Monday, June 11, 2012

Jimmy Fallon's "Blow Your Pants Off"



Those YouTube videos you've been getting forwarded from your friends featuring clips from "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?" You know, those same clips that made you laugh out loud and then you posted them on your Facebook wall for others to enjoy? Well, the best of those clips have been gathered together and compiled into a collection called Blow Your Pants Off and it's nothing short of a truly great time.

Nearly every track on the album features one of Jimmy's celebrity pals who are anxious to jump in with both feet and poke fun at pop culture (and themselves). Fallon is backed by The Roots and you won't find a cooler house band working on television. They sound great and as they slip from playing one genre into another (The Doors, hip hop, Rebecca Black) their versatility is nicely showcased.

I enjoyed this album much more than Fallon's debut (and previous) album, The Bathroom Wall, mostly because it spotlights my favorite aspect of his comedy (Fallon's songs) and completely bypasses the tracks I found myself skipping over the last time around (Fallon's stand up). When you listen to his songs together in one collection you're reminded of just how good he is at impersonating the likes of Jim Morrison and Neil Young and at crafting a catchy original hook of his own (I defy anyone to not sing along to "Balls In Your Mouth").

The main thrust of the album is Fallon tackling the headlines of today and giving them a fun musical interpretation. The Jeremy Lin media hype gets a Pearl Jam-inspired take on "Linsanity," David Bowie takes on Tim Tebow ("Tebowie") and Brian Williams (AKA Bri-Bri Will Wills) gets his own slow-jam newscast ("Slow Jam the News"). It's not all current events, though, as there are also nuggets for fans of old-school beats ("History of Rap") and 80s television ("Neil Young Sings 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air,'", "Bob Dylan Sings 'Charles in Charge'").

Of course, the random choice of songs and the celebrities who sing them is what really amps up the humor. I have no idea how Fallon came up with the idea of Jim Morrison singing the theme from "Reading Rainbow" or Neil Young covering Willow Smith but the juxtaposition is too funny to spend time trying to figure out rhyme or reason. The addition of Bruce Springsteen growling "Whip my hairrrrrrr" and Paul McCartney breathing new life into a classic song ("Scrambled Eggs") makes everything that much more enjoyable.

The fact that I'd already seen most of the songs offered here on YouTube in no way took away from my listening enjoyment. If nothing else it took me back to that first time I heard them and once again I found myself grinning like an idiot from ear to ear (and, once again, I found myself wondering if Taylor Hicks was really the only guest singer they could find to make a cameo appearance. Stephen Colbert and "Friday" deserve so much more).

Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, this project zips by pretty quickly. Or maybe it's just that time really does fly when you're having fun. Either way, as soon as I finished my first listen I found myself immediately returning for seconds. And thirds. Granted, Fallon isn't the greatest singer in the world but he doesn't claim to be, and considering the singers he so skillfully impersonates he doesn't have to be. His impressions are spot on and as he tries to keep up with the modulations in the final track ("Let Us Play With Your Look") the fact that he isn't able to hit the high notes are part of the fun. And really, the fun is why we're here. If you came for vocal prowess you'd be reading a review of last night's Michael Bolton concert live from the Parthenon.

This CD does exactly what it came to do. It captures the light-hearted party feel of a late-night program banging on all cylinders. Consider my pants officially blown off.


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