Ay Caramba!


More often than not, soundtracks are sonic non sequiturs; the music usually doesn’t work out of context. Stripped of their Lower East Side seediness and teen melodrama, songs from Rent or Dawson’s Creek border on empty histrionics. But The Simpsons’ nothing’s-sacred approach to pop culture somehow makes for an album that stands on its own goofy accord—how Alf Clausen’s clean, precise compositions counter the itchy, scratchy, untrained cartoon voices makes for a hilarious study in contrast.

Where 1997’s Songs in the Key of Springfield was too often interrupted by dialogue, however funny—say, Homer contemplating the finer points of honey-roasted peanuts—Go Simpsonic! flows with the gleeful ease of an upbeat American musical. The Shary Bobbins tune “Cut Every Corner” is just a spoonful short of “A Spoonful of Sugar.” “You’re Checkin’ In,” a medley set in the Betty Ford Clinic, has an overearnest, washed-up Broadway singer avowing: “No more pills or alcohol/No more pot or Demerol/No more stinkin’ fun at all.” It’s corny and triumphant, with trumpet blats accenting each phrase. Other unforgettable moments include the screaming-Japanese cleaning-product commercial for Mr. Sparkle and Homer declaring himself “The Garbageman” to the tune of “The Candyman.” The best moment of all shows off Homer’s inevitably deluded sense of self, subbing this into the Flintstones theme: “Simpson, Homer Simpson, he’s the greatest guy in history/From the town of Springfield, he’s about to hit a chestnut tree!” He shrieks, and you hear him crash. As Homer himself would say, “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 28, 1999

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