Itty-Bitty Review: Heads or Tales - The Bazillions


I am the record far too much as being opposed to "educational" music.   (See here for an extended discussion on the matter.)

So when I spend the next couple hundred words praising the educational merits of Heads or Tales, the latest album from Minnesota band The Bazillions, put it in that context.

It's not that the Bazillions were established to produce songs educational in nature -- it was somewhat accidental.  But when the video for "Preposition" became a huge hit (it's at 400,000 views and counting) , lead songwriter Adam Marshall realized that his jangly power-pop songs used for educational concepts might have broader appeal.  (Really, as songs, they're waaaay better than most "educational" songs.)  I wouldn't oversell the "educational" concept -- like clear inspirations They Might Be Giants and Schoolhouse Rock, these songs are best used as reinforcements for more traditional school-based learning -- but they were crafted with that in mind.  This album is nothing but educational songs -- it's 5 tracks out of the dozen here -- which helps offset what might otherwise be too much learnin'.  "Similes and Metaphors" is the standout such song here, clearly outlining the concept; I also particularly liked "Silent e."  The "non-educational" songs are just as poppy, with "You're Embarrassing Me" (about parents grooving to their own, totally retro hits) and "No Homework" being a couple of the best tracks.

The 35-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 6 through 10.  Don't get the Heads or Tales  because it's got songs which will help your local second grader ace her standardized test at school -- get it because it's a dozen nifty pop songs that tell stories, even if one or two of those stories are about - gasp! - math.  Recommended.

Note: I received a copy of this album for possible review.