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100 Albums: "Bargainville" by Moxy Früvous

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Moxy Früvous
Title: Bargainville
Released: 1993
Genre: folk-pop


It's the kind of project that can only be created by bored college kids: a not-quite-a-cappella satirical band who sing about progressive politics, ecology, Spiderman, running a video store, and everything in between. The band formed in 1989 in Toronto and named themselves with a nonsense phrase that was difficult to remember, impossible to spell, and adorned with a heavy-metal umlaut. Bargainville is a charming goofball of a record in the vein of They Might Be Giants--although a bit more straightforward than TMBG.

The highlight is definitely King Of Spain in which a prince-and-pauper story ends up with the literal king of Spain becoming a pizza chef in Canada. The Drinking Song was the lullaby I sang to my kids for years and is one of my absolute favorite songs ever. River Valley is an excellent opener that sets the tone perfectly and the album closer Gulf War Song--the only purely a cappella song on the record--is a delightful meta-commentary on writing political songs. I also enjoy the hopefully downtrodden BJ Don't Cry, the storytelling My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors, the ode to armchairs The Lazy Boy, and the jazzy I-also-have-listened-to-Manhattan-Transfer Darlington Darling. It slows down in a few spots, but for the most part it's a bouncy fun record.

Further Listening: I've found their other studio albums underwhelming, but 1998's Live Noise is fun.

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