It’s pretty fair to say that Andy Samberg has been one of the best things to happen to “Saturday Night Live” in the past ten years. A show that had become completely buzz-less picked up steam when Samberg started out with his Digital Shorts. Aided by his buddies Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer and celebrity cameos from everyone from Natalie Portman to Adam Levine, Samberg has provided plenty of watercooler moments over the past five years. Compiling those skits with original material for Incredibad (released by Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer as The Lonely Island) gave “SNL” their first ink on the music charts since Adam Sandler’s comedy albums hit big in the early Nineties.
For round two, The Lonely Island has put together yet another hilarious assemblage of comedic musical moments and called it Turtleneck & Chain. To join them, they’ve reached out to a who’s who of pop music circa 2011 (and some from a time before 2011)-from their last album, Justin Timberlake returns. Checking their egos at the door for Turtleneck & Chain (and revealing their senses of humor) are Nicki Minaj, Beck, Rihanna, Akon and Michael Bolton, among others. Those forces combine to make Turtleneck a completely hilarious (although admittedly in very juvenile-just the way I like it- fashion) album.
We covered the Bolton-assisted “Jack Sparrow” in a column last week, and truthfully, it’s the most drop-down funny moment on the whole album, a full-on guffaw instead of a quick chuckle, but there’s nothing wrong with quick chuckles, right? Especially when they’re attached to borderline-gross songs like “The Creep” (which also features film’s Godfather or Gross, John Waters) or “Motherlover”, a song that my Popdose brethren Jason Hare, Jeff Giles, Dave Lifton and Matt Wardlaw could have written themselves.
The bouncy “Attracted to Us” could have been ripped right off of Beck’s Midnite Vultures album, “Rocky” is a good-natured and inredibly goofy re-write of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson”, and “No Homo” takes a subtle shot at the homophobia that riddles hip-hop. What makes Turtleneck such a solid listen is that not only are the guys funny (and not in an “I’m so cool because I can make people laugh” way but more of an “I’m really nerdy” way, which is SO much more endearing), but they’re fairly musical. They’re not exactly Rakims on the mike, but damn. White folks have come a long way since Vanilla Ice.
I can count the amount of comedy albums I own (or rather, the comedy albums I’ve bought) on two hands: Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Sandler’s “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You”, Chris Rock (I need to get some Carlin in my collection). While Turtleneck & Chain doesn’t put Andy, Akiva and Jorma in that exalted company yet, it’s a fun and easy listen. I certainly wouldn’t mind getting stranded on the Lonely Island again!