The Lonely Island - Incredibad
Record Label: Universal Republic Records
Release Date: February 10, 2009
These days funny requires a YouTube channel, a guest blog on Cracked, and a Flickr account for the handsome troupe leader. These are very important tools, although it seems being funny in 2009 is much easier than, say, in Richard Pryor’s day - you know, when you had to literally catch on fire for a laugh. The American Dream has become The Internet Dream. Do they even have comedy clubs anymore? The only "spot" in my town regularly holds “Viral Video Vote” nights. (Last week “Sneezing Panda” narrowly upset “Compilation of People Being Hit In The Nuts.”) With all these trends in comedy, it’s no surprise that 2 ugly dudes and one hot guy hit the big time; The Lonely Island obviously attended the “Comedy in the New Millenium” seminar (hosted by 90’s sitcom star Dave Coulier) and took copious notes. But all the gimmicks in the world won't hide a lack of talent.
Incredibad is comedy set to music, so it’s a double whammy of subjectivity. As if judging Jorma Taccone’s impressively realistic hip-hop beats weren’t enough, I must also take into account lyrics like, “What happened next was a total disgrace / Everybody started having sex / The music was way too powerful / A bunch of old people f**king like rabbits / It was disgusting to say the least.” Those choice words are from “Boombox,” which somehow features a hook by Julian Casablancas. Basically, if Flight of the Conchords are indie comedy and Tenacious D are metal comedy, then The Lonely Island are hip-hop comedy: “Like A Boss” is a bass-heavy Rick Ross parody. “I’m On A Boat,” while completely hilarious, is a by-the-numbers conglomerate of T-Pain collaborations. Taccone certainly did his homework, and if you disregard the lyrics - a normal occurrence for T-Pain songs - you’ll believe this is the Mad Hatter’s next big hit. Plus, the song’s big moment features T-Pain singing, “I f**ked a mermaid!” There’s never been a lyric more indicative of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.
Jack Black’s groovy prog number showcases The Lonely Island’s ability to take one punchline and stretch it to unimaginable lengths. Each time the sax man sputters is truly funnier than the last. But perhaps the best cameo on Incredibad is E-40 as Carlos Santana (“I see you bitches is enjoying my sparkling wine / Well be careful cause this shit will get you f**ked up”). It was smart of The Lonely Island to include so many guests since each member’s rapping sounds strangely similar; it’s that screamy sound that is meant to sound “angry” or “gangsta”, but instead grates and annoys. Unfortunately the group’s greatest cameo song (“Iran So Far”, featuring the hottie singer from Maroon 5) was sadly left out due to some a**hole named Aphex Twin.
While many of these songs were readily available previously (“Lazy Sunday”, “Natalie’s Rap”, “Dick in a Box”), it’s nice to have them in iPod form. There’s a strange joy that washes over you as the trio yells, “Three Way Climax!” during closer “Incredibad” - a buddy rap about alien anal rape - especially when you’re sitting in a crowded auditorium. You want to look around and see if anyone is onto you, but mostly it’s just nice to smirk before failing an Anthropology test. Despite Incredibad’s weak skits and hyperbolic rapping style, it’s a solid comedy album. But Taccone’s beats are so versed in modern hip-hop that it’s also a solid music album. These 19 tracks - one of which features Norah Jones singing about Chex Mix over drum machines - of music-as-comedy won’t do anything but broaden The Lonely Island’s fanbase, and, hopefully with time, fix the residual brain-numbing that occurs after watching Hot Rod.
Recommended If You Like: Flight of the Conchords, Raekwon the Chef, Stephen Lynch, all of Murder INC., Zach Galifinakis, R.Kelly, R.Kelly, movies from the 90's
I didn't realize you were including so many links in your reviews now, Blake. I don't really see the appeal of owning this album, but Tenacious D is one huge pass for me as well, so I'm probably not the intended audience.