This is the title of John Linnell’s second solo EP, released in August 1996 as a selection of the Hello CD of the Month Club (and reissued as “Hall of Mayors”). It is a tribute to all of the mayors of New York City, with five instrumentals named after particularly well-known individuals who have held the office.
The track list is:
The overall sound of this record is far more experimental and less commercial than anything TMBG has done previously, especially compared to Linnell’s previous State Songs EP. The instrumentals are sometimes jazzy, often creepy, and they crash styles together with the same elegance that a BMW hits a brick wall with. The respite of track 6, the cover, is even more unsettling because of its retro sentimental normality: It diminishes what little cool factor the record had going for it.
The Processional tracks are all different iterations of the same melody, which is also the vocal melody to the final track—the only one that would be at home on a They Might Be Giants album. Track 2 is a slow, mournful rendition on saxophones, with a voice moaning “House of Mayors…” Track 4 seems to be a recording of a carnival organ while the mic moves in relation to the source. You can hear children running and shouting in the background. Track 7 is a lightning-fast version on accordion. The lyrics in track 10 (as best as I can discern, as I haven’t managed to locate this info anywhere) are:
They are crowding the stage of these hallowed confines
Representing the parties who here are enshrined
The one-hundred-odd figures of men, wearing suits
Who in sum, constitute
The assembly of the House of Mayors.
Stacked in columns and rows
Dressed in period clothes
Here a wig, there a pince-nez
Affixed to a nose
And the full complement’s in attendance at the House of Mayors.
House of Mayors…
And they’re all up there on the stage.
And we’re introduced to them all.
And they’re all still standing up there
When the last tour exits the hall.
The effect is so real that it’s chilling to watch
As the creaking automata lurch
Into action and act out historical deeds
And make speeches, sign legislation
And turn their heads and blink their eyes.
Though the room has a faintly musty smell,
You forget where you are.
You are under their spell.
And the spell that was cast is the ballad for the House of Mayors.
“Carl Van Krieg!”
They are all still standing in there
In the dark, in there in the night
Similarity lurks under styles of moustache
He’s anemic, a lawyer who’ll land* his attack
Would a woman attend the infraction of fashion
If some other face
Looked too much out of place?
Would it spoil it for everyone else?
Some express disappointment when leaving the hall
Some feel cheated or mad; bear in mind, one and all
The next act of the show
Is an infinite row
Of unoccupied chairs
In a big room upstairs
In the House of the Yet-to-be-Mayors.
, the name
s announced are of denizens of the latter
*Clearly these cannot be the real words, but I have no idea what the hell he’s saying. Please /msg me if you know.