By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
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But the album is still an homage to kitsch, an attempt to rescue childhood memories from the garbage bin of nostalgia. For the most part, they're songs you barely remember from shows you can hardly recall; in fact, many of the series from which the tracks were taken--including "The Bugaloos," "Gigantor," and "The Groovie Goolies"--were short-lived, running for less than two years.
Sall, however, insists these songs are anything but kitsch; to him, they're good rock songs that have been masquerading all these years as novelty throwaways, three-minute marvels dying to bust out of their 30-second shells. He points to their moment of creation as "the most fertile period in rock and roll," and though the cartoon songs were usually knockoffs of popular songs to begin with (see: The Archies' hit single "Sugar, Sugar," covered here by Mary Lou Lord and Semisonic), Sall insists they have merit even if it comes second-hand.
"It's a blurred distinction at best," he says. "The Beatles were the genuine article, the Partridge Family were a made-for-TV fabrication, and the Archies were a completely animated rock group, but they all had No. 1 hit singles and TV shows. You give me the critical thinking of a kid sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday morning. There is none. That's kind of what I'm getting at.
"One might look at it as kitsch, but I don't. If I did, I don't think I would be able to make the record you hear. I like the stuff, and I wanted to make the ultimate party record. If you take the disc home and put it on at a Christmas party, people will stop and listen to every song and sing along, and it's cool."
Sall says he chose the Toadies for "Goolie Get Together" because he liked the idea of matching frontman Todd Lewis' "dark vision" with a "monster-themed cartoon"; the resulting track, though it bears little resemblance to anything the band's ever done, came out "sounding Blue Oyster Cult-like," Sall figures, "and I think the Toadies kinda sound like that, anyway."
For his part, Lewis says he didn't remember the song till Sall played it for the band, and they had only one day to learn it. As for his "dark vision," Lewis just shrugs: "Uh. Yeah.