I don’t know why I keep trying with The Lonely Island. The comedy trio’s first album, Incredibad, had a few great songs, but it was mostly filled with clunkers. Their follow-up, Turtleneck & Chain, suffered from the same dilemma. While the guys of The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone make up the trio) are able to write funny songs (“Lazy Sunday”, “Like a Boss” and “The Creep” are some of my favourites) It seems as though they are incapable of putting out a solid album full of funny songs.
Despite that, when their third CD, The Wack Album, was released this summer, I still purchased it and I still listened to it. And guess what? I was still disappointed.
The first song on the disc is Go Kindergarten, a typical Lonely Island rap parody, in which the guys rap lines like, “Go stupid, get stupid – because we said to do it. Go dumb, eat garbage – we goin’ kindergarten” with Swedish pop singer, Robyn, singing on the chorus. The song is an obvious parody of rap songs with dance instructions in the lyrics, and though it’s done funnily enough, the song isn’t catchy or very memorable overall.
Diaper Money is a much funnier song; this time, the guys rap about a domestic lifestyle (“I got that diaper money, I got that diaper money/Dude, I got that diaper money, I’’m a grown ass man”) instead of a typical rap lifestyle. Again, the song isn’t as catchy as some of the Lonely Island’s other singles, but at least this is a track that made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it. Lead single, YOLO, takes the pop-culture phrase (you only live once) and makes it literal (“YOLO, you only live once/The battle cry of a generation/This life is a precious gift/So don’t get too crazy/It’s not worth the risk.”). Maroon 5‘s lead singer, Adam Levine is featured on the choruses, which actually manage to be pretty catchy this time around (“You know that we are still young/So, don’t be dumb/Don’t trust anyone/Cause you only live once.”). Pharrell is featured on a chopped & screwed number titled, Hugs. The lyrics aren’t very funny, but the sound is polished, and I enjoy any song with Pharrell singing in the chorus.
One of my main criticisms of The Lonely Island in the past is that their humour is far too immature, and while they’re still exploring pretty juvenile/silly subject matter on this album, at least they’re doing so with a sort of polished (and humorous) finesse that they previously lacked.
Spring Break Anthem is ridiculously silly, but I can’t help laughing at the ludicracy of the lyrics (“Kings of the p**sy, pounding our brewskies/Banging chicks right there in the sand/Bros before hoes and chicks with no clothes and/Slammin’ shots and marry a man!”). As with many of The Lonely Island’s songs, the music video just makes it funnier, and this one has plenty of hilarious celebrity cameos which makes it worth watching. Autotune rapper, T-Pain duets with the group again (he was responsible for the autotuned parts on “I’m On A Boat”) on I F**ked My Aunt, another absurd song that still manages to be funny somehow. The song is sung over a slow, R&B beat, and the guys keep leading up to the story of intercourse with their aunts without ever really explaining how or when it happened.
Speaking of duets, Justin Timberlake makes his third appearance on a Lonely Island album for 3 Way (The Golden Rule). As with “Dick In A Box”/”Motherlover”, the song was originally a SNL Digital Short and Lady Gaga even joins in with Timberlake and Samberg’s R&B duo. However, unlike the other two songs, this one simply isn’t as catchy nor as funny, and it may be that Timberlake and Samberg have run out of funny things for their R&B duo to sing about.
The rest of the album is pretty mediocre, which seems to be the case for every album The Lonely Island releases. There’s the prerequisite handful of unfunny interludes (including one where they spend a minute and a half spelling out something truly silly). For some reason, actor, Hugh Jackman, and SNL-alum, Kristen Wiig, join in on You’ve Got The Look, a messy sounding song about someone at a club with her “titty out” (their words, not mine). Green Day’s lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, sings the chorus on I Run NY, a fairly unfunny song about New York City. The rest of the album is made up of short songs that are neither funny nor memorable. It’s a bit annoying that the album is 20 tracks long, when at least 13 of the tracks could be considered filler. These guys definitely need to learn how to narrow down the tracklisting on their albums.
Overall, The Wack Album is another uneven effort from The Lonely Island. I’ve come to the same conclusion over and over again after listening to their albums: Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone have some funny ideas, but they are few and far between, and in-between those funny moments are a bunch of unfunny, unnecessary songs and goofy lyrics. At the very least, this album is less reliant on toilet humor (as was the case with their sophomore release), but I think it’s fair to say that this is another Lonely Island album I just can’t recommend buying.
1. Dramatic Intro
2. Go Kindergarten (feat. Robyn)
3. Hugs (feat. Pharrell Williams)
4. Diaper Money
5. YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)
6. Spell It Out
7. Semicolon (feat. Solange)
8. Where Brooklyn At? (Interlude)
9. You’ve Got The Look (feat. Hugh Jackman & Kristen Wiig)
10. I’m A Hustler (Song?)
11. Spring Break Anthem
12. I Run NY (feat. Billie Joe Armstrong)
13. I Don’t Give A Honk
14. 3-Way (The Golden Rule) (feat. Justin Timberlake & Lady Gaga
15. Meet The Crew
16. I F****d My Aunt (feat. T-Pain)
17. We Are A Crowd
18. The Compliments (feat. Too $hort)
19. We Need Love
20. Perfect Saturday