The Wack Album marks the third official release from the comedy rap trio, The Lonely Island. Andy Sandberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone unite once more to bring music that not only packs laughs but also serves as an interesting critique of American culture. Like their previous releases (Incredibad and Turtleneck & Chain), many of the songs of this album were released as music videos online. There is a good chance that you have at least some of them on the front page of Youtube. If you took the time to check any of them out then you definitely caught the vibe of the overall album: ridiculous songs delivered with a straight face.
There’s plenty of quality music among the hilarity with a variety of styles and genres. ‘Hugs’ features solid vocals from Pharrell in a song about hugging every woman in the world with no promise of rings. ‘3-Way’ is another entertaining Sandberg/Justin Timberlake team up, this time adding Lady Gaga to the mix. ‘The Compliments’ copies the concept of shout-outs seen in hip-hop songs today and pushes it to intentionally uncomfortable degrees. The album closes on a great note with the story presented with ‘Perfect Sunday’. These songs are some of my personal favorite but each listener will justifiably walk away with their own opinions on what made them laugh the most.
Songs like ‘Go Kindergarten’, ‘Diaper Money’ and ‘Spring Break Anthem’ have a little more message behind the madness as each takes a shot at the stereotypes often presented in music today. ‘Kindergarten’ unashamedly mocks the mindless club music that currently clogs airwaves. ‘Diaper Money’ and ‘Anthem’ both undermine the machismo of male culture in funny and imaginative ways.
Despite all the parodying and fun, The Lonely Island still takes the time to put out quality music with a genuine respect for hip-hop as an art form. ‘Spell It Out’, ‘I Don’t Give a Honk’ and ‘Meet the Crew’ are backed with instrumentals that sound fit for the old school greats like A Tribe Called Quest or The Beastie Boys. This along with the all-star cast of featured artists makes Wack Album a work to be respected (seriously, the catalogue of talent seen here is more than impressive).
There are only a few disappointments with The Wack Album. ‘I’m a Hustler’ and ‘I Run NY’ are two of the weaker songs found here. The lack of other interludes besides the hilarious ‘Dramatic Intro’ and ‘Where Brooklyn At?’ is a disappointment as they could have added a sense of continuity to the project.
At the end of the day, you absolutely get what you pay for from The Lonely Island. Fans of good comedy from artists who clearly love what they do will enjoy this album. And if you’re looking for music with a little more wit than seen in hip-hop today, The Wack Album is definitely for you.