The name of Tim Young’s new CD asks the question, “What World Is This?” It’s a query Young spends 29 tracks delving into, covering every conceivable topic along the way. Each track is relatively short, rarely longer than a few minutes as he spryly hops from one topic to the next. The audience has no trouble keeping up with his pace, laughing along as he offers relationship advice from a tree, explains the real meaning of a purity ring, and reveals how he tests airport security by stuffing his pants with army men and animal crackers.
Young’s stage presence is friendly and conversational which often helps to soften the blow of what it is he’s talking about. Bestiality and lamenting the lack of a friend close enough to check for tapeworms goes down a lot easier (no pun intended) when it’s approached in such a light-hearted and easy-going way.
Not every track is a grand slam but that’s OK. A team doesn’t need a grand slam to win the game if they’re hitting consistently at the plate and getting runners on base every time at bat. That seems to be Young’s approach and it works. It’s much more enjoyable for me as a listener to get a good consistent stream of clever lines and solid laughs than having to wince as someone strains to hit it out of the park at every turn, simply to have them strike out over and over again. [Yes, I realize this suddenly switched gears into baseball metaphors but what can I say? It’s springtime and I’m looking forward to being let down by my Cubbies again].
If I had one complaint about the album (and I guess it can be interpreted as a compliment of sorts), it’s that Young sometimes moves to the next topic too fast. There are a few times he makes a quick observation or throws out an oddball idea (pranks on the elderly in casinos, his plea for girls to stop breeding with idiots, even his juvenile idea for buried treasure from a tiny insane pirate) I felt was really clicking and I wanted him to dig a little deeper before moving on. Basically, I was enjoying my time and didn’t want to leave the park quite yet. Fortunately, when Young moves on, more often than not it’s off to somewhere equally (or more) enjoyable: The texting skills of someone with three thumbs, how to test whether or not a drug is safe, and the reason Michael Jackson was especially disheartening for black people.
Spring has sprung and “What World Is This?” seems an appropriate album. Young’s comedy is a nice breath of fresh air and you’ll never look at butterflies frolicking in the park the same way again. Sure, they might be dancing in the sunlight, eager and excited for the new season, but they also might be trying to rape each other. Play ball!