Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#716 in the Series) is Jimmy Fallon, Blow Your Pants Off
Choosing your go-to talk show host is a lot like choosing a spouse or a dog. It is a decision that is typically made when you are in your mid-twenties, one you are stuck with for at least a decade at a minimum, and you must be prepared for them to at times bring you joy, sometimes disappointment, and from time to time they will soil your rug.
If the current stable of late night talking heads were a classic rock artist Jay Leno would be Bob Seger in that he is definitely showing his age, his monologues have not changed much in 20 years, his musical guests are often worn and with the newer guests you often wonder if he even knows who they are.
Like The Rolling Stones, David Letterman can still be fresh and provocative at times and just when he starts slipping on the banana peel towards lameness he will come up with a fresh musical guest, a brilliant monologue, or engage in some sort of scandal or on-air guest shenanigans that will capture the audience and keep them coming back. He is Mick Jagger to Paul Shaffer’s Keith Richards.
Conan is the Eric Clapton of the Late Night set. He plays the guitar, quite well I might add, disappears for years at a time only to resurface with a somewhat muted version of his former self. When he does come back you are not sure where to find him. I am convinced that Eric Clapton is riding around Martha’s Vineyard somewhere on a bicycle built for two with J.J. Cale. I am not sure where Conan is. I have yet to be able to find TBS on my local cable system. I thought I found him once but it turned out to Woody Woodpecker on The Cartoon Network.
The Bruce Springsteen of the talking heads is also my favorite, Jimmy Fallon. He for my ears is the best musician of the lot. Jimmy works in the classic old-school talk show format with enough hipness and cool musical guests to keep things interesting, and a kick-ass relevant band. Rather than immerse him-self in a retro mud bog of “Born to Run” replays Fallon will often throw us a brilliant musical satire song parody that would make Weird Al’s hair go straight, keeping things fresh much like “The Boss” himself.
But I digress
With Blow Your Pants Off Jimmy Fallon has produced another brilliantly delivered set of songs that come across more as an homage to the songs or artists to which he is paying tribute rather than a simple more scripted song parody. The songs are delivered in a live setting that really gives the album the feel of a musical album rather than a comedy album. The musical guests on the record range from Justin Timberlake on “History of Rap,” a hilarious musical tribute and montage that includes basically every rap song ever recorded including “Rappers Delight”, and Paul McCartney on “Scrambled Eggs” (scrambled eggs was a lyrical place holder that Paul McCartney used when writing the song “Yesterday”). You have not lived until you hear noted vegetarian Paul McCartney sing the lyric “There’s a place I know where I go for kick ass wings, we can even get a side of onion rings.”
The best song on the album is Fallon’s mash-up of Bowies’ “Space Oddity” and Tim Tebow. “This is Jesus Christ to Tim Tebow, please leave me alone don’t you know my day of rest is Sunday and I am sick of watching all these Broncos games. I hear that you play New England next week, dude you’re on your own, Brady is too good and I’ve got better things to do.” Enough said, this is a must hear.
Proving he is not just a one trick pony, the delivery and primal from the bowels vocal turn that is delivered on “The Doors Sing Reading Rainbow” is a Belushi Joe Cocker-like on the button impersonation of Jim Morrison against a hazy, lyrically metaphysical organ drenched backdrop that is a perfect tongue in cheek homage to the Lizard King.
Eddie Vedder shows up on “Balls in Your Mouth,” tar balls that is, on the only semi-political song on the album that references the B.P. oil spill. On “Neil Young Sings The Prince of Bellaire,” the first of two eerily perfect Neil Young impersonations is delivered complete with harmonica interludes that could have come directly from a Crazy Horse album.
Ironically the second Neil Young tribute song “Neil Young sings “Whip My Hair” is probably the weakest song on the album despite the presence of Bruce Springsteen. It is not that the performances are bad, they are excellent with “The Boss” purposely over-exaggerating the Springsteen growl however they are not strong enough to overcome the somewhat lame lyrics. But then again, maybe that was the point.
With frequent listens this album is quickly moving into my personal top 50 for 2012. In fact, as soon as I can lift my classic rock aged body from the ground after Tebowing in praise for this excellent album I am going to listen to it again.
– Bernie Sparrow San Francisco, California USA
- “Neil Young Sings ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’”
- “History of Rap” (feat. Justin Timberlake)
- “Scrambled Eggs” (feat. Paul McCartney)
- “The Doors Sing ‘Reading Rainbow’”
- “Balls in Your Mouth” (feat. Eddie Vedder)
- “Bob Dylan Sings ‘Charles in Charge’”
- “Walk of Shame” (feat. Dave Matthews)
- “Slow Jam the News” (feat. Brian Williams)
- “Cougar Huntin’” (feat. Big & Rich)
- “Friday” (feat. Stephen Colbert)
- “Neil Young Sings ‘Whip My Hair’” (feat. Bruce Springsteen)