As a rule my “Pop Goes the Music Diary” posts are meant to point out trends in the music business as exemplified by a song – and in general that means skewering the absurdities of the music industry. And that is likely to continue unabated.
However, not all trends in popular music are negative! Way back in the 1940’s we started seeing popular comedy song recordings by Spike Jones, followed by Alan Sherman (of “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” fame), and Ray Stevens.
But as a creative genre things really took off in the 1980’s with Weird Al Yankovic, who would take popular songs and rework them – examples include Eat It (Michael Jackson’s Beat It), Like a Surgeon (Madonna – Like a Virgin), Dare to be Stupid (Tommy Emmanual – Dare to be Different) and many more. Yet he also created comedic songs such as ‘The Saga Begins’ which took a tune (American Pie) and melded it with something else (the Star Wars Episode I saga), and has constructed a career based on some actual musical quality to go along with the typical novelty humor attributed to parodists.
Over the last few years, the group Lonely Island has grown from a Saturday Night Live novelty act to a bona fide popular act, though generally their selections are tailored for a late-night audience and not so-much family friendly (for example, ‘Dick in a Box’).
Today is the release of their newest record, Turtleneck & Chain. My kids have been excited about this for a while – Lonely Island is HUGE with middle school boys. The mix of the beat, rap style, comedy, and suggestive lyrics make it pretty much a dead lock.
Aside from making some decent music, Lonely Island has done a decent job attracting guests – their biggest being Justin Timberlake who has appeared multiple times. They were also behind the Natalie Portman ‘Gangsta Rap’ on SNL a few years ago. But now they have outdone themselves, pulling in 80’s pop songster Michael Bolton (no, not the one from Office Space), in a cool new song.
You can grab the album at Amazon.com, but for now, just enjoy Michael Bolton and The Lonely Island doing ‘Jack Sparrow’.