|Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords|
|Music Download Reviews Soundtrack-Theater|
|Written by K L Poore|
|Sunday, 01 June 2008|
Full disclosure dictates I tell you that Flight of the Conchords is one of the few television shows I look forward to each week. It’s unnecessary for me to set my DVR, but I do anyway because I know I’ll watch each episode more than once. That said, I’ve decided to approach this release without laughing about the visuals that accompanied these songs on the show. It doesn’t matter anyway because the songs are still hilarious.
From the opener “Foux Du Fafa,” a dead-on send up of the French film bossa nova fad of the ‘60s, to the grand climax “Bowie,” Flight of the Conchords is ultimately successful because it is subtle, witty, inventive and irreverent. And because the Chords, "formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo," take such great care with the details that at times the line between what passes for “serious” music and their deadpan comedy becomes so blurred I wouldn’t be surprised if some people don’t realize they’re being put on. That lifts Flight of the Conchords to a completely different level because unlike Ray, Weird Al and Toby, they’re not trying to bludgeon you into submission with yuks and kneeslappers. Instead FotC invite you into their apartment with winks and sly music before slipping the laughs into your drink when you’re not looking.
I recognize a person’s sense of humor is even more personal than their taste in music so I figure I’ll tell you about some of the things that make Flight of the Conchords work for me.
“Inner City Pressure” is one of those mid-‘80s super-meaningful syntho-songs complete with a vocorder, bad strings and low-fi drum machine. It’s as if the music was filed away for 20 years just waiting for someone to sing the line “When you’re unemployed there’s no vacations” over it. Anyone who went clubbing or turned on the radio during that decade may feel as if they’ve heard it before.
“Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros” is acoustic guitar-driven rap that is, believe it or not, funnier than its title, and when the former raps, “They call me the Hiphopopotamus / my lyrics are bottomless,” only to immediately dry up, you’re just at the beginning of a flow of rhymes as hilarious as they are catchy.
Listen closely and you’ll be amazed by how accurately FotC capture and reproduce the music styles of the past 30 years while making you laugh out loud: “All the Ladies in the World,” an Ohio Players-style slow jam which promotes “Sweet Sixteens, not M16s;” “Mutha’uckas,” a hardcore rap which is polite enough to censor itself; the psychedelic “Prince of Parties” with the enchanting couplet, “You’re a picture of the Devil’s Daughter / I’m a pitcher of holy water”; and the genius of “Boom,” a gut-wrenching Rastaman toast which proclaims, “She’s so hot she’s making me sexist… bitch.”
And as great and enticing as those songs are, the Conchords, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, save their best for last. “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)” sounds like it could be off of Prince’s debut and declares that the most beautiful girl in the room is so stunning she could be “a part-time model” who spends part of the time modeling and part of the time “next to me.” It is soft, sexy and clueless and I think it’s a perfect vehicle for you to invite your baby over, drop it on your stereo, turn down the lights, crack a bottle of “two buck chuck” and get busy. Yeah baby.
“Business Time” is usually named by hardcore FotC fans as their favorite and is a detailed story of sex after a few years of “coupling.” All I have to do is share the line “When it’s with me girl you only need two minutes / ‘cause I’m so… tense” and you know where it’s at. It’s pure genius that takes you from “leaving the socks on” to “business time is over, baby.” With a funky beat and overly sexy vocal rap, you can’t help but laugh out loud.
But my favorite song (from both this release and the TV show) is “Bowie.”
It’s a tune that effectively captures all of the Diamond Dog’s vocal, musical and lyrical affectations and crams them into a four minute duel between the Bowie from the Ziggy era and the Thin White Duke, and includes pointy nipple antennae, cha-changes of funky spacesuits and a “Let’s Dance” finale that is too perfect for me to capture in a few sentences. The only Bowie parody that approaches this in its perfection is the one he did of himself on HBO’s other great show, Extras. I really hope that Flight of the Conchords drags U2 into their silly world this season, even if Bono doesn’t have a sense of humor. That’s something I’d pay to see twice.
I doubt that I’ve been able to make these little bits sound as funny as they actually are but trust me, if you haven’t already, take a chance on a Flight of the Conchords… the music and the show. Admittedly it’s very dry but I think it’s hysterical and filled with music you can actually listen to more than once. Something you can’t do with a Toby Keith record.
I downloaded Flight of the Conchords from iTunes and it’s an iTunes+ release, an AAC@ 256kbps/44.1 kHz. Very high quality, and sounds great on my home theater system. After a few listens I decided to put on my scarf, sunglasses and rimless beanie and cruise the streets of Long Beach listening to “Think About It” at full volume. I got plenty of looks from the jealous passersby; if I think about it a bit more I’ll be able to convince myself they were jealous of my fine fine fine taste in music and my sweet sweet sweet ride. A cappella jams indeed!
The low end on Flight of the Conchords throbs, the high end sparkles and the vocal mix is immediate and inviting. For some reason unknown to me, every time I listen to it I get the urge to put on Honey, my favorite LP by the Ohio Players. Any Sugarfoot fans out there? I say uh huh, yeah.