New Conchords compilation struggles to maintain flight

New Conchords compilation struggles to maintain flight

Brandon Specktor

Parody rock is a dangerous game. While a good way to get attention and call out the superficiality of modern genres, a song that’s “”funny”” seldom doubles as a song that’s “”good.”” Such is the plight of I Told You I Was Freaky, the newest studio release from New Zealand’s snarky satirists Flight of the Conchords, a collection with a clever art of impersonation, but little lasting value beyond the first round of chuckles.

Freaky is composed of 13 parodic tracks, 10 of which have been featured on the Conchords’ popular HBO show of the same name, prior to the album release. That in itself should be an indicator of whether or not this album is for you: longtime fans of the Conchords will probably be disappointed by the lack of original material.

That’s not to say there’s nothing worth liking about the album. The advent of Autotune has exploded since the Conchords’ previous release, giving them a wealth of new fodder for their satiric singles. The disenchanted club song “”Too Many Dicks (On The Dancefloor),”” for example, maintains the steady electronic beats, overzealous Autotuning and lyric vulgarity of modern pop, but replaces the idyllic “”get crunk and get laid”” narratives with comic cynicism: “”Too may dudes/with too many dicks/too close to my shit/too hard to meet chicks.”” If you find that sort of thing funny, then this album is surely worth a listen, but bear in mind that the jokes are not going to get any funnier after you hear them once, and you should plan accordingly when staring ponderously at the album cover at the iTunes Store.

Some other album highlights are the introductory track “”Hurt Feelings,”” which has been available via iTunes since it debuted on the telly in February. Bret and Jemaine assume their rapper alter-egos while categorizing all the things that shake the diamond-studded hearts of hip-hoppers, including being recommended a woman’s wetsuit by an insensitive store clerk.

One of the only tracks that could potentially stand alone as a song of some substance beyond blatant comedy is “”Rambling Through the Avenues of Time,”” which channels dreamy, longing lyrics akin to troubadours like Billy Joel and Bob Dylan. As Bret recalls a lost love with wooing lyrics, Jemaine provides snide asides that ground the song in the comedic tone of the album at large:  “”She looked like a Parisian river (what, dirty?)/ She looked like a chocolate eclair (that’s rare)/ Her eyes were reflections of eyes (oh, nice)/  And the rainbows danced in her hair (aw yeah).””

Witty lyrics and snappy impersonations notwithstanding, I Told You I Was Freaky is a transient collection that doesn’t bring much to the table that hasn’t already been available to determined fans for half a year. The abrupt album, at just over 33 minutes, is hardly filling enough to warrant a purchase for all but the most diehard Conchords groupies, though the biting satire and outlandish lyrics are doubtless worth a few hearty laughs. If you’re intrigued, turn to the series first. There you can get all of the music, plus a plethora of visual puns for a well-rounded parody parfait.