Tenacious D - Rize of the FenixSo, let me start by saying that Jack Black isn’t funny. Now that we have that out of the way, you can take this little blurb for what it is: a reminder that this record did get released and that it didn’t eat a big fat dick. In fact, I’ve always had a really weird relationship to Tenacious D because while I think that Jack Black is really not funny even a little bit (no, I mean really, I never laugh at his stuff essentially ever), the music on these records is actually really solid, neo-classic rock. This is obvious from about a minute and a half into title and opening track “Rize of the Fenix,” where the pure Kansas riff and the chorus that evokes that sweet time in popular music when musicians could write songs, play instruments and be famous even if they looked like Steve Perry. It was a magical time we’ll never get back.

Yet Tenacious D does a really good job of nailing that sound and they write really solid songs, with catchy-as-hell melodies and songs that bring the listener back (like “Señorita” with its mariachi beats and Spanish guitars). “Deth Star” and “Roadie” are also good tracks, and even when they’re just dicking around like on “Rock Is Dead” and “They Fucked Our Asses” they write really good songs. The production is great and they nail the classic sounds perfectly, thus creating the perfect frame for the parody songs that the band fails so miserably at. And man, Jack Black has a really great rock voice even if he jokes it up too much. He’s got the range and the voice, where if these guys ever tried to write a real record of real material as opposed to a shamble of penis jokes they’d probably even produce a really cool record, because he does a great job.

But there’s the rub: this record isn’t funny. It wasn’t even funny the first time through. It’s standard stuff, dick jokes, more dick jokes, some dick jokes and then a couple of a dick jokes and while gently poking fun at an obvious love of these two guys: rock n’ roll. The only song on here that really is an awesome, complete song is “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage” which is not only an epic power ballad-esque track, but has funny lyrics and a great build. It’s really the only track that feels like a genuine song, even if other tracks have their moments. But if you’re a fan of Black’s material and you like giggling at dick jokes, then you should check it out. The music is great, but the lyrics are so throw-away that the only thing I’ll be coming back to as “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack” and maybe “Señorita”.

Tracks to check: “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack,” “Señorita” and “Rize of the Fenix”.

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  • Dominic Markert

    while I share your thoughts on the album, there is a thing I really hate about that record. Two of the songs (“They fucked our asses” and “To be the best”) start off really, really great. And just at the moment when you are thinking “Hey, that sounds really awesome”…they’re OVER. Sorry, but what a dickmove. Throwing some really great stuff at us, only to end it after like one minute.

    For that reason alone in don’t listen to “Rise of the Fenix” as often as I would probably do, if these issue wasnt there.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      That’s a good point.

  • Mike_Callavaro

    Great review! Its a fun record with some well structured songs. But the slapstick gets old real fast. The fact that it doesnt feel like a complete record isnt helping either.

    Nevertheless It was fun the first few spins.

  • cconnected

    similar to Steel Panther?

  • hendrik

    It sounds to me like way too much improv combined with blues to make the songs snappy, it works… But I feel like it’s a trick. Never really liked any of their albums, soms song are good, catchy or even fun to listen to, but that’s it!

    It has a kind of poppy feel to it; in ten years you’re going to realise that Tenacious D was just a fase, and you aught to be embarrassed about it… But still secretly enjoying some of their song, just not in public…

  • http://twitter.com/heresjohnny99 Johnny Anderson

    i knew there was a reason why i don’t get on with this site much, sense of humour. jack black not funny! tropic thunder, high fidelity, school of rock, ever played brutal legend? im not saying the guy is george carlin but hes funny and entertaining. to say he isn’t funny even a tiny bit? i bet you hate jim carrey and will ferrell too . by the way go look at tenacious d at download this year on youtube, brilliant stuff.