New Music Review: The Lonely Island; ‘Turtleneck & Chain’ (MUSIC VIDEO)
With their SNL Digital Shorts, The Lonely Island is responsible for the 36 year-old sketch comedy show’s viral internet presence, making Lorne Michaels an even prouder man. Picking up from their 2009 debut album, Incredibad, Andy Samberg, Akiva Shaffer, and Jorma Taccone further showcase their unique ability to write off-beat lyrics set to mainstream music of various genres. The comedy troupe’s sophomore release, Turtleneck & Chain continues the running theme of self-deprecation in the face of sexual inadequacies and awkward personalities. After all, this is a comedy album.
In a wise effort to salvage every joke, most of the songs don’t even reach the three-minute mark. Each piece needs to build anticipation, drop the punchline, exploit it, and then get out. This is wise in a Twitter age, where an audience will lose interest if the material is not quick, snappy, and easy to digest.
Since eight of these songs debuted as Digital Shorts before being released as singles, the visual comedy is lost on he who solely listens, not to mention missing out on the non-vocal guest appearances by actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Patricia Clarkson, America Ferrera, Jessica Alba, and Blake Lively. But these guys know what they’re doing. Along with the 21 short bursts of lyrical comedy, consumers are also treated to nine videos. That is incredibly generous for an album priced at $13.99 on iTunes. Granted, you can watch all of these videos on YouTube, as millions of people have.
The trio’s most brilliant talent is found in their ability to invert and satirize conventional music genres and subject matter. In one of their intermittent “Classy Skits,” the phrase “Watch Me Do Me,” is taken literally, capitalizing on its sexual connotation. “I Just Had Sex” seems to be parodying the idea that most every rap song is explicitly sexual, but this offers itself as a lame celebration of the act by a few overexcited, undersexed males. “Mama” is an ode to “the most important lady in our lives,” reminiscent of a whiney Eminem rap, in which the alluded to “Mama” keeps interrupting, only to be greeted with violently angry scoldings by the trio.
Samberg sticks it to the man in “Threw It On The Ground,” refusing to be a part of a nonsensical system in which someone is expected to accept things handed to him, such as a cell phone, a piece of birthday cake, and a free hot dog. Like most of The Lonely Island’s hits, analyzing this further would strip it of its comedic value. It sort of just needs to be listened to and watched (otherwise you’d miss Elijah Wood and Ryan Reynolds. Where do they find these people?!)
Despite The Lonely Island’s comedic chops, a good chunk of their viral recognition must be credited to the featured artists, an utterly impressive and eclectic array of guest vocalists includes Beck, Michael Bolton, Akon, Snoop Dog, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, and Santigold. Trust me when I say that you will never see this collection of names on one CD again, unless it is recorded from some benefit concert, in which case, I don’t think I’d want to know what the relief effort is.
My only lament is that the video for “Jack Sparrow” didn’t make it onto the CD, but I’d assume this was because it was produced too late in the game. And considering “3-Way (The Golden Rule)” ft. Lady Gaga premiered on the finale of SNL, after Turtleneck & Chain went on the market, it did not make it onto this album, but you can buy it as a single on iTunes and most likely expect it on their third album.
With the release of Turtleneck & Chain, I can safely conclude that these gentlemen know their market and can cater to it without disappointment. Plus, their non-preachy, just-for-laughs appeal creates an environment in which celebrities can emerge from their shells and freely make fools of themselves. If that doesn’t scream “21st century entertainment,” I’m not sure what does.
MUSIC VIDEO: The Lonely Island; “The Creep” (feat. Nicki Minaj and John Waters):
READ: More Faster Music Reviews:
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