Blame the incredibly long shadow of “Weird Al” Yankovic or the crop of so many dime-a-dozen parodists dropping quickly-crafted goofs on YouTube, but it always feels that The Lonely Island are criminally underrated.
Sure, the trio of writer/actors Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccome and Akiva Schaeffer have earned plenty of acclaim for their daffy song satire, thanks to their beloved Digital Shorts on Saturday Night Live, where Samberg acted and Taccome wrote for several years. Some of these clips, including the ’90s R&B pastiche “Dick in a Box” with Justin Timberlake and the brilliantly silly “I’m on a Boat” with T-Pain, have been nominated for Emmys and Grammys. But it really seems like there can’t be enough great things said about The Lonely Island.
Part of what makes The Lonely Island work so well is their intricate, long con approach to comedy music. They’ve lampooned every genre from soft-thug R&B to Eurodisco, convincing a stable of superstars to join in on the jokes, from Michael Bolton to Akon. Take newest single “YOLO,” which mocks the ridiculous teenage meme by advocating paranoid safety at all times, with the help of a hook from Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and a surprisingly tight rap (about financial management, no less) by Kendrick Lamar.
“YOLO” is the lead single off the band’s recently-announced The Wack Album, another inevitable laugh-filled set. Confirmed guests include Timberlake and Lady Gaga (likely the third entry in their Samberg-and-Timberlake-as-Color Me Badd-rejects series, “Motherlover”), Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Solange, Pharrell Williams and T-Pain. The trio are also releasing weekly content on their YouTube channel under the “Wack Wednesdays” banner. This week’s entry features a new track, “Spring Break Anthem,” on an episode of web series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifiniakis.
The Wack Album drops June 11.