Tenacious D was all right if you understood the culture of metal. Grand is good, and Tenacious D made a joke of its own grandess.
Non-metal fans would probably laugh along for a while, but there wouldn’t be enough to resonante for very long.
Which probably means metal fans might have the same reaction to Liam Lynch’s “tributes” to indie rock.
To wit, Lynch’s “Fake Björk Song” rocked my world way more than 10D’s “Tribute (The Best Song in the World)”. You may not feel the same.
Lynch doesn’t take a potshot at the Icelandic princess — if anything, he’s absolutely sincere in replicating the inherent aspects of her music, from the twittering beats, right down to the drawn out growl.
“I live in a little city,” Lynch sings, exaggerting “leeeve”, “leeetle” and “citaaay”. When he delivers the line, “You give up too easily,” he hits on phrasing used in every Björk song imaginable.
Lynch’s full length album, Fake Songs, has the same, programless feel of the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs. Here’s an album immune to the jarring effects of a CD player’s random button.
(If anything, a version of the album floating around the Internet file sharing networks flows better than what eventually showed up in stores.)
Over the course of 20 songs averaging 90 seconds in length, Lynch skewers the last three decades of rock history with little hint of mockery.
He’s not satirizing indie rock’s preciousness, but he certainly brings the genre’s more lofty ambitions back down to earth.
The best moments of the album are the specific fake songs themselves. On “Fake Pixies Song”, Lynch bravely apes Frank Black’s exaggerated diction, while parodying the Pixies’ often ghostly backing vocals.
His impersonation of David Gahan on “Fake Depeche Mode Song” needs some work, but he’s got the Martin L. Gore part of it pretty good. “Fake Bowie Song”, meanwhile, has some convincing lyrics: “I’ve got 3-D stereo laser love/You’re on my TV”.
Too bad “Fake Jane’s Addiction Song” got cut in favor of “Fake Talking Heads Song”, which is just a re-write of “Wild, Wild Life”.
Some of the non-fake songs work just as well.
“Electrician’s Day” imagines what the Lord thinks about white guys pretending to be black. (“Honkey, I said get your white ass off the stage!”)
Then, of course, there’s the album’s “hit single”, “United States of Whatever”, a thirtysomething anthem if there ever was one.
Tenacious D’s Jack Black shows up on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Whore”, which is fun but loses an earlier version of the song’s viscera, when Lynch transforms himself into a Frankenstein mix of Robert Plant and W. Axl Rose.
And why did Lynch edit out the cussin’ on “Rapbot 2000”, huh?
Although it might seem like effort to sit through the less interesting tracks, they’re short enough not to belabor the album. If “I’m All Bloody Inside” lasted longer than 1’16”, the joke would have been lost.
Fake Songs works because of its sincerity. Lynch may be poking fun at music, but it’s music he cares for as well.