The Lonely Island
Universal Republic

2.5 out of 5 stars

Since The Lonely Island’s main audience is college students, most readers of the Michigan Daily are probably already intimately familiar with Andy Samberg’s musical comedy act, be it through “Lazy Sunday,” “Dick in a Box” or the more recent “Jizz in My Pants.” The group members have become internet superstars over the last three years, with “Jizz in My Pants” alone garnering over 30 million views on YouTube. The song is the first single for the group’s long-awaited debut LP Incredibad.

The album is more or less a greatest-hits compilation padded with a few new songs and skits — a bit disappointing for fans who have likely heard the more famous songs dozens of times before.

Here’s a quick recap of the Island’s past for readers who may be just now emerging from beneath their respective rocks. “Lazy Sunday” relates the story of a carefree Sunday afternoon spent munching cupcakes and watching “The Chronicles of Narnia,” delivered with the pomp and vitriol of hardcore rap. Revealing the group’s softer side, “Dick in a Box” is a smarmy R&B number about the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone: a package within a package, so to speak. Finally, “Jizz in my Pants” joins a banging Euro-club beat to lyrics about, well, arriving unfashionably early.

However, the band’s latest single is a full-blown musical parody piece, rather than a crude joke with a musical style tacked on. “I’m on a Boat,” featuring T-Pain (now likely the most “featured” man on Earth), lampoons hip hop’s tendency to flaunt material wealth for its own sake. The track comes complete with majestic synth strings and T-Pain’s signature auto-tuned vocals, providing a grandiose backdrop for silly lyrics like, “But this ain’t SeaWorld, this is real as it gets / I’m on a boat, motherfucker, don’t you ever forget.”

The rest of Incredibad is made up of either older, less popular material or new odds and ends recorded just for the album. Predictably, these other songs don’t hold up to the quality of the singles. Some tracks rely on overly simplistic jokes, and the subsequent riffing grows tiresome. “Punch You In The Jeans” stretches out the weak punch-line of its own title for nearly three minutes. And “Natalie’s Rap” starts from a premise that’s too easy — Natalie Portman is secretly a sex-addicted, drug-abusing gangster — and uncomfortably pushes its comic potential to the breaking point (hearing Natalie Portman yelling, “I’ll sit right down on your face and take a shit” is cringe-worthy in any context).

But there are some surprising winners as well, like “Ras Trent,” about a WASP undergraduate who converts to Rastafarianism and sings a bastardized reggae tune about the woes of living “in the shanty dorms.” But even “Ras Trent” was originally a skit performed by the group on Saturday Night Live. More new material would have been a boon to the disc. As it stands, Incredibad is only essential for fanatics and the uninitiated.

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