This is the first album by the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, released in 2001 on Orange Recordings. You can purchase it at http://www.slideshowplayers.com.
This album comprises the highlights of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players songs written and performed over the first three years of their existence (1998 - 2000). The songs were originally inspired by (and performed alongside of) sets of projector slides from the 1950s through the 1970s. These songs are very infectious pop anthems with an underlying anti-corporate theme. The undeniable highlight of this album is the six-song Fast Food Wars Suite (tracks 5 through 10), which was inspired by a McDonald's corporate presentation from 1977.
If you like the music of They Might Be Giants or Devo, you will probably like this album.
1. Fondue Friends in Switzerland
2. European Boys
3. Mountain Trip to Japan 1959
5. OPNAD Contribution Study Committee Report, June 1977
6. What Will The Corporation Do?
7. Wendy's, Sambo's, and Long John Silvers
8. Let's Not Have The Same Weight in 1978 - Let's Have More
9. Why Did We Decide To Take This Decision To You?
10. Together As A System We Are Unbeatable
11. Believing In You
The album starts off with what may be the weakest track (in that it's the only one that doesn't immediately make me think of the tune), Fondue Friends in Switzerland. The slides for this track show people from Europe apparently making fondue or other culinary treats; the song isn't that memorable, however.
The second track is much better; European Boys is an anti-war song sung to the slides of various children from Europe. Basically, the point of the song is that the European wars of the 20th century destroyed the lives of a lot of the youth of Europe.
Mountain Trip To Japan 1959 is the song that basically started the Slideshow group; it was the first song written to accompany a slideshow. Basically the song is about hearing boring memories of other people's vacations; the slides themselves depict an almost stereotypically boring vacation.
The fourth track features the vocals of then-eight year old Rachel Trachtenburg singing along with her father. Eggs is a mix of slides, going back to various slides of egg preparation, but the song itself is just a catchy, fun song about life in the 1970s (bellbottoms and corduroy and eggs / Nixon and Watergate and eggs).
Tracks five through ten comprise what is known as the Fast Food Wars Suite, which are six songs based on slides from a McDonald's shareholders meeting in 1977.
Track five is a short piece entitled OPNAD Contribution Study Committee Report, June 1977. It's mostly just a short, piano-guided introduction to the other songs in the suite, based on the title slide from part of the presentation.
What Will The Corporation Do? is based on a section of the slideshow describing the problems of the McDonald's corporation in 1977. Basically, the song twists what is actually on the slide (problems with organization and efficiency) into a waltz-like statement on how companies think of profits before customers. Nicely done, and a good change of pace from the more up-tempo pop-rock that fills much of the rest of the album.
Wendy's, Sambo's, and Long John Silvers is a quick ditty about the various competitors McDonald's had at the time (namely, Wendy's, Sambo's, and Long John Silvers), and how these companies were utilizing "efficiency" to get ahead (which is actually worker exploitation).
The next song is also a twist on the intended meaning of a set of slides. Let's Not Have The Same Weight in 1978 - Let's Have More is based on a set of slides about how to quickly encourage company growth, but the song becomes a Devo-esque uptempo song about obesity caused by fast food.
The next to last song in the suite goes back to the earlier theme of corporations being more responsible to the shareholders and profit than to the customer: Why Did We Decide To Take This Decision To You? is a short but catchy track about the relationship between the stockholder and the corporation.
The so-called fast food suite closes with probably the best song the group has done to date, Together As A System We Are Unbeatable, which is a take-off of the McDonald's corporate anthem from the late 1970s. It's a very uptempo track that ends the suite on a musically strong note.
The album itself closes with Believing In You, which is a song about the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players themselves and is accompanied by slides of the band members. A solid track, but the best tracks on the album are in the middle, not at the start or the end.
If You Like This, Try...
If you like this album, you might also like (or, if you like these albums, you might like Vintage Slide Collections):
Lincoln by They Might Be Giants
Freedom of Choice by Devo
Parklife by Blur