As I seem to be on a bit of a Sub Pop jag at the moment here’s another one, possibly my favourite one too, Flight of the Conchords. As is the way with most cool things I came to them late, I watched 5 minutes of an episode once where there weren’t any songs and just decided it was awful. Then a cool friend at work insisted I get off my high horse and watch it properly. I did and did and fell in love about two minutes into the first episode when they played ‘The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)’.
As I mention to you ad nauseam* I like humor in my music, in fact all my favourite bands have this in common AC/DC, Beastie Boys, Dead Kennedys, The Orb, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band, Joy Division, but comedy records are a trickier proposition. I love comedians like Bill Bailey who work with music, but Flight of the Conchords are musicians who work with comedy and that, I think, is why this LP just works so damn well for me. Flight of the Conchords is so funny because they are such brilliantly good musicians first and foremost. The real beauty of it all is that it is just performed in such a deadpan way and again when you prop up all that seriousness against all that ability, you get comedy gold – or platinum in this case.
Mrs 1537 has asked me to make it very clear (possibly on the very forlorn hope that he may one day read this) that Jemaine Clement is the sexiest man on earth. Now I’m not totally qualified to comment on this, but he clearly isn’t. You want proof? he looks nothing like me. QED: Point very well proven, if I say so myself.
You know the form, what we get are wonderful spirited pastiches of various artists and genres and Flight of the Conchords kicks off with two solid favourites, the light breathy Linguaphone French pop of ‘Foux du Fafa’, which gains massive 1537 bonus points for using my favourite French word pampelmousse. ‘Inner City Pressure’ is a spot-on, brilliant Pet Shop Boys parody with my favourite FOTC lyrics, because as well as performing the estimable feat of rhyming ‘muesli’ with ‘abuse me’, we get,
You know you’re not in high finance
Considering second-hand underpants
Extra credit goes for the exaggerated Neil Tennant-esque pronunciation and just the simple fact it’s a very good tune. The same goes for the brilliant ‘Robots’ (The humans are dead / We used poisonous gases / And we poisoned their asses), it more than justifies itself as music first and comedy second. My current favourite is ‘A Kiss is Not a Contract’ which I listened to 6 times straight this morning on a run, okay so it’s only just shy of 2 minutes long, I got obsessed with it and its ‘More Than Words’ / ‘Patience’ skit. Can you think of any better instance of whistling in music?* the temptation is to just reproduce ALL the lyrics and vicariously make my blog 400 times funnier in an instant, but I won’t.
Flight of the Conchords really hit pay dirt when they parody soul, funk and hip hop, I think part of it just the contrast between two hapless diffident dudes from New Zealand and the ultra-serious, ultra-macho stance required by the music, which is pretty ridiculous anyway even before you start layering their deadpan delivery over it. ‘Boom’, the perfect What’s Goin’ On -isms of ‘Think About It’, the Barry Whitetastic ‘Business Time’ (easily the best depiction of marital sex EVER) and the Prince-esque ‘The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)’, just rule and that’s before we even get anywhere near the sheer unalloyed joy that is ‘Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros’,
Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this.
To my mind this is just a perfectly judged comic LP, that unlike all those old Richard Pryor live LP’s that used to be knocking around bears repeated listening, Flight of the Conchords is a regular feature of long car journeys in the 1537 household. They only miss the mark with their Bowie parody, umm, ‘Bowie’, although minor 1537 bonus points are awarded for the constant referencing of Bowie’s nipple antennae. I would also say for the record that Flight of the Conchords are an incredibly good night out live, Mrs 1537 would second this and if you ever get half a chance, go see them. Hell, I admit it, I want to be them.
And all this from the label that bought you such hilarious comic acts like Cat Butt, Dwarves, Blood Circus and Fluid.
*Roger Whittaker excepted, obviously. Respect to the R Dog.
*lord alone knows why you voluntarily inflict this nonsense on yourselves. It’s not compulsory you know, get outside and do something wholesome!