Sometimes, it’s good to laugh. Sometimes it’s even good to roll your eyes – as long as they don’t get stuck of course… Both actions are appropriate reactions to comedy troupe The Lonely Island’s ridiculous soundtrack to film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack eschews seriousness in favor of laughs and specifically mocking any number of popular artists. With that being the purpose, along with doubling as The Lonely Island’s fourth album, it’s successful without question.
Popstar definitely has its highlights. The album starts off hot with the absurd “I’m So Humble” featuring Adam Levine. Andy Samberg aka Conner4Real delivers rhymes that clearly contradict the song title, not to mention Levine’s confident hook: “I’ve got it all and I’m getting’ more / but I never fall, beat ‘em all / cause you know I’m so humble… Another standout, “Equal Rights” (featuring P!nk), clearly takes a jab at Macklemore Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” with Samberg (making it clear that he’s personally not gay (“I’m not gay, but if I was, I would want equal rights”).
Down the track list, “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)” just might be the most head shakable moment of Popstar. The obligatory sex song, The Lonely Island somehow manage to parallel sex and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. What other reaction can one have to a lyric like, “This girl requested intercourse to bring her to climax / with the clinical efficiency of the assassination of Bin Laden?”
On “Mona Lisa,” Samberg and company flip the script, characterizing Mona Lisa as “an overrated piece of s**t,” “the original basic b***h,” and asserts she’s “worse than the pyramids.” It’s brilliant, in the most inappropriate way possible. “Hunter the Hungry Is Gon’ Eat” featuring Chris Redd may not necessarily trump “I’m So Humble” or “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song),” but it masterfully nails the masculine rap bravado, intact with f-bombs.
“Should I Move?” featuring Akon is melodramatic to the nth degree, with Samberg opening the dumb song stating, “Decisions / this was the hardest day of my life / should I stay or should I go? / Help me, Lord, to decide.” While it’s ludicrous, The Lonely Island perfectly captures the delusional pop star who doesn’t realize they’re fortunes are greater than everyday people, etc.“2 Banditos” keeps the dumbness flowing, with Samberg bragging, “Yeah, I’m also on my white boy s**t, that’s my birth right.” Examine it deeper, and does that line more transcendent than it should be?
Immaturity continues to run rampant on “Things In My Jeep” featuring Linkin Park, where The Lonely Island literally list the things in their Jeep including “condoms,” “a mini cooler filled with healthy snacks” and “a bandanna with my name on it.” On “F**k Off,” The troupe endearing urges the kids to tell their parents, “f**k off, I don’t want your life / I don’t owe you s**t / and I hate your rules.” Disturbing, but undoubtedly funny.
Several other songs are worthwhile. On the reggae-tinged “Legalize That” the drug of choice isn’t weed but rather crack (“We should legalize crack / so that I can smoke it all”). “I’m a Weirdo” ranks among Popstar’s best even if it’s ultimately random, nonsensical “freestyle” rhymes from Samberg. The most epic line? “Yeah crazy for driving Miss Daisy / Best picture must be doing something right.” “Karate Guy” finds the troupe jacking August Alsina’s beat from “Why I Do It?” (This Thing Called Life) and singing about karate. SMH.
All in all, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is enjoyable. As long as the listener goes in knowing it is intended to be ridiculous and is familiar with the Lonely Island’s previous work, Popstar should make perfect sense. Connect the songs with what The Lonely Island are parodying and Popstar plays even better.
Favorites: “I’m So Humble,” “Equal Rights,” “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song),” “Mona Lisa,” “I’m a Weirdo” and “Karate Guy”
The Lonely Island • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping • Universal Studios / Republic • Release Date: 6.3.16