various songs on the soundtrack. Matt Berninger’s deep mumble has never been so well matched as when paired with Låpsley’s gorgeous vocals on the track “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom”. The straight-faced covers only add to both the humor and the brilliance of these pieces.

No pun intended, The Bob’s Burgers Music Album will not be to everyone’s taste. These songs are served by the show and those unfamiliar with the Belchers, their bizarre friends and even more bizarre enemies will undoubtedly miss-out on a lot of the subtext at play. With that said, fans of The Bob’s Burgers should get a good laugh out of this collection. I hope it finds an audience because it’s certainly too well made and too entertaining to end up lingering in a soundtrack bin or alongside one-off comedy records.

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