Album review: The Lonely Island’s ‘Turtleneck & Chain’

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None of the funniest lines on this “Saturday Night Live”-spawned trio’s sophomore album can be quoted in a family newspaper. But even if Andy Samberg and his mates loved dirty words a little less, presenting their lyrics minus the accompanying music would still fail to demonstrate what sets the Lonely Island apart from the countless hip-hop parodists clogging YouTube.

As on “Incredibad,” the group’s hit 2009 debut, the jokes here work thanks to the seriousness with which they’re delivered: Songs like “I Just Had Sex” and “After Party” don’t sound like nerdy riffs on rap-track conventions — they sound like conventional rap tracks. (The former, with Akon’s pitch-perfect vocal hook, was co-produced by DJ Frank E, who’s also worked with Flo Rida and B.o.B.; other straight-world producers featured on “Turtleneck & Chain” include T-Minus and DJ Nu-Mark of L.A.’s Jurassic 5.)


The viral success of several earlier singles with unprintable titles has paid off for the Lonely Island; this album contains cameos by Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Snoop Dogg. But the sharpest comedy might come courtesy of Michael Bolton in “Jack Sparrow,” where his patented power-soul singing blurs the distinction between the silly and the sublime.

The Lonely Island
“Turtleneck & Chain”
(Universal Republic)
Three stars (Out of four stars)

— Mikael Wood