The Lonely Island
Turtleneck and Sweater
Universal Republic Records
Comedy and music have never had a good marriage. I remember taping Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison albums from my Cousin Mike back when I was 12 and both albums had these comedians doing some sort of jingle on their album. Maybe it’s because record labels that sold music didn’t think albums would sell without a single that would fail to chart. Granted, Comedy albums are a hard sale, but Dennis Leary had a few songs on his album that were passable. Even indie comic and metal head Brian Posehn included “Metal By Numbers” on his debut album Live In Nerd Rage and it sucked.
I’m a man who likes a good comedy album. Of all the so-called “creative” outlets I indulge in, comedy is one that I won’t venture into. Seriously, comedy is not something you can bullshit your way through. Being funny is an art form that only few are gifted with. Because of that, funny music rarely works. But of course, finally, western culture broke that restraint and recently we’ve gotten a pair of funny musics in the way of Flight of the Concords and The Lonely Island. Both of these comedy/acting groups have been able to combine music, comedy and film to create some great, gut busting moments.
Incredibad was awesome. Turtleneck and Sweater sadly, is not. Now, don’t get me wrong, it has its moments. The leading singles and videos shown on SNL were pretty awesome. The reuse of Justin Timberlake in “Motherlover” is pretty damn funny in it’s totally idiotic premise of douche bags “fucking each others moms”. They play the joke of the characters out to success. Further, Akon mocking himself in “I Just Had Sex” was pretty awesome. You could tell dude was laughing at himself the whole time he shot that video. Also, they made fun of that twit Katy Perry with their exploding crotches shooting fireworks. I can get behind that. Plus, to the chagrin of the next woman I have sex with, I will sing this song once done embarrassing myself.
However, a lot of the humor of Lonely Island is visual. Some of the songs that work, work best with the accompanying videos. The over the top ridiculous character of “Shy Ronnie” as Rihanna’s robbery sidekick is pretty hysterical, but the joke of his shyness falls flat on the track. It’s great to hear Rihanna poke fun at herself a bit and actually makes me able to stomach the continual repetition of lyrics she’s known for. But at its core it’s not that strong of a song, with fairly sophomoric lyrics and a weak ending. It’s a joke without a resolution or punch line.
Further, “The Creep” is full of chuckles when the trio dorks it up hardcore in suits and exaggerated eye glasses. But the song is just okay. The addition of John Waters should be awesome, but he is so under utilized. Nicki Manaj gives a solid if pedestrian performance, but I’d rather have more John quite frankly. The guy basically invented The Creep dance Lonely Island is talking about here.
After that, most of the album is filler, with concepts that just don’t take off. “Jack Sparrow” which includes a ridiculous hook sung by Michael Bolton about the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean is growing on me a bit, but only conceptually. The song itself doesn’t really stand up itself. It’s more of a skit over music, rather than just being a funny song. The album ends on an uncomfortable note called “No Homo” which I think they’re trying to make fun of homophobic, closeted jock machismo, but the song is just awkward.
The final result is I find myself skipping all about the album, over far too many tracks. The video’s that accompany the album are a decent collection, but as most of the tracks are already covered on the album, it actually makes the album mostly useless. The song writing has improved in places, capturing the more over the top aspects of mainstream hip-hop/R&B radio, but the ideas and jokes are a little thin, either not fully developed or lacking any strong resolution. Kind of like this review. How’s this? I’d rather just watch the video’s on their website.