REVIEW: The Lonely Island – “Turtleneck & Chain”

The Lonely Island / Turtleneck & Chain / Universal

A music fan can’t help but disagree with The Lonely Island when they proclaim, in the final line of their new album’s opening track, that they “started this fake rap shit” – Weird Al Yankovic was steeped in fake rap regalia about 20 years ago. However, Al definitely never claimed to have genitalia that looked like it had been playing rugby. The boys (Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg) are back, mining deep into the realms of inanity and self-deprecation that have helped them rack up over 40 million hits on YouTube. “Threw It On The Ground” and several other songs that have been part of the viral lexicon for a number of months already – an eternity by today’s standards – find a home on the album, as do quite a few new tracks that are likely to develop quite the online following as well (“Turtleneck & Chain”). While a few of these songs have already turned into viral hits as videos (“Jack Sparrow”, “We’re Back”), most work their comedic magic well enough without visual aids.

Listeners are transported by the theatre of the mind into a studio where the group is at the mercy of their many collaborators. Sometimes, as with Akon on “I Just Had Sex”, things are played straight in order to satirize so many other high-powered pop songs that deal with that jubilant post-coital glow but refrain from putting that fact on Front Street. Elsewhere, we’re audience to recording sessions that seemingly don’t go according to plan as a well-intentioned mom repeatedly interrupts a track and Michael Bolton stops by to add a cinephile’s touch to a club grinder. It’s refreshing to see these generally straight laced, image-obsessed musicians playing a few numbers for laughs and, what’s more, production value isn’t sacrificed in the process. Finally, it’s nice to see a new generation of musically talented comedians (see also Hard ‘N Phirm, Garfunkel & Oates) building on the solid foundation laid down by Weird Al.

Download: “Turtleneck & Chain”, “Threw It On The Ground”

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