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Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks

3.9 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 9, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

TvTv Soundtrack Coll ~ Schoolhouse Rock Rocks

The beauty of Schoolhouse Rock in its original Saturday morning run (1973-85) was that kids watching couldn't tell whether the catchy three-minute cartoon jingles were meant to be commercials, shows, or something else entirely. That enabled overexposed TV youth to learn without realizing it between episodes of Scooby Doo and Fat Albert. Then the Brady Bunch generation became the alternative nation, and the innocence with which they took in these grammar, history, and math lessons was lost. Now comes the obligatory tribute album, Schoolhouse Rock Rocks--pleasant enough, but full of postmodern yuks and missed-the-point nostalgia that aim to celebrate but instead drain the joy from childhood memories.

Though it's somewhat interesting to hear Pavement turn "Mo More Kings" into lo-fi krautrock or Moby make "Verb: That's What's Happening" into industrial techno-pop, the performers who most successfully preserve Schoolhouse Rock's edutainment viability are those who are most cartoonish to begin with: Ween ("The Shot Heard 'round the World"), Biz Markie ("The Energy Blues"), and Daniel Johnston ("Unpack Your Adjectives"). The problem remains, nonetheless: Any revamping of these songs implies Schoolhouse Rock somehow needed to be made hipper. That none of these songs is better than its original proves how very unhip '70s kids have grown up to be. --Roni Sarig

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Schoolhouse Rocky (Original Theme Music) - Bob Dorough And Friends
  2. I'm Just A Bill - Deluxx Folk Implosion
  3. Three Is A Magic Number - Blind Melon
  4. Conjunction Junction - Better Than Ezra
  5. Electricity, Electricity - Goodness
  6. No More Kings - Pavement
  7. The Shot Heard Round The World - Ween
  8. My Hero, Zero - Lemonheads
  9. The Energy Blues - Biz Markie
  10. Little Twelvetones - Chavez
  11. Verb: That's Whats Happening - Moby
  12. Interplanet Janet - Man Or Astro-Man
  13. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here - Buffalo Tom
  14. Unpack Your Adjectives - Daniel Johnston

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 1996)
  • Original Release Date: April 9, 1996
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000005J80
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Unlike those who have been shocked by the high reviews for this album, I'm shocked by the low reviews. They come almost exclusively from people expecting a collection of the original SHR songs. THIS IS A TRIBUTE ALBUM! If you don't understand what that means, you shouldn't buy this record.
Among the things you do get are:
-One of the last tracks put out by Blind Melon before the death of Shannon Hoon.
-A track by Moby about three years before he was shot into the stratosphere of fame.
-Arguably the best track that one-hit-wonder Skee-Lo ever laid.
-A very timely reworking of "No More Kings" done in classic Pavement style.
-A "hip" Biz Markie without his usual "hop".
-A chance to reflect on how the world as a whole and the world of music have changed since those simple days of the early seventies.
I question whether anyone who uses a music review to insult a whole generation deserves to be an editor at Amazon.
And lastly, I don't really think that Bob Dorough and company see this as a "mangling" of their classic songs. After, their permission was needed to make the album. The original SHR brought, along with education, messages of tolerance and open-mindedness. Bring the same when you listen to this. If anything, this record is a testament to how many different kinds of people in my generation were touched by these Saturday morning snippets.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is a fun way to escape the reality of modern music. I used several songs for skits at my graduation party almost two years ago and they were a huge hit. My friends and I still get a good laugh listening to it every now and then. How can anyone deeply analyze or criticize something like this? I didn't grow up on Schoolhouse Rock, but it seems to me that it's not something to be picked apart or taken too seriously. It was supposed to make education fun, and this cd is simply bringing it back. True, the songs don't sound exactly the same as they used to, but that's the whole idea. And my six year old sister still walks around the house sometimes singing "Conjunction Junction." This album will ad a nice flavor and interesting twist to anyone's music collection.
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Format: Audio CD
I was a HUGE SHR fan growing up and still love watching some of the old clips on my SHR America Rock VHS tape. But while I feel a little silly and juvenille watching the original shows, I feel cool and hip when I listen to my SHR Rocks! album! This CD takes some of the best SHR songs from the 70s and puts them in the hands of trendy 90s rock bands; the resulting songs are frequently very different from the originals yet still a lot of fun. I especially like "Mr. Morton," a song that I only vaguely recollect from my younger years that's turned into a cool, sort of rap-style melody here. Overall, this is a great modern compilation that's likely to be enjoyed by both those who grew up with SHR and those who like the bands featured.
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Format: Audio CD
Us 30-somethings grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons on ABC. In the late 70's and early 80's, in between feature cartoons and commercials, ABC ran the "School House Rock" animated shorts, videos really. They were educational, catchy and fun. Those songs are part of the quilt that is the pop culture of us Gen X'ers.

In the waning days of the "grunge" and (so-called) "alternative" music movements, some of the notable artists in those styles assembled to pay tribute to School House Rocks. The result was this CD, featuring Moby, Ween, Pavement, Blind Melon, the Lemonheads, Man or Astro-Man, Biz Markie and others, covering songs like "Three is the Magic Number," "No More Kings," "I'm Just a Bill," "Inter-Planet Janet" and about a dozen others. Some covers are truer to the originals than others. Most are at least interesting. A few are disappointing. But all of them bring back nice childhood memories (if you're the sentimental sort.)

Though the songs look back to the 70's and 80's, the covers are bathed in the 90's. The sound on this album says more about the time it was recorded than when the songs were written. Had this album been made 2 or 3 years later than it was, it would have had a decidedly bland pop/hip-hop sound and probably would've featured Britney, Backstreet Boys, N' Sync, 98 Degrees, et al. Instead, it has a bit of an edge, a little bite to it.

School House Rock Rocks! is not unlike Saturday Morning, the 1995 album of covers of TV cartoon theme songs (like Matthew Sweet doing "Scooby-Do Where Are You?" and Ramones on "Spider-Man".) In fact, Saturday Morning preceded this collection. Both are very similar in that they cover TV tunes from the 70's (and a few from the 60's.) If you like School House Rock Rocks, check out Saturday Morning, too.
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Format: Audio CD
There have been numerous negative reviews of this album, and several five star ratings. I do not believe that it really deserves either. I enjoy each of the bands on this album seperately, anyway, so I don't know how biased I may be. But this album is not bad. I'm also not going to say that if you necessarily liked Schoolhouse Rock (which I did, by the way) that you will like this album. You kind of need to be in touch with this kind of music.
It is a tribute album, not a reworking of old songs. Each artist puts their own touch to the songs, though some leave them closer to the way that they were originally. I personally really like Pavement, but it's a taste that most people seem to lack. So they will probably not appreciate the song as much as I do. Actually, I probably have the weirder tastes. Also a fan of Moby, both early and late, so I enjoyed his reworking of Verb. Warning though: it's more like the Moby tracks from "Everything is Wrong."
Some of the songs less touched were actually the more enjoyable tracks. Blind Melon's rendition of "Three" is wonderful and almost makes me feel like I'm listening to, say, Three Dog Night (ironic, huh?). Ween, The Lemonheads, and Better Than Ezra all do tremendous jobs keeping to the original sounds, while still making the songs their own. Same for Biz Markie's "Energy Blues." "I'm Just A Bill" is done wonderfully, and certainly gives us a different view of how the bill actually feels about all of this beurocracy.
And, hey, let's face it: Skee-Lo's "Mr. Morton" is so wonderful, I had to replay the track immediately after listening to it.
Overall, I think the album deserves four stars. Pluses: Good collection of artists reworking some of the favorite tracks, and every track is worth listening to many times. Cons: Tribute cds are just so...common.
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