“Does humour belong in music?” Frank Zappa asked. The answer, of course, is yes — provided the final product is both A | humourous and B | musical (though not necessarily in that order). Thankfully, Tall Boy Special deliver on both counts on their debut album 19 Total Feet — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
TBS features multifaceted creatives Alex Kagy, John MacGregor and Zack Barker, who got their start in the Boston comedy scene before moving to L.A. to pursue their dreams. Naturally, then the pandemic hit. So they collaborated over Zoom, made hilarious viral TikToks and gained a solid following. Now they’re stepping up with 19 Total Feet, a zany work that aims for your funny bone with its blend of folk, rock, pop, rap, punk and punch lines.
Tall Boy Special’s M.O. is simple. Step 1: Find a very silly concept (like an L-shaped limousine, a hot tub hot-air balloon or a blank white poster). Step 2: Write a song about it. They did this a dozen times for 19 Total Feet. Along the way, they tackle universal questions such as: How many side jobs can a middle-school teacher reasonably hold? What if Galactus the World Eater had a food blog? What if a very small child had the ability to summon the Sun just by waking up? And wouldn’t that be terrifying? We’ve all been there — usually at 3 a.m. when we’re out of weed. But now, you can ponder these topics anytime at the push of a play button.
You can also hear the trio deliver their vocals in the sort of talky-singy style that Germans would naturally have two words for: Sprechstimme (speech-voice) and Sprechgesang (spoken singing). This highly useful information will facilitate understanding the heightened intellectual/existential state one attains while listening to these well-crafted musical comedy outings. Are TBS the greatest singers in the world? No. But only because Celine Dion is still alive. For now.
While you bide your time and wait for her demise, marvel at the fact that 19 Total Feet features songs that are clever, inventive and 100% musically competent, as certified by an independent panel of celebrity South Korean judges. Is that last part true? Probably not. But here’s something that is: The album opens with a surreal ode to items in the fictional aisle of the supermarket, and ends with an anthemic, sake-drinking show-tune ode to Hibachi. And really, how many albums can you say that about?
With quippy, storytelling verses and refrains delivered as punchlines, Tall Boy Special’s 19 Total Fee is scientifically proven to improve life for the following: Music lovers, comedy lovers, anyone named Donna, and Galactus the World Eater. Listen to 19 Total Feet below, watch the video for Blank White Poster above, and enjoy Tall Boy Special at their website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.