I’ve stared at this album for about 15 minutes now trying to figure out what I’m going to start with, and I’m completely out of ideas. My research yielded no a single thing on the Doctor Demento-recommended “Totally Bananas,” and the back of the album doesn’t help much. All I have to guide me here is the back of the album, which is little help. I can’t get much here besides a letter of recommendation by the aforementioned Doc. The cover, however, I could write a book about.
Rose and the Arrangement really outdid themselves here, I’ve truly never seen more bananas in once place. You really understand how obsessed Rose must have been with bananas, there’s gotta be at least a hundred here: Bananas sticking out of cups, bananas in ears, and even bananas being devoured by men with shameful 1981 haircuts are a common sight here. I planned to go for much longer about this cover, but it really needs to be experienced instead of described. Instead, I’ll get right into the music.
The album starts with one of the most chilling intros of anything I’ve ever listened to. Out of nowhere, a crowd begins to chant “WE WANT BANANAS!” This is the beginning of track one, “Totally Bananas.” This track is mostly composed of a group of four taking turns telling their stories about how they became both insane and obsessed with bananas. The only instrumental accompaniment is solely a drum set and a bass with a kazoo being blown exactly five times.
During my studies, I attempted listening to this track backwards, and I swear to whatever’s up there that they’re chanting “LET US NOW BE EVIL!” Before the devil himself can grab the listener, track two begins.
“Last Tango in Pahrump” is dreadful. This album weirdly already spins out of control with a song that’s neither a joke nor a real song. It’s seemingly a novelty song for the reason that it’s a normal song about a place that doesn’t exist.
Track three, “Rigatoni,” is a saloon-type piano song about the main singer falling in love with a man named Sal because he brought a plate of rigatoni to her table. After wading through some half-baked dirty food puns and two full verses in Italian, we charge forward to track four: “I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones.” This is when it got me. This is when I realized what I was doomed to.
My mortal hell for the next eight tracks was to be composed of bad food buns and lines like “I do not like peaches, they are full of stones. I like bananas because they have no bones.” I’m not even going to bother trying to figure out this song. Why does Rosie say she hates tomatoes? They have no pits or bones to speak of. Nor am I going to cover the rest of this album track-by-track.
For some reason there are three more romantic ballads in the style of “Last Tango in Pahrump,” and they all actually follow the same protagonist from Pahrump. I will, however, cover the remaining two stand-out tracks.
Closing out the A-Side is “Summer is a Bummer (When You’re Married to the Drummer),” a track about being married to the drummer currently playing the song. It’s pretty straight-up about the one joke this song has, namely that the drummer keeps playing at the wrong time to annoy the singer. The shocker: this track is six minutes long. They can’t stop making this one joke.
The only track worth mentioning on the B-side is the same one shouted out by Doctor Demento on the back of the album, “The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati.” This song is a complete departure from the rest of the album, as it doesn’t mention Italian food once. It’s just a song about a big cockroach eating a city. It eats some suburbs, drinks a lake, and then the song ends. And then the album ends. The experience is about as unfulfilling as a banana with no bones.