Sunday, April 02, 2006


Some of you might recall my recent lambasting of an awful album by a group named Tally Hall.

As Jed pointed out, the Tally Hall legions are furious with me, or at the very least, with my review... and it's hysterical. A sample (unedited) response, if you'll permit me to share it with you:

you obviously have a strange and acquired taste in music. i just don't
understand how you can dislike tally hall. your review also showcases a great deal of ignorance furthermore you fail to realize the significance of a band who can have meaningful lyrics (which you probably dont understand either) and funny laughable songs. the memebers on tally hall has real talent that you cannot appreciate. i understand that people have different tastes but the points you make have no validity for backing up your statements.

good day,

You can find the review here. Please feel free to thumb through the other comments, including one which notes that:

(1) "'Ruler of Everything' and 'Spring and a Storm' are melodic wonderworlds," and
(2) "It’s funny to see a white man rap."


Oliver Gringold said...

Funnier than her note, I think, was your blatant ignorance of the more eloquent Tally-defenders. If you don't like them, by all means don't like weren't the first reviewer whose words weren't glowing, and it was in respect of your opinion that I didn't comment on your review. To come forward and attack the fans, however, is outright immature. With an average five-star rating on Amazon and the only other negative review in memory giving them a 3 out of 5 (with comments on how their music could be improved which, mind you, is what reviewers are usually supposed to do, and was an aspect suspiciously void from your entire rant) it should be a source of curiosity that you are almost alone in your hatred.

An open message then, to anybody who stumbles upon this blog: Don't listen to me, and don't listen to him. Go to and decide for yourself.

jed said...

I really don't think David's comments were meant as attacks on the fans at all...well, no more so than statements like "F**K DAVID BERGER AND HIS REVIEW!!!" or "He excercised no professional critiquing skills" (which is completely unfounded, since he clearly states where the music and lyrics fall short of expectations).

Yes, fun was made at the expense of some statements made by fans. But David did not do this in his review, he did it on his own blog, and in response to inflammatory statements at that. If the Internet isn't about spouting one's opinions into the ether, then what IS it for...besides porn?

Citing majority opinion is hardly grounds for defense...hell, even Britney's sold millions of records, which one might take as a veritable stamp of quality. But indeed, judge for yourself, each his (or her) own. Me? I'm with David on this one, and I've listened to the album at least two dozen times.

Coz said...

I shouldn't even waste any more time because it's obvious there's a strong difference of opinion here which is causing at least one party to not see the real issue.

"But let’s be straight — there is little to no art to be found here. There is no synthesis of any kind. It is simply a jumble, made by a fun-time college band masquerading (poorly) as a unified group of musicians."

This is not a professional comment. It's nothing more than an opinion of someone who is not able to make the connection that many others do.

There is no art in this? There is art in everything. It's all about how you interpret it.

True, Britney's sold millions but her album ratings are lower than Tally Hall's so I don't yet see your argument. Now, it's not just the reviewers of Amazon and iTunes that praise this album's songs. The song "Just Apathy" marks the 2nd time a Tally Hall member has won a grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting contest, world reknowned as the pinnacle of songwriting contests. That speaks volumes.

I'm going to cite 2 verses from "Haiku." You know, the one that's about, "er, a haiku."

I'm going to take you a little deeper into the song so this time around you can see past the surface.

Indeed the song is about a guy trying to write a haiku for a girl, but he just can't get it right. Each verse in this song is written in the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern... except that there's an extra syllable at the end of each verse... proving how he just can't get it right. Clever, yes? Let's go a little deeper.

"Maybe this poem
was lost in the sauce we spilled
that never got refilled.

I've never thought much
of formulaic verse anyway.
And rhymes are not my fort."

Here, not only does he continue to make the syllable error, but he messes up a rhyme in a line that talks about how he is no good at rhyming.

This may not be an example of pure genius, but I'm trying to get you to see how much thought was put into the lyrics of these songs. They all can be dissected to reveal a large amount of thought. Moreso than any other fun-time college band does, that's for sure.

If you could tell me, without research other than listening to the album, what "Ruler of Everything" is REALLY about, what "Banana Man" is REALLY about, what "Spring & A Storm" is REALLY about, what "Be Born" is REALLY about, what "Taken For A Ride" is REALLY about, then I will walk away happy knowing that you guys at least understand the songs and still don't appreciate it for at least that much.

Until then, we can agree that you don't know and don't care to know. And that's enough for me, too.

jed said...

Extracting some definitive meaning from the songs you have named is a futile exercise since, in your words "It's all about how you interpret it." So even if I came up with what I thought those songs were REALLY about, god only knows if my interpretations would pass your muster.

I've gone through the list of past winners on the John Lennon Songwriting Contest website and I can't identify a single one save for Tally Hall. Does this mean anything significant? No, I'm just one guy. But I find it hard to believe that this is truly the "pinnacle of songwriting contests" as you call it. What is this prestige based on, exactly? Namechecking a cultural legend hardly lends credence to what amounts to nothing more than yet another songwriting contest (which are, by the way, a dime a dozen).

Even if the contest were indeed the pinnacle you claim it to be, does that give it any more artistic merit? I admit my Britney analogy was fallacious, but look at the Grammys instead. Do Grammy winners Coldplay represent the best in "alternative" (*shudder*) music? I sure as hell hope not.

As for your dissection of "Haiku," sure, I'll concede the devices employed are clever, but clever in a very superficial way, no matter how carefully the verses were constructed and how much thought was put in. And this is the crux of why the album is far from genius: it's all very obvious, painting in broad strokes and hitting you over the head with just how zany, just how clever these gentlemen believe themselves to be.

Just let it go. Neither one of us is going to concede. Best of luck to you and Tally Hall. I sincerely wish them all the success in the world.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see your justification to call Tally Hall “no talent hacks” If you’ve ever seen them live, you’d know they can play their instruments just as well live as recorded, and they hit every single bloody harmony (and there are ALOT of them) PERFECTLY. Even if you think their lyrics are uninspired and every single musical idea is ripped off of another band (which i disagree with) they can perform better than 90% of the bands out there, and thats talent.

Take Fall out boy for example, some great ideas and lyrics, maybe even a little original. But i’ve seen them live twice, and it’s a flashback to my junior high days listening to 14-year olds play punk music in bookstore basements. They miss every harmony and the vocals are drowned out by guitar played by “musicians” that are too preoccupied with jumping off the bass drum to play their chords right (or on time)

If you’ve ever met these guys, or seen them live, you’d know they don’t take their musical careers seriously AT ALL. In fact, almost half the band has all their med school requirements completed, the fact that they accomplished that AND can play instruments to boot is impressive. And if this stops being fun for them, they have a hell of alot to fall back on. Listen to the lyrics from the “welcome to tally hall” song you rip on so readily “we think we’re playing in a band”?? they know this isn’t some kind of social criticism or deep metaphorical statement, this is a joke that they have fun with, and people enjoy, so they keep on doing it.

Sure these guys are dorks, but they know it, and they write music for dorks. I know, i’m one of them. I’ve followed local music for a long time now, and amongst a barrage of arrogant drunken frat boys who just learned how to play power chords, Tally Hall is a breath of fresh air.

And to all of you who criticize tally hall, what have you done thats so artful and talented that you can rip on these guys? I’m guessing these guys love their lives right now, making their own schedule, just playing music, and making money, can you say the same?

Anonymous said...

WARNING: The following contains flame-able content...

Most reviewers who are paid well to review things do so through research. Mr. Berger must not be getting paid well enough (or at all) as a staff writer at harmonium to do any research other than downloading it to his ipod and "forcing" himself to listen to albums. Opinions are like rectal orifices, everyone's got one. I dislike his and discount it as a "review". Harmonium, why did you let such a narrow-minded person touch this album?