235. Bourgeois Tagg – Bourgeois Tagg
BOURGEOIS TAGG (1988)
The loose relationship between Exit Records and Island records introduced to Island an amazing Sacramento band that, like many on this list, deserved a wider hearing than they were afforded. In fact, things seemed to be ripe for the picking with Bourgeois Tagg: Edgy, but catchy modern music, great image, memorable single and a great video packaging.
The bands biggest single would appear on their second release, but it is their eponymous debut that makes the list. Filled with brilliantly original keyboard driven pop and alternative music this album remains a personal favorite. There is this great sense of “edge” joining forces with straight pop music, not not much unlike a more creative and alternative version of Mr. Mister. But deep in the songwriting one hears the Beatles with their strong sense of musical instrumentation and vocal harmonies.
The first single, Mutual Surrender, would have fit perfectly on Vector’s “Please Stand By” combining smart lyrics with a great keyboard supported groove. The later incarnations of Kaja would also work for comparison. College radio jumped on it immediately, but mainstream radio missed it almost completely and that is a real shame.
There was said to be some tension in the band based on Bourgeois burgeoning faith and Larry Tagg’s more secular outlook. But that tension worked well on both albums as the ying and yang of countering visions created more of a creative output rather than division.
One unique thing worthy of note is the use of “talking” verses on several cuts including the lead track (Changed) and the wonderful “Electric Train.” the latter appears to be a retelling of the story of creation through the mind of someone building an electric train. Everything looks great until Saturday (that day could be a big mistake).
The band would release one more album and record several tracks for a third that would never be released under the name Bourgeois Tagg, though several did make solo albums by Bourgeois and Tagg. The band also accompanied the producer of their second album (Todd Rundgren) on his classic “Nearly Human” album. Another band member, Lyle Workman, continued to work with Rundgren as well as going on to score several of the biggest comedies in history including Superbad, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and a host of others.
Bourgeois went on to record a mainstream solo project as well as a few album directly for the CCM market. They were all more commercial and pop sounding and lacked the creative juices of the two band albums though worthy of owning.