The Simpsons has been around for so long, we’ve gotten used to the fact they have so wholly saturated the world we live in. They are in the midst of their 27th season, inching ever closer to having done 600 episodes. They have their own section of Universal Studios, and they have inspired countless bits of paraphernalia and apparel, licensed or otherwise. Back in 1990, though, this wasn’t the case. The Simpsons hadn’t even been on for a full year. They were a pop culture curiosity on the rise, but they were not an institution. However, in December 4, 1990, the show decided to make one of its first major forays into supplemental content in its quest to eventually consume the world whole. They released The Simpsons Sing the Blues.
Yes, a cartoon released an album. Granted, they have released several albums by now. A few of them are considered “soundtrack albums,” as they are albums featuring songs from the show, and The Simpsons have a lot of great songs in their repertoire. On top of that, though, they have released two albums that aren’t considered soundtracks. The Simpsons Sing the Blues is the first of those albums, and the first Simpsons album, period. Time has rendered this unsurprising news, but one imagines, at the time, it felt a bit odd.
The album is a mix of originals and covers. You can hear Marge and Homer sing Randy Newman’s “Love to See You Smile” with New Orleans legend Dr. John on the piano. Bart performs Chuck Berry’s “School Day” with the help of Buster Poindexter. This is all kind of weird. Even if you love The Simpsons, and in a just world, we would all love The Simpsons, this feels patently strange and, admittedly, pointless. Homer Simpson is the greatest character ever created in any medium. What is the point of hearing him sing “Born Under a Bad Sign?” As an ironic joke, it would work vaguely, but this is not an ironic joke.