Year of the Album — #026
The Lonely Island – “Turtleneck and Chain” (2011, Universal Republic)
“We started this fake-rap shit!” The Lonely Island declares early on their second comedy record, Turtleneck and Chain, and it’s clear that no other group could pull this sound off without sounding completely ridiculous. What’s more impressive is that the collective, best known for their Saturday Night Live digital shorts, can make what works in a visual form consistently work just as well in straight-up audio.
This wouldn’t work if they weren’t spot-on with the hip hop and the comedy, and in that regard, Turtleneck and Chain is an exceptional follow-up to the crew’s debut. Whether dueting with Justin Timberlake on “Motherlover,” the insane follow-up to “Dick in a Box,” or twisting the story of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films into “Jack Sparrow,” featuring a “big sexy hook” from Michael Bolton, they rarely miss the mark. Even the album’s intro, simply titled “We’re Back,” usually a dumping ground for most rap groups, they craft hilarity as the three members compete to say the most disgusting things about their penises, in an amusing reversal of the usual hip-hop braggadoccio.
It’s a virtual lock that the few tracks on the album that have yet to receive the video treatment will be the funniest moments of next year’s SNL season. It’s parody music which manages to be consistently funny and original, something even veterans of the genre can’t usually claim. More than that, Turtleneck and Chain proves that The Lonely Island has more than one trick up its sleeve. That alone makes it worth spreading the word.