Musical comedy is a hard thing to do. And its really hard to do well. With most musical comedy I end up listening to an album 2 or 3 times and once the jokes are old, I’m done listening. One album that helped to buck this trend (for me, at least) was Tenacious D. Not only were they funny, they were fairly talented as well. They wrote some really good songs that happened to be funny at the same time. Since the D release their first album, nothing in the genre has tickled my fancy, until now.
I had been avoiding this one for a while because of it’s ties to Saturday Night Live. Yes there have been some funny skits that are featured there, but the show has been in a downward spiral for years. The skits that have stood out are, namely, the Natalie Portman Rap and Lazy Sunday. I enjoyed both skits and songs, but wasn’t quite as crazy as some people had gotten over them. So when I heard that Lonely Island were releasing a full album I was not very interested. Then the Internet hype machine started up for I’m On A Boat. I had to check it out, I couldn’t be the one person who didn’t see the video. Not only was the song hilarious, it was catchy as hell and something I could listen to again and again. After that track I had to check out the rest of the disc. Despite mixed results with the humor, it’s a pretty good add to anyone’s comedy collection.
If the Onion were comedy in the form of music, it would be I’m On A Boat. The track mocks rap’s tradition of taking menial tasks and making them seem like awesome events. Riding on motorcycles or in cars, rappers like to brag and boast about whatever they can. And that’s what Lonely Island does here. The lyrics, when read on a peice of paper, aren’t going to make you laugh. But within the context of the song it ends up being hilarious. Add to the white-boy rapping some T-Pain and you have one funny ass song. I wonder if T-Pain knows that he is making fun of himself here, but I am glad he was featured because he takes the track to a level that couldn’t be attained buy Lonely Island alone.
Video For I’m On A Boat (Feat. T-Pain [explicit])
Thankfully that isn’t the only track worth listening to, there are several good ones here. Jizz In My Pants got more YouTube hits than any other video and it only took a day after it was aired on SNL. This track relies on the lyrics for laughs and it does a great job. The song is serviceable as well with a pumping beat and dance club vocals. My other favorite track has to be Like A Boss. Never have I laughed so hard at something while laying in bed listening to music. Like a Boss also relies on satirical elements for the laughs. The track takes it cues from a countless number of terrible rap tracks that take one line and repeat it over and over. Lonely Island took the idea and made it very, very funny.
Of course you have what are now almost classics in Lazy Sunday and Portman’s rap. Lazy Sunday was the first of SNL’s digital shorts featuring Sandberg that hit it big. The track plays like a hardcore rap version of two white dudes looking for some munchies. Natalie Portman’s rap is comedic gold. The seemingly nice and quite actress comes out, lyrics blazing and filthy enough that your mom isn’t going to like it. She says things I never thought she would say and it all comes across as hilarious. The last track I want to point out is Ras Trent which is a great take of a suburban white dude trying to do reggae. It’s something we haven’t heard and I don’t think we will hear again, but it’s pretty funny.
Of course it’s not all Peaches and Cream. There are a few non-musical interludes that border on annoying. Some tracks have ideas that are only kinda/sorta funny and that become boring by the time the track is over. Sax Man (feat. Jack Black) is a prime example. The idea isn’t that funny and after hearing the same joke over and over for 3 minutes it becomes redundant and boring. Then there is the track featuring Norah Jones that is a predictable “lets come up with the craziest looking girl and talk about how we love her” kind of song. Insane Clown Posse did the same thing and probably did it better.
So while not ever track is worth listening too, there are a handful of good ones that are good enough to get you to purchase the album. I’m On A Boat might end up as a comedic classic and a lot of the other tracks are going to get you to laugh as well. If you don’t want to buy the whole album you can find almost everything on YouTube. You owe it to yourself to check some of these videos out…. everyone needs to laugh once and a while.
Video For Ras Trent
6.5 out of 10
Top Three Tracks:
I’m On A Boat (Feat. T-Pain)
Like a Boss
Jizz In My Pants
Listen if you like:
Terrible, commercial rap