Monday, May 23

Album Review - Turtleneck & Chain

The Lonely Island took the world by storm in 2005, with the release of a digital short called "Lazy Sunday." Their debut CD Incredibad dropped in 2009 after a number of additional videos on Saturday Night Live. With hits like "I'm On a Boat" and "Jizz in My Pants," it seemed that The Lonely Island and their music was here to stay. When lead single "I Just Had Sex" came out last winter, anticipation was high for the sophomore effort. So, how do Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer do this time around? A track-by-track look can help us find out!

1) "We're Back!"- This was the third video from the album, and it's really a terrible way to begin. The concept is similar to Incredibad, mixing a mundane topic with hardcore hip hop antics, but the humor here is almost nonexistent, and relies far too heavily on crude jokes to really be funny, which is a theme throughout the album. 1/5

2) "Mama"- This one's a step in the right direction; the boys pay a tribute to the women that raised them, saying all the great things they've done. Except in this case, the mom interrupts the studio session multiple times, getting on everyone's nerves. 4/5

3) "I Just Had Sex" feat. Akon- You've most likely heard this one already, but in case you've lived under a rock the past few months, this song ranks right up there with the best of the album, and the video is hilarious too. 5/5

4) "Jack Sparrow" feat. Michael Bolton- Another theme of this record is that the tracks with videos don't do quite as well as standalone songs, while on Incredibad most of the songs were still just as enjoyable without the accompanying visuals. While that's definitely the case on "Jack Sparrow," where Michael Bolton really outshines everyone, the song is still catchy enough--and the idea of Bolton ruining The Lonely Island's club vibe hilarious enough--that we'll overlook it. 5/5

5) "Attracted to Us" feat. Beck- The beat of this song sounds a lot like "Magic" by B.o.B, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but overall it's nothing too memorable, and fairly repetitive. Beck doesn't really get a chance to do too much on this one, either. 3.5/5

6) "Rocky"- A favorite of A Hot Cup, this autobiographical tale takes us through the protagonist challenging Rocky to a fight, going toe-to-toe with the champ at the weigh-in, and then entering the ring. Unlike other regular-guy-meets-superstar-athlete stories, though, this one ends a bit more realistically. 5/5

7) "My Mic - Interlude"- 22 seconds of mic checks. Funny voices make this one tolerable, and in the amount of time it would take to pull out your iPod from your pocket and change to the next track, it's already almost over. 3/5

8) "Turtleneck & Chain" feat. Snoop Dogg- The title track is probably one of the worst songs. Snoop's verse is forgettable and the song just never really flows as well as it should. Too bad. 2/5

9) "Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde" feat. Rihanna- This is another one that greatly suffers from not having a video, especially since an entire scene from said video is cut out of the song. Curiously enough, there's not a Shy Ronnie 1 anywhere to be found. 2.5/5

10) "Trouble on Dookie Island"- The middle of the album (really from "My Mic" to "Watch Me Do Me") is average at best, with minimal laughs, and again, the songs that have videos need the video to be effective. That being said, this one fits right in with that explanation, except it's not even average--it's worse. 1.5/5

11) "Falcor vs. Atreyu - Classy Skit #1"- A nod to The Neverending Story, but not a particularly funny or clever one. 2/5

12) "Motherlover" feat. Justin Timberlake- As a song (even without the accompanying video), it's not bad, but listeners can't help but feeling cheated since this song came out roughly two years ago. Although "Dick in a Box," which "Motherlover" is the sequel to, also came out about two years before the album it was on, so maybe it's just a theme. 4.5/5

13) "The Creep" feat. Nikki Minaj and John Waters- It should be no surprise that a song released in 2010 or 2011 features Nikki Minaj on a track, and she has eight bars of...well, nothing too great. This is another song that falters when you're not watching the video, so its score suffers accordingly. 3/5

14) "Watch Me Do Me - Classy Skit #2"- Another of these pointless skits, this one pretends like it's starting out as a song, and then devolves into some of that crude humor we're used to seeing by now. 2/5

15) "Threw It on the Ground"- Once again, the video makes this song all that much better. The image of a piece of birthday cake being thrown to the ground really adds to the description of what Andy Samberg says he's throwing. Okay, maybe it doesn't, but especially during the part when Samberg says things being thrown on the ground, "like this, and this, and that, and th-this," well, it would help if we could see what those things are. At least this song is still catchy, though, so it gets a pass. 4.5/5

16) "Japan"- A Hot Cup will venture a guess and say this will be the next music video, since the entire song is about The Lonely Island being in Japan so that the label will pay for an expensive trip. The recent disasters in the country make this a little bit of a sensitivity issue, but there are still some very funny lines, and the song is incredibly infectious. 5/5

17) "After Party" feat. Santigold- One could argue this is a sequel to "Jizz in my Pants," and it even references the fish from "Like a Boss." Too bad it isn't as good as either one of those, and Santigold's part is difficult to understand. Looking up her words reveals there might be a reason why--it's not very funny. A couple good lines here and there, but that's about it. 3.5/5

18) "No Homo"- A nice little closing number addressing homophobia, and how the term "no homo" can be used to get away with otherwise offensive statements. Or something like that. The outrageousness of the statements as the song chugs along is what makes it special. 5/5

19) "No Homo (Outro)"- This might as well be another skit, because it's not very long, and it's not very memorable. So that makes a weak opener and a weak closer, along with a weak middle. 2/5

The bonus DVD also includes videos for six album tracks, plus "We'll Kill U," featuring Schaffer and Taccone as the "two guyz" guys; "Reba (Two Worlds Collide);" and "Great Day," which is a showtune-esque day in the life of a cocaine user.

All in all, despite the poor choices for beginning and end track and the little lull in the middle, the times The Lonely Island is on point are good times, and while Incredibad is more clever, Turtleneck & Chain is still a fun romp.

Overall Score: 4/5

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