Album Preview: The Lonely Island - 'Turtleneck & Chain'
Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer are fond of expletives. The trio, who make up the “Saturday Night Live” comedy troupe The Lonely Island, didn’t have grannies and tweens in mind when crafting their sophomore album, Turtleneck & Chain, the follow-up to 2009s Incredibad, considering more than half of the songs showcased couldn’t be played 10 feet from a church. While their potty mouths may be the one thing that holds them back from getting booked for Sweet 16 performances, the roster of A-List talent—Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, and Akon—they collaborated with is sure to catapult the effort to the top of the charts when it debuts.
The Lonely Island may not consider themselves a rap group, but they are indeed spitting rhymes—albeit offensive—on each of the album’s 19 tracks. Assists from Nicki Minaj and Snoop Dogg add to the hip-hop cred, but the trifecta is just looking to increase the comedic punch once listeners get a chance to hear what they’ve concocted since “SNL Digital Shorts” like “The Creep” and “Shy Ronnie 2.” With song titles including “Trouble on Dookie Island” and “No Homo,” this is one opus meant to challenge the status quo.
staging-rapup.kinsta.cloud previews Turtleneck & Chain ahead of the album’s May 10 release.
1. “We’re Back!”
The album opener is like a slap in the face, alerting the senses to pay attention to the trio that brought “Dick in a Box” and “Jizz in My Pants” to the forefront. A hard hip-hop beat supports eyebrow-raising lyrics like “The world needs us” and “I suffer from stinky dick,” all while reminding listeners that they are Grammy-nominated stars.
Some snazzy synths and muted horns trick a listener into thinking this ode to dear old mom would be super sweet and profanity-free. Think again. While Andy, Jorma, and Akiva are recording the track in their room, mom interrupts by asking how their “club” is going. As they correct her in angry voices, yelling out, “It’s a rap group,” they return to kicking rhymes about “the most important woman in our lives.”
3. “I Just Had Sex” featuring Akon
Like most pop songs featuring Akon, the first sound of his crooning immediately entices. The Konvict star sings the chorus, “I just had sex/ And it felt so good, felt so good/ A woman let me put my penis inside her/ I just had sex/ And I’ll never go back, never go back/ To the not-having-sex ways of the past,” while Andy and Jorma detail their not-so-sexy sexual escapades.
4. “Jack Sparrow” featuring Michael Bolton
The guys tapped one of the kings of soft rock, Michael Bolton, for this track about anything but pirate Jack Sparrow. Bolton got caught up watching a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon and wrote a “big, sexy hook” to compliment The Lonely Island’s song, only his words don’t match up to what the comedic trio are singing about. They rhyme about going to the club with lyrics like, “I’m the nice guy, I’ll take you home and fuck you twice guy,” with Bolton paying tribute to pirates, speaking in a Spanish accent as he croons one of Carlito Brigante’s (Carlito’s Way) famous lines, “OK, I’m reloaded.”
5. “Attracted to Us” featuring Beck
Sounding like a throwback to songs featured on ’80s movies soundtracks, replete with handclaps that make up good bubblegum pop, the trio boasts about the kinds of ladies that are yearning for their affection. They may be “shy,” but they’re adamant in their claim that white girls, black girls, Asians, and Latinas want a piece of their action.
In the spirit of the Beastie Boys, this song about throwing ‘bows opens up with the lyrics, “Here’s a little story I think you’ll like/ It’s not about Shaq or Iron Mike/ Buckle your seatbelts it’s about to get choppy/ This is the story of the day I fought Rocky.” Andy raps about getting “22 sucker punch rights” and having his shin shattered. So who wins the bout? Over a beat littered with guitar twangs and DJ scratches, he admits he was pronounced dead.
7. “My Mic” – Interlude
This space filler has the Lonely Island checking the mic—seven times to be exact—with the phrase, “My mic sounds nice, check one…” in a handful of different voices a prank caller might use.
8. “Turtleneck & Chain” featuring Snoop Dogg
“Turtleneck and chain, turtleneck and chain, turtleneck and chain, sippin’ on a light beer,” the trio raps on the hook to the album’s title track, a beat dipped in a bit of chopped-and-screwed flavor. The guys pay homage to the attire made popular during their junior high school days (“Turtleneck thicker than Delta Burke swimming in a Guinness”) and call on Snoop to add his West Coast touch (“The bigger the turtleneck, the more gangsta it is”).
9. “Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde” featuring Rihanna
Remember the first “SNL Digital Short” Rihanna appeared in alongside Andy Samberg’s timid character Shy Ronnie, singing in front of a classroom of kids? Well, in this follow-up, which appeared on the sketch comedy show last October, the Bajan singer robs a bank with Ronnie’s help. Only he urinates on himself and breaks out into a vicious rap while Rihanna sings her way through the stick-up.
10. “Trouble on Dookie Island”
A minimalistic beat turns menacingly hip-hop heavy as The Lonely Island rhymes about a scenario that takes a turn for the worst. With a “heater on deck,” the trio steals money before realizing “all of a sudden, boom/ there were shots from the back room.” As they seemingly scramble to get away, an accident happens. What kind? In their words: “Dookies popping out of my pants.”
11. “Falcor vs. Atreyu” – Classy Skit #1
Following in the footsteps of some great hip-hop albums, The Lonely Island opts to give fans a break from the music and listen to a skit, a “classy” one to be exact. However, it’s anything but. Starring the characters from the classic ’80s flick The Neverending Story, Falcor and Atreyu prepare for battle, but instead they get awkwardly physical, sexual sound effects included.
12. “Motherlover” featuring Justin Timberlake
After “Dick in a Box,” there was “Motherlover”—an equally hilarious tune about Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg’s weird plans for Mother’s Day. The sweeping pop track finds J.T. (“I got my digital camera, I’m gonna make your mom do a million poses”) and Samberg (“Can’t wait to pork your mom”) trying to bed each other’s mothers. In the spirit of the “gift” they plan to give them, they also rename the day dedicated to moms everywhere as All Under the Covers Day.
13. “The Creep” featuring Nicki Minaj & John Waters
Nicki Minaj joins forces with the boys to rap about doing “The Creep”—a sketchy way of walking and lurking—over an appropriately eerie beat. Andy flexes his rhyming skills: “I was six years old when I started creeping/ My parents took it to their room and I started peeping/ Can you imagine their surprise when they lifted their heads/ And saw my little ass creeping at the foot of the bed,” while the Young Money MC discloses her own creepy ways rapping, “When I was a girl, I creeped in the boys’ locker room/ Hide deep inside, it was my little creep stalker room/ As they disrobed I was oogling and oggling/ Little did they know that for me they was modeling.”
14. “Watch Me Do Me” – Classy Skit #2
In another “classy skit,” the funnymen give a new meaning to “do me.” While the phrase is often times used as a self-motivator, in this case it’s another inappropriate act put on display. One of the guys demonstrates how he masterbates, and yes, more sound effects for the eager—or appalled—listener to hear.
15. “Threw It on the Ground”
Andy Samberg throws things on the ground. Everything. On this track, the “SNL” actor takes it easy, slowing down his sing-song rap style to explain the story of how he won’t be a part of the “system,” and violently chucks free samples that energy drink reps and hot dog vendors offer him. Then, he gets tasered in an unlikely place. Moral of the story, according to Samberg: You can’t trust the system.
If this song had an accompanying video, it would be the flashy, million dollar-budget kind. In what sounds like their take on Japanese pop music, the guys sing of traveling to Japan for kicks, just so they can write a track about it and their record label, Universal Republic, has to pay for it. They get massages, drink sake, and visit Tokyo Disneyland, all “’cause we’re three cool white guys in Japan.”
17. “After Party” featuring Santigold
The trio calls on Santigold’s refreshing vocals for this uptempo joint, which depicts the ultimate after party. Yet, their rhymes don’t have lyrics of bottle popping or throngs of scantily-clad women running about. Instead, their after party is for self-gratification. But, in the end, they have an epiphany, realizing, “You can’t spend your whole life jerking off.”
18. “No Homo”
For a phrase used so excessively in the hip-hop community, one would think Andy, Jorma, and Akiva would’ve tapped the likes of Cam’ron to lay down a verse here. But the funnymen shine by themselves on the track, which sounds like something similar to a Just Blaze banger. “I kinda like your natural scent,” “I admit I’m kinda a fashionista,” and “I’ve been thinking of posing nude, I’ve been thinking of fucking a dude” are just some of the “no homo”-inducing lines that make up the lyrics.
19. “No Homo” – Outro
Not much changes from the original “No Homo,” although an old soul sample sounds off on the closing track, supporting the same crass lyrics heard earlier.