Lonely Island: Making Satire Sing On 'Incredibad' A trio of comedians led by Andy Samberg have turned Saturday Night Live into a showcase for satirical music. Lonely Island's new album Incredibad is out this week.


Music Reviews

Lonely Island: Making Satire Sing On 'Incredibad'

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And now, a CD I'd be more than happy to pay full price for. I'm not talking about the soundtrack to "Shaft;" it's "Incredibad," the debut album from the trio called Lonely Island. The Lonely Island guys have known each other since childhood. They all grew up in Berkeley, California. You may know their work from "Saturday Night Live." Here with his review is our TV critic, Andrew Wallenstein.



ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: It all began one "Lazy Sunday."

ANDY SAMBERG: (Rapping) Lazy Sunday, Wake up in the late afternoon. Call Parnell just to see how he's doing.

CHRIS PARNELL: (Rapping) Hello?

SAMBERG: (Rapping) What up, Parns?

PARNELL: (Rapping) Yo, Samberg, what's crackin'?

SAMBERG: (Rapping) You thinking what I'm thinkin'?

SAMBERG: (Rapping together) "Narnia"!

SAMBERG: (Rapping) Man, it's happening...


WALLENSTEIN: There was Andy Samberg and fellow cast member, Chris Parnell, rhyming about eating cupcakes, of all things, and with the intensity of a gangster rap group.


SAMBERG: (Rapping) Gossling, Gossling, Gossling, Gossling.

WALLENSTEIN: Over three years later, Samberg has made enough of his homemade ditties to fill an album. He recorded "Incredibad" under the auspices of Lonely Island, the Web site he created nine years ago to showcase his work with Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, who were two of "SNL's" writers. Now, pop-song spoofs aren't exactly a fertile genre. "Weird Al" Yankovic may be its best example. But Lonely Island is operating on a whole other level. Instead of just rewriting current songs, they're crafting hilarious bits out of whole cloth. Lonely Island is particularly fixated on satirizing hip-hop and R&B, as Samberg does with the cameo from singer T Pain in "I'm on a Boat."


THE LONELY ISLAND: (Rapping) Arms spread wide on the starboard bow (starboard bow), Gonna fly this boat to the moon somehow (moon somehow). Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible. (Singing) Yeah, never thought I'd be on a boat. It's a big blue watery road (yeah.) Poseidon, Look at me, oh, (all hands on deck)...

WALLENSTEIN: Rapping about being on the boat is absurd in its own right. But if you've seen the countless hip-hop videos that feature performers rapping about their life on the streets, well, dancing rather incongruously on yachts, the song is hysterical on a whole other level. Unfortunately, my favorite Lonely Island song is not on the album because they couldn't clear the rights to a piece of music in the song "Iran So Far."


WALLENSTEIN: It's a ballad in which Samberg declares his love for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.



LONELY ISLAND: I remember when it started, saw you on the news. You were hating gays; I was eating food. But I was feeling you, and even though I disagreed with almost everything you said You ain't wrong to me, so strong to me, you belong to me Like a very hairy Jake Gyllenhaal to me.


LONELY ISLAND: (Rapping) Mahmoud, make my heart beat right out of my chest. My mind says no but my body says yes...


WALLENSTEIN: If lusting after a dictator seems racy, that's nothing compared with some of the other cuts on "Incredibad." I can't even mention the R-rated titles of two of the album's biggest hits. No wonder Lonely Island has flourished on the Internet, where content standards run at loose to none. Whether "Incredibad" sells as an album or not, these songs have already earned a pretty significant place in the pop-culture pantheon, the first reliable source of entertainment that treated its TV home as little more than a springboard for making a bigger splash online. Maybe they are just a bunch of silly songs, but they'll be remembered from marking the period when momentum shifted between mediums.

COHEN: More to come after this.

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