Lonely Island – Turtleneck And Chain Lonely Island – Turtleneck And Chain

Lonely Island - Turtleneck And Chain

In 2005, the comedy troupe known as the Lonely Island filmed a pilot for a sketch comedy shown called Awesometown. Like most start up comedy shows, the premise promised a mixture of sketches and scripted audience banter. Unlike most start-up comedy shows, “Awesometown” was funny and constantly veered off the edge of insanity. The show was rejected both by Fox and MTV. I always wondered how Awesometown , if green lit, would fair within the constraints of network television. I still wonder how these group of toilet obsessed comedians can constantly keep things fresh within the constraints of network television. The rejection of Awesometown led to other things including a strong focus on comedy based rap. It is a story which is still as baffling as it is hilarious. Turtleneck and Chain is the trio’s second proper album cashing in years of ever-growing recognition and hard work. It may not be funny in a few months but for now, I cant stop laughing.

The short is Turtleneck and Chain is very uneven, jumping from moments of absolute hilarity to slight boredom. The long is a bit more complicated. The things which work well for the Lonley Island are the same things which bring them down. Before they were known to anyone, they were just three Californian comedians attempting to break into one of the least respectful forms of music available. Early songs such as “The Heist,” “Stork Patrol” and “Ka-blamo” relied on a simple mixture of competent rap and ever increasing lunacy. Their timing and subject matter was more than adequate — sometimes bordering on comedic genius. The move toward a writing position for Saturday Night Live inducted the group to a larger pool of celebrities. This move transformed the group’s writing allowing more bizarre collaborations with serious musicians. Turtleneck and Chain pushes this contrast by premiering more celebrities with greater results. The opposite is true as their attempts to write songs without celebrities are pushed further into dead silence.

Beck, Rhianna, John Waters, Akon, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj and Santigold all make appearances on songs which are the album’s highlights. The group’s collaboration with adult contemporary star Michael Bolton is perhaps the funniest thing the Lonley Island and Michael Bolton have ever done. But outside of these digital SNL shorts and crowd drawing collaborations, the group suffers from derivative work and bits which are just not funny at all. “Japan,” “Mama,” “No Homo” and the comedic skits sink further into the ground leaving me to wonder if these three can be funny when not backed by an already established star.

While the album is very uneven it mirrors, perfectly the success of their debut Incredibad. Even though not every song was a gem, the few that did make it plunged further into contemporary culture than anyone could imagine. “Like a Boss” is still a referenced meme and “Im On a Boat” is funny despite being two years old. The wit and craft of the Lonely Island more than makes up for a few misfires. These three comedians are pushing the levels of comedy backed by a once dying network sketch show. Turtleneck And Chain is less an album and more a digital era tin pan alley where barrooms and cabarets have been replaced with videos and mp3s.

The art of novelty replaces longevity with ephemeral and instant gratification. Songs forgo the timeless quality for hyper relevant references. The Lonely Island recognizes the expiration date on their subject matter and compensates by making as funny as it could be at the time. These are the same three guys making low budget Youtube videos in 2005. Now, they just have more money and show no signs of slowing down. I will be surprised to see if this record makes it to the end of the year. Even if it falls off in autumn I know in two years I will have another record which will induce fits of laughter and tears.

1. We’re Back!
2. Mama
3. I Just Had Sex (feat. Akon)
4. Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)
5. Attracted To Us (feat. Beck)
6. Rocky
7. My Mic – Interlude
8. Turtleneck & Chain (feat. Snoop Dogg)
9. Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde (feat. Rihanna)
10. Trouble On Dookie Island
11. Falcor vs. Atreyu – Classy Skit #1
12. Motherlover (feat. Justin Timberlake)
13. The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj & John Waters)
14. Watch Me Do Me – Classy Skit #2
15. Threw It On The Ground
16. Japan
17. After Party (feat. Santigold)
18. No Homo
19. No Homo Outro

Lonely Island - Turtleneck And Chain, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-06-30T09:54:55-07:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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