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July 2014
24
The Lonely Island – Turtleneck & Chain Record Label: Universal Republic Release Date: May 10 2011 As a music fan, one of the most puzzling things I’ve ever heard is that some music is better enjoyed if you “turn your brain off,” and/or “don’t take it seriously.” I never understood what that meant. Recently, I listened to the new Riff Raff LP, Neon Icon, with a friend of mine, just to see what the hype was about it. Personally, I thought the LP was utter trash, and there’s no way I’m going to dedicate a full review of it, since all I need to say is that it’s terrible (and that’s coming from a guy who’s not much of a hip-hop fan, I just know awful music when I hear it), but one thing that people were saying about the album is not to take what Riff Raff says seriously. I don’t quite get what people mean by that. The man isn’t a comedian, and even if he was trying to make a joke rather than an artistic statement, he’s not funny or clever about it. Even if I did “turn my brain off,” I’d still think it’s terrible. There’s a fine line between just letting the music sink in, and enjoying something for what it is, and thinking that something is still garbage. No matter how I looked at Neon Icon, whether it was seriously or not, it’s still a terrible record. Just because we shouldn’t take it seriously doesn’t mean it’s good. And I don’t quite get why people use that as an excuse or a defense as to why something is good.


Don’t get me wrong, I like some laidback music with lighthearted lyrics that are just about having a good time or things that aren’t so deep and/or heavy, but at the same time, I have standards when it comes to that stuff. Riff Raff is every cliché of rap music rolled into one and he’s not even clever or good, and he doesn’t seem to be a comedian. But there are some bands/artists that I know I shouldn’t’ take seriously, and the two biggest examples of that are Weird Al and The Lonely Island. Both acts are “comedy” acts and you can tell as soon as you listen to them. They’re meant to make you laugh, and not meant to change your life through a powerful lyric, song, or record. They’re just hear to make you laugh and enjoy yourself. I know I shouldn’t take these kinds of acts seriously, and that’s where the line is really drawn. If a band or artist is clearly telling me they’re a “joke,” and/or they’re a comedy act, meant to make you laugh, that’s one thing. There’s nothing wrong with taking music seriously, because for some people, music means a great deal to them, so I want albums that are going to influence me and make my life better. I want records that hit me in a powerful and emotional way, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to just enjoy music for what it is, too, and not care so much about the lyrics, but enjoy the instrumentation, tone, or beats of a song. For this review, I’ll focus on The Lonely Island. Comprised of comedians Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, you may have seen their work on Saturday Night Live from 2005 – 2011, in the form of “digital shorts.” The group got their start with the song, “Lazy Sunday,” with former cast members Chris Parnell and Samberg, rapping about seeing the first Chronicles of Narnia film (which is quite a good film, if I do say so myself), and it hit the internet like wildfire. But after that, the trio got popular for more tracks like “I’m On a Boat,” “Jizz In My Pants,” and “Like a Boss,” all were featured on the band’s 2009 debut, “Incredibad.” I listened to some of that album, mainly the most popular tracks, and I liked what I heard. The band has released two albums since then, 2011’s Turtleneck & Chain and 2013’s The Wack Album. The former of those two albums is the one I’ll be focusing on this time around, because I traded records with a friend of mine. I gave him a record I didn’t really want anymore in exchange for this LP, and I had always wanted to hear a Lonely Island LP in full, so after a few listens, how did it go? Since I know I’m not supposed to take this LP seriously, it’s not a bad album, by no means. I got quite a few chuckles from the LP, but looking at it as a record itself, including the comedic aspect, it’s okay. I can’t say I love it, but I also can’t say I hate it. I knew a handful of tracks going into the album, including my favorite track, “Mother Lover,” featuring Justin Timberlake, “Threw It On the Ground,” and “Jack Sparrow,” featuring Michael Bolton, which is another one of my favorite tracks. I liked these songs just fine, so I had a feeling I’d enjoy the rest of it, at least somewhat. I wasn’t surprised with what I found, either. The Lonely Island crew has made me laugh a nice amount, but I’ve never found their brand of humor that hilarious or that interesting, aside from a few songs that really worked, including “Lazy Sunday,” which took a simple, mundane activity and turning it into a gangster-rap song. It seems like the band never quite lived up to the hype of their first LP.  I don’t want to say that this album just isn’t funny, because there are a lot of funny moments on here, but at the same time, for each funny moment that made me laugh, there’s a moment that I found insanely stupid and pointless. The three tracks that I loved most were “Motherlover,” “Jack Sparrow,” and the title track. “Motherlover” is a track that picks up right the song “D**k in a Box,” from Incredibad, leaves off. The song features JT and Andy Samberg as two characters that are basically trying to be “ladies men,” and this time, they remembered it’s Mother Day, but both of their mothers are single, due to various things, such as divorce and death. So they basically hatch a plan to have sex with each other’s mother, and it’s actually really funny, despite the lewd subject matter. The way that they paint the picture of seducing each other’s mom is funny to me, and it works nicely. The music itself works quite well, too; having JT on a track basically is going to make it solid. “Jack Sparrow” is a bit different, both in terms of subject matter, the joke, and the music itself. This track is a more hip-hop song, and Bolton is on this track because the band wanted him to write a hook, so he explains he has a really good hook, and the band begin rapping about the club, and women, but then Bolton’s hook is about the Pirates of the Caribbean films, along with the character Jack Sparrow, and the band is just as confused as the listener. It’s hilarious, because Bolton doesn’t get that he’s not supposed to be singing about movies. The song does have a nice hip-hop beat, and I won’t lie, the three band members do have a solid rap flow. On the title track, which features Snoop Dogg, of all rappers, it’s basically a joke that involves the guys thinking they’re ladies men, while wearing turtlenecks and thin chains, while drinking a light beer. It’s a song that makes me laugh as well. It’s got a nice beat, and Snoop’s verse is pretty solid. For every song that is somewhat funny, though, there are ones that don’t work, or I get the joke, and they’re just not funny. For instance, album opener, “We’re Back” is a rather dumb song about how the band has been doing outrageous since their last LP, and it’s just not interesting. Every so often, they try to have this “shock humor” by being really gross or lewd, and it’s just stupid. Songs like “Rocky,” “Trouble On Dookie Island,” and “No Homo” try to do that, and these songs just don’t work. The music itself isn’t even that bad, but the focus is on the lyrics and punchlines, and most of the tracks on this record just don’t deliver. And ultimately, that’s how I feel about it. The music itself is decent, and there are some standout songs, but overall, this album is okay. I can’t say I love it, and I don’t hate it. It’s a mixed bag, and even though I wasn’t supposed to take it seriously, that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or enjoy it. I know it’s comedy, but some of this album just didn’t really work for it. But if you like the Lonely Island, this is worth a listen, I suppose. I will say, though, that I was surprised at how well their sound and their brand of humor does hold up for a whole record. Its length is around 39 minutes, and it helps that the songs are short, so if you don’t like a show, it’s really brief. If you do like this band, or want to hear a full album from them, this isn’t a bad starting point. I can’t say I want to hear their other albums, but I know what I’m getting into if I do want to. Overall rating: 7/10-Bradley

The Lonely Island – Turtleneck & Chain
Record Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: May 10 2011

As a music fan, one of the most puzzling things I’ve ever heard is that some music is better enjoyed if you “turn your brain off,” and/or “don’t take it seriously.” I never understood what that meant. Recently, I listened to the new Riff Raff LP, Neon Icon, with a friend of mine, just to see what the hype was about it. Personally, I thought the LP was utter trash, and there’s no way I’m going to dedicate a full review of it, since all I need to say is that it’s terrible (and that’s coming from a guy who’s not much of a hip-hop fan, I just know awful music when I hear it), but one thing that people were saying about the album is not to take what Riff Raff says seriously. I don’t quite get what people mean by that. The man isn’t a comedian, and even if he was trying to make a joke rather than an artistic statement, he’s not funny or clever about it. Even if I did “turn my brain off,” I’d still think it’s terrible. There’s a fine line between just letting the music sink in, and enjoying something for what it is, and thinking that something is still garbage. No matter how I looked at Neon Icon, whether it was seriously or not, it’s still a terrible record. Just because we shouldn’t take it seriously doesn’t mean it’s good. And I don’t quite get why people use that as an excuse or a defense as to why something is good.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some laidback music with lighthearted lyrics that are just about having a good time or things that aren’t so deep and/or heavy, but at the same time, I have standards when it comes to that stuff. Riff Raff is every cliché of rap music rolled into one and he’s not even clever or good, and he doesn’t seem to be a comedian. But there are some bands/artists that I know I shouldn’t’ take seriously, and the two biggest examples of that are Weird Al and The Lonely Island. Both acts are “comedy” acts and you can tell as soon as you listen to them. They’re meant to make you laugh, and not meant to change your life through a powerful lyric, song, or record. They’re just hear to make you laugh and enjoy yourself. I know I shouldn’t take these kinds of acts seriously, and that’s where the line is really drawn. If a band or artist is clearly telling me they’re a “joke,” and/or they’re a comedy act, meant to make you laugh, that’s one thing. There’s nothing wrong with taking music seriously, because for some people, music means a great deal to them, so I want albums that are going to influence me and make my life better. I want records that hit me in a powerful and emotional way, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to just enjoy music for what it is, too, and not care so much about the lyrics, but enjoy the instrumentation, tone, or beats of a song.

For this review, I’ll focus on The Lonely Island. Comprised of comedians Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, you may have seen their work on Saturday Night Live from 2005 – 2011, in the form of “digital shorts.” The group got their start with the song, “Lazy Sunday,” with former cast members Chris Parnell and Samberg, rapping about seeing the first Chronicles of Narnia film (which is quite a good film, if I do say so myself), and it hit the internet like wildfire. But after that, the trio got popular for more tracks like “I’m On a Boat,” “Jizz In My Pants,” and “Like a Boss,” all were featured on the band’s 2009 debut, “Incredibad.” I listened to some of that album, mainly the most popular tracks, and I liked what I heard. The band has released two albums since then, 2011’s Turtleneck & Chain and 2013’s The Wack Album. The former of those two albums is the one I’ll be focusing on this time around, because I traded records with a friend of mine. I gave him a record I didn’t really want anymore in exchange for this LP, and I had always wanted to hear a Lonely Island LP in full, so after a few listens, how did it go?

Since I know I’m not supposed to take this LP seriously, it’s not a bad album, by no means. I got quite a few chuckles from the LP, but looking at it as a record itself, including the comedic aspect, it’s okay. I can’t say I love it, but I also can’t say I hate it. I knew a handful of tracks going into the album, including my favorite track, “Mother Lover,” featuring Justin Timberlake, “Threw It On the Ground,” and “Jack Sparrow,” featuring Michael Bolton, which is another one of my favorite tracks. I liked these songs just fine, so I had a feeling I’d enjoy the rest of it, at least somewhat. I wasn’t surprised with what I found, either. The Lonely Island crew has made me laugh a nice amount, but I’ve never found their brand of humor that hilarious or that interesting, aside from a few songs that really worked, including “Lazy Sunday,” which took a simple, mundane activity and turning it into a gangster-rap song. It seems like the band never quite lived up to the hype of their first LP.

I don’t want to say that this album just isn’t funny, because there are a lot of funny moments on here, but at the same time, for each funny moment that made me laugh, there’s a moment that I found insanely stupid and pointless. The three tracks that I loved most were “Motherlover,” “Jack Sparrow,” and the title track. “Motherlover” is a track that picks up right the song “D**k in a Box,” from Incredibad, leaves off. The song features JT and Andy Samberg as two characters that are basically trying to be “ladies men,” and this time, they remembered it’s Mother Day, but both of their mothers are single, due to various things, such as divorce and death. So they basically hatch a plan to have sex with each other’s mother, and it’s actually really funny, despite the lewd subject matter. The way that they paint the picture of seducing each other’s mom is funny to me, and it works nicely. The music itself works quite well, too; having JT on a track basically is going to make it solid. “Jack Sparrow” is a bit different, both in terms of subject matter, the joke, and the music itself. This track is a more hip-hop song, and Bolton is on this track because the band wanted him to write a hook, so he explains he has a really good hook, and the band begin rapping about the club, and women, but then Bolton’s hook is about the Pirates of the Caribbean films, along with the character Jack Sparrow, and the band is just as confused as the listener. It’s hilarious, because Bolton doesn’t get that he’s not supposed to be singing about movies. The song does have a nice hip-hop beat, and I won’t lie, the three band members do have a solid rap flow. On the title track, which features Snoop Dogg, of all rappers, it’s basically a joke that involves the guys thinking they’re ladies men, while wearing turtlenecks and thin chains, while drinking a light beer. It’s a song that makes me laugh as well. It’s got a nice beat, and Snoop’s verse is pretty solid.

For every song that is somewhat funny, though, there are ones that don’t work, or I get the joke, and they’re just not funny. For instance, album opener, “We’re Back” is a rather dumb song about how the band has been doing outrageous since their last LP, and it’s just not interesting. Every so often, they try to have this “shock humor” by being really gross or lewd, and it’s just stupid. Songs like “Rocky,” “Trouble On Dookie Island,” and “No Homo” try to do that, and these songs just don’t work. The music itself isn’t even that bad, but the focus is on the lyrics and punchlines, and most of the tracks on this record just don’t deliver. And ultimately, that’s how I feel about it. The music itself is decent, and there are some standout songs, but overall, this album is okay. I can’t say I love it, and I don’t hate it. It’s a mixed bag, and even though I wasn’t supposed to take it seriously, that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or enjoy it. I know it’s comedy, but some of this album just didn’t really work for it. But if you like the Lonely Island, this is worth a listen, I suppose. I will say, though, that I was surprised at how well their sound and their brand of humor does hold up for a whole record. Its length is around 39 minutes, and it helps that the songs are short, so if you don’t like a show, it’s really brief. If you do like this band, or want to hear a full album from them, this isn’t a bad starting point. I can’t say I want to hear their other albums, but I know what I’m getting into if I do want to.

Overall rating: 7/10

-Bradley

July 2014
24
Derek Discanio of State Champs

Derek Discanio of State Champs

July 2014
24
Kyle Fassel of Real Friends

Kyle Fassel of Real Friends

July 2014
24

The Maine

July 2014
24
Alex Jongbloed of Just Another Scene

Alex Jongbloed of Just Another Scene

July 2014
24

Alive Like Me

July 2014
24
Steven Kopacz of Smooth Sailing Co.

Steven Kopacz of Smooth Sailing Co.

July 2014
24
Dan OConnor of Four Year Strong

Dan OConnor of Four Year Strong

July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): Hundredth (hundredth)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): Handguns (handgunsband)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

#gallery   #kayla   #kayla surico   #Handguns   #band   #live   #show   #concert   #Orlando   #FL   #Florida   #Backbooth   #concert photography   #music photography   
July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): Being As An Ocean (beingasanocean)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): Forever Came Calling (forevercamecalling)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): My Iron Lung ft. Trey The Ruler (myironlungband)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

July 2014
24

Photo Gallery by Kayla Surico (kayla-surico)

Artist(s)/Band(s): Capsize (capsizehardcore)

Location: Backbooth - Orlando, FL

Date: July 21, 2014

You can view the entire set from this show here.

July 2014
24
Front Porch Step at Warped Tour
Location: Merriweather Post Pavillion || Columbia, MD
Date: July 22, 2014
Photos by: Eden Kittiver
Taken with 35mm film

Front Porch Step at Warped Tour

Location: Merriweather Post Pavillion || Columbia, MD

Date: July 22, 2014

Photos by: Eden Kittiver

Taken with 35mm film