Tenacious D: Tenacious D

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Tenacious D

Album: Tenacious D
Label: Epic
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Tenacious D

Album: Tenacious D
Label: Epic

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The best parody masters commentary and mimicry in equal measure, combining terrific jokes with the ability to perfectly emulate a target. A deficiency in either area can make the result hard to endure, but the rock-comedy duo Tenacious D does right by both comedy and rock. Managing an odd simultaneous fusion of stupid and clever, acoustic-guitar-wielding rockers Jack Black and Kyle Gass mingle songs and skits on their slick, gleefully profane, Dust Brothers-produced debut. The songs and many of the skits' inside jokes will be familiar to fans, and may seem overly broad and puerile to some outsiders, but they're consistently funny enough to win converts. More importantly, during its best songs, the self-titled disc unabashedly, unequivocally, and fervently rocks, with "Explosivo," "Double Team," and the appropriately titled "Rock Your Socks" made funnier by the fact that Black sings them all with absolutely committed fury. Sometimes his delivery alone is enough to put them over, whether he's playing the part of a randy lover-man ("Fuck Her Gently"), giving voice to a soul-eating demon ("Tribute"), dethroning diminutive rocker Ronnie James Dio ("Dio"), or reveling in his creation of a new vocal skill ("Inward Singing"). Just the way he hits the word "underpants" on "Double Team" goes a long way toward justifying the price of admission. Black and Gass are smart enough to keep the tracks brisk and brief, but they also know that no hard-rock classic would be complete without an ambitious narrative epic to close out the proceedings. Here, it's the seven-minute "City Hall," in which the duo destroys the government, seizes control, legalizes marijuana, and ultimately succumbs to infighting and power struggles. It's a fine way to close an album that gets better and funnier as it goes along, as Gass and Black fight (with each other), fuck (others), and rock (all) with crowd-pleasing abandon. What could be better?

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