Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-05-24


The Lonely Island: Turtleneck & Chain (Universal Republic, 2011) Here's a bonus DVD you'll want to waste a little time with. Funny thing is, though, some of these songs are funnier without the videos that are their reason for being. The Mr. Softee boasts of "We're Back!" need no visualization in a musical mode that's pumped phallocentric nonsense since Eazy-E was a woman beater, and "I Just Had Sex" seems less pathetic than it deserves when you glom the hotties who are putting bags over our antiheroes' heads. Then again, the over-the-top "Motherlover" is cut down to size when you glom its confident middle-aged sex objects, whereas Michael Bolton's "Jack Sparrow" feature falls flat without the movie takeoffs you can only find online. Parody is hard to sustain. That this follow-up provides so many laughs without flailing around in can-you-top-this? is a tribute to the comedians' musicality and their musician friends' sense of comedy. A-

Brad Paisley: This Is Country Music (Arista Nashville, 2011) Having touted multiculturalism and Saturday Night Live to open his 2009 album, Paisley cuts his sails, making nice to Nashville on a lead/title/theme track that touts salvation and Lee Greenwood (among other things), and then for an encore singing the praises of Alabama the group and Tennessee the state. But Paisley has always been Nashville--I'm more put off by the ones about drowning your sorrows in Mexico, a locale Nashville should leave to the Cancun crowd, and that hottie who's working on a tan, only unfortunately I can't stop humming it. Horny for his wife but not horny enough, loving her like she's leaving because he thinks that might help, his songcraft is undiminished, and he remains the smartest and nicest guy in his world. After those two openers comes one that defines hell as "payments you can't make on a house that you can't sell" (among other things). Patterson Hood has never said it better. A-

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