Here at The EDGE we love a good chuckle, and with the recent success of The Lonely Island, we take a little look over the hits of the comedy-album genre.
3. Tenacious D – Tenacious D
Released around the same time Jack Black was making waves in the film industry with High Fidelity and Shallow Hal, ‘Tenacious D’ marked a move from a comedy television duo to a full band full length release, with Dave Grohl on drums and other established artists from other bands helping out. Half songs and half skits, the album took a while to gain popularity but when it did, prompted by the release of ‘Tribute,’ things took off for Tenacious D who went on to film ‘The Pick of Destiny’. The album centres around the relationship between Jack Black and Kyle Gass and plays off the dynamic that Jack Black is the star and bullies Kyle relentlessly. The three major releases off the album, ‘Tribute’, ‘Wonderboy’ and ‘F**k Her Gently’ all revolve around Tenacious D being great songwriters, powerful adventurers and incredible lovers. This is all taken with a pinch of salt and is funny precisely because Tenacious D are the complete opposite of the classic good rock band.
2. The Lonely Island – Incredibad
Anyone who graced the dance floor of Jesters or Sobar last year would have heard ‘Jizz In My Pants’, or ‘I’m On A Boat’ and within days started telling everyone that would listen about the hilarious comedy hip hop of The Lonely Island made up of trio Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg. However, many of the songs were written years ago and appeared on Saturday Night Live where the trio regularly performed short musical shorts, many of which appeared on the album. Some of these videos became huge YouTube hits before ‘Incredibad’ was released including ‘Dick in a Box’, ‘Jizz in My Pants and ‘I’m on a Boat,’ which helped the group become a worldwide sensation before they released the album. A feeling of authenticity is gained by the guest appearances of huge stars like Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, Jack Black and T-Pain and a talent for writing good songs meant The Lonely Island stood head and shoulders over comedians that concentrate solely on lyrics without incorporating them in a quality finished product. Saying that, the lyrics on ‘Incredibad’ are incredigood and considering the recent release of Black Swan I challenge anyone to listen to ‘Natalie’s Rap’ and stifle a laugh.
1. Flight of The Conchords
Starting off as a BBC radio series, Flight of the Conchords – composed of the New Zealand-based comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement – quickly evolved into an overnight musical success. The New Zealand duo’s odd-ball comedy and music gathered a cult following that paved the way for a brilliant American television series, which premiered in 2007 on HBO, also called Flight of the Conchords. The television series followed the duo as they attempt to achieve success in New York City under the lead of their hapless manager Murray, played by the brilliant Rhys Darby. The series mixed Bret and Jermaine’s dry humour with regular musical intervals depicting their ever increasing woes.
The success of the two series enabled Flight of the Conchords to release two albums, Flight of the Conchords (2008) and I Told You I Was Freaky (2009). The duo’s first album was a mixture of styles, with influences from pop, hip-hop, rock and folk genres. Yet, where Flight of the Conchords’ reign superior over any other comedy/music act, is their ability to create music that would be enjoyable even without the incredibly hilarious lyrics. Songs such as ‘Robots’, ‘Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymnoceros’ and ‘Mutha’uckas’, are brilliantly constructed songs in their own right; however, the genius witticisms of the New Zealand duo always manage to steal the show.
Want to hear a parody of the musical styles and visual methods used by David Bowie throughout his career? Then listen to Flight of the Conchords’ exuberant piss-take of ‘Space Oddity’ in their song ‘Bowie’. The song is so simple, yet there is something about Bret and Jermaine’s delivery that cements it deep in the recesses of the brain. This is also true of the brilliant ‘Business Time’, a song that will make you simultaneously laugh and sing-a-long to its incredibly catchy chorus. It is also shows the ability of the New Zealand duo to deliver their comical lyrics such as ‘Making love, making love for/Making love for two, making love for two minutes/When it’s with me girl you only need two minutes/Because I’m so intense’.
The second album, I Told You I Was Freaky, was equally as funny as the duo’s debut. Songs with more of an R&B and techno feel, such as ‘Sugar Lumps’ and ‘Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)’, proved that Flight of the Conchords could adjust to any genre successfully. Of course, the hilarious lyrics remained, such as this beauty from ‘Too Many Dicks’: ‘I need better odds/more broads, less rods/I came to do battle/Skeedattle with the cattle prods’. Flight of the Conchords may not possess the production or star guests of The Lonely Island, or Weird Al’s comical interpreted lyrics imposed over the original music. But what the New Zealand duo does provide is their own original and innovative take on comedic music, with ingenious lyrics, catchy rhythms and the essential comedic ‘look’. If you get a chance, check out New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”.