Picks and Pans Review: The Simpsons Sing the Blues

updated 01/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/21/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Simpsons

Matt Groening has created such a merchandising monster that no one should be surprised to see this barely cute collection—half of them cover songs—overflowing the record racks. But even ardent Bartophiles might have a hard time wanting to play it more than once. Yes, of course the first single, "Do the Bartman," will be a novelty hit. Written by Bryan Loren, it's a white-bread rap featuring Nancy Cartwright's vocals, reeling off tales of Bart's mischievous ways. Julie Kavner is ticklingly funny as Marge singing of her lunky, lovable hubby on Randy Newman's "I Love to See You Smile." The sweetest track might be Yeardly Smith as Lisa crooning "God Bless the Child"—she sounds like Basia on helium. You forget this is part of a slick, supercommercial novelty act.

Songs like "Sibling Rivalry," a silly Cartwright-Smith duet, return us to reality. Cameos by Buster Poindexter (on Chuck Berry's "School Days") and B.B. King (Booker T. Jones's "Born Under a Bad Sign") can't overcome dull arrangements.

The singers, who also do the show's voices, merit a nice round of only faintly sardonic applause. But there's too little decent music to disguise the fact that the sound of cash registers going ching! is what producer John Boylan and cohort had in mind, not music or comedy. (Geffen)

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