Food is a big part of life for everyone. It is not just something needed to live. It is part of cultures the world over. From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, food is celebrated with festivals and as part of various holidays and seasons. It is even celebrated in song and dance. Speaking of song, Ben Tatar is among the many acts that use song to celebrate food. Tatar — an elementary school music educator and family music entertainer — and his friends “The Tatar Tots” are scheduled to release their second food-centric album, Seconds, Friday independently through his own label, Ben Tatar Music. Like so many family music offerings already released this year, the 10-song record proves itself a *pardon the awful pun* tasty musical treat for the whole family in part through its musical arrangements. They form the album’s foundation and will be discussed shortly. The food-themed lyrical topics featured alongside each arrangement do their own part to make the album so enjoyable. They will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out the record’s most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Seconds a successful second musical helping from Tatar and company that will leave a great taste in every listener’s mouth. Yes, those awful puns were intended, too.
Seconds, the latest album from Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots, is a fun new serving of food-centric songs from the group. Again, yes, that pun was intended. Coming more than seven years after the release of the group’s debut album, Food!, the 32-minute presentation succeeds in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements are important to examine because of their diversity. They offer something for audiences of all ages. Case in point is the record’s midpoint, ‘The Breakfast Song (Start It Right).’ The song’s arrangement is a gentle, flowing, keyboard-driven arrangement that throws back to some of the easy listening sounds of the 1970s. The steady 4/4/ time kept on the ride cymbal alongside the subtle use of the clarinet and bells add even more to that sense and sound. Meanwhile, Tatar’s vocals here are so similar in sound and style to those of Ben Folds and other similar singers, but even with that, still sound like they belong in the 70s. Tatar and company go even farther back in the American songbook from there as the record’s second half opens in ‘Bake Me A Cake.’ This song is a full on vintage big band swing style composition that is so catchy in its own right. The solos from the saxophone and accents from the trumpets alongside the swinging work of drummer Mike Bruno make the song so fun. As if all of this is not enough, the record opens with an equally enjoyable Dixieland style arrangement in ‘Jambalaya’ fittingly. ‘Peanut Butter,’ its immediate follow-up, takes audiences on a disco ride while ‘Can You Write a Song About Broccoli?’ changes things again in its vintage Four Tops/Temptations style arrangement.
The record’s second half offers just as much diversity in its musical content. ‘Back to The Buffet’ conjures thoughts of James Brown to a point while its follow-up, ‘Thinking of Pizza’ interestingly offers audiences something almost Caribbean in nature. Considering where pizza came from, it makes this perhaps the most unique of the album’s musical arrangements. ‘Oh Cookie,’ the album’s penultimate entry, offers audiences something of a kindie-pop style composition. It gives way to another dose of Dixieland circa the 1920s in the record’s finale, ‘Sweet Nectarine.’ The specific production used in the vocals here conjures thoughts of vocals used in so many songs of the age. It is a full-on throwback to the golden age of music. Looking at everything here in full, it becomes clear that that musical arrangements featured in this record are diverse and offer something for so many listeners. They are just part of what makes the album succeed. The equally diverse food-centric lyrical topics that accompany the record’s musical content add to the album’s success.
The food-centric topics featured in Seconds are just as enjoyable for audiences as the album’s diverse musical arrangements. This has already been hinted at in the discussion on the arrangements. From the tasty jambalaya that is associated with Louisian and the state’s creole culture, to the musical celebration of the various types of green vegetables are out there in ‘I Got The Greens,’ to the celebration of one of everybody’s favorite Italian foods in ‘Thinking of Pizza’ and beyond, the themes take audiences around the culinary world, again, offering something for everybody. Now on the surface, this is good because again it is a celebration of so much food, as with the group’s debut album. On a deeper level though, the various food-centric topics make for great starting points on discussions of the importance of said foods in various parts of the world. In other words, they can be used as part of bigger discussions on a deeper matter, such as cultural diversity and related topics. So the diverse topics are not just songs about different foods. They create their own food for deeper thought. Yes, that terrible food-related pun was also intended. That the lyrical themes have that duality about them makes their importance even clearer. Even with that in mind, the album’s lyrical content is not the end of the record’s appeal. The record’s sequencing brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.
Seconds’ sequencing is important because it plays just as much of a prominent role in the record’s general effect as the record’s content. It ensures that the record’s pacing remains stable from start to end while also keeping the sounds and lyrical content changing from one to the next. The album does gradually relax early on, but even with that, the energy still remains relatively stable throughout the album. Meanwhile, the arrangements change in sound and style as do the lyrical topics change so steadily. Keeping all of that in mind, the record’s sequencing proves important because of the stability that it ensures throughout the record’s 30-minute-plus run time. When the record’s sequencing is considered along with its content, the whole makes the record in whole a fun new offering from Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots. It becomes a record that audiences of all ages will enjoy.
Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots’ sophomore album, Seconds, is a welcome new helping of musical entertainment for the whole family. Is that enough food-related puns yet? The record succeeds in part because of its musical content. The record’s musical arrangements are diverse throughout and will appeal to audiences of all ages. The record’s lyrical content makes for its own engagement and entertainment. That is because not only is it diverse, but also serves as a great starting point for any discussion on cultural diversity, considering the connection that food has to ever people’s culture. The record’s sequencing takes all of the content in mind as it joins everything together, ensuring audiences’ full engagement and entertainment. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Seconds another enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.
Seconds is scheduled for release Friday through Ben Tatar’s own label, Ben Tatar Music. More information on the album is available along with all of Ben Tatar’s latest news at:
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