Many bands tend to mature a bit with their sophomore efforts; with the Lonely Island, this is certainly not the case. Turtleneck and Chain, the follow-up to 2009’s Incredibad is still full of jokes about genitalia (mostly male) and fecal matter – often within the same song, but the high production value, memorable guest appearances, and catchy hooks help their crude humor transcend from novelty song to the mainstream. Lonely Island’s songs are first heard accompanied by videos as Saturday Night Live Digital Shorts before finding their way to millions of viewers via YouTube. Some, such as the Grammy-nominated “I’m On a Boat” and “Jizz In My Pants” have even been common staples at clubs around the world; a rare claim from a comedy group.
The new album kicks off with “We’re Back,” a song mocking lead-off tracks from boisterous MC’s, bragging about past awards and accolades. This track also serves to remind listeners that the Lonely Island haven’t strayed too far from their roots; fitting as many dick jokes as possible with this one; there’s even a line referencing Garfield licking Marmaduke’s nuts (for those without a vivid imagination no need to worry – the music video can help you with that).
Like the album before it, the tracks that are most memorable are the ones featuring the guests, and Turtleneck and Chain certainly has an eclectic bunch of them. One of the quirkiest (and catchiest) guest spots comes from Michael Bolton who delivers a sexy hook telling the tale of Jack Sparrow’s adventures in the high seas. This video was released on SNL the 4 days before the release of the CD and has already become viral (be sure to check it out below).
A large part of what makes the Lonely Island so popular is that they put just as much if not more into the structure of their songs as they do the lyrics and jokes. There is as much praise in the different styles of music that they take on as there is spoof. The title track of this album consists of a club-worthy bass-line over a chopped up hook repeating “Turtleneck and Chain” reinforced by a verse from Snoop Dogg. For much of the album, delivery is of more importance than lyrics, and the trio’s ability to adapt to so many different styles is profound; the range of guests helps emphasize this point with other notable appearances from Beck, Santigold, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Akon and Justin Timberlake.
All in all, Turtleneck and Chain lives up to the anticipation that has been building ever since the release of Incredibad. There are definitely tracks on here which will seep into the mainstream. It is difficult however, to fully assess these tracks without making reference to their videos; which are, after all their major outlet to the world. The Lonely Island’s roots lie in shorts and videos, and many of their songs and jokes are reinforced by visuals. Be sure to check out the videos that have currently been released from their new albums below and tune in on Saturday nights to see what’s next from these guys . . .
By Jesse Zryb
I Just Had Sex