Things You Might Have Missed 2012: Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

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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