By: Richie Zeng
Known for their clever wordplay and eccentric themes, The Lonely Island has made a name for themselves with hit comedic songs like “I’m on a Boat” and “Like a Boss”. They return with their second album, Turtleneck and Chain, hoping to meet the bar set by their debut album.
At a glance, the album contains a whopping 19 tracks, an unusually large number for a music album, but upon closer examination, the songs are fairly brief; only one song exceeds 3 minutes in length, adhereing to the troupe’s idea that short songs are necessary to appeal to the audience’s short attention span. The songs end up being short and sweet and easily memorable.
Another reason the songs are memorable is because of the diverse set of topics they address. The topics range anywhere from Jack Sparrow to one’s mother to Japan. Diverse is not necessarily good however, as many tracks address obscure topics; like Falcor and Atreyu from the film The Neverending Story. The choice of topics is questionable at times, such as in the song “Rocky”, which obviously is about the popular 70’s film, but one wonders why a song about such a film was necessary.
The key to The Lonely Island’s humor is portraying ludacris topics in the form of serious and well produced hip-hop songs. The songs in Turtleneck and Chain shine in that aspect very well. “I Just Had Sex” is a parody of the explicit songs that are so popular in this age, talking about men losing their virginity. “Jack Sparrow” is hip-hop ballad where Michael Bolton belts out a masculine raspy chorus about the hero of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Joining Michael Bolton are other well established artists that give a sense of their own styles to the songs. The songs feature artists like Akon, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake, which helps significantly in diversifying the album. The additional vocals add a new flavor to the songs and are what make the most popular songs great.
The album is filled with amazing billboard toppers, but is also littered with trash. It is clear that many tracks are in there just as filler, such as the 22-second interlude “My Mic” where the artists do a series of mic checks. Sadly, many of the best songs have already been released as singles within the past year, so the album doesn’t really give listeners many good new songs.
Overall the album is enjoyable, and a good laugh, but it has very few good new songs to offer. The production quality is very good, and the record label didn’t skimp on bringing in extra talent, but one would be better off just buying songs as singles.