I remember when I was younger, cracking up to the Jack Black and Kyle Gass’ music video for “Tribute” off of the first Tenacious D album. I still laugh to this day when they get to “Rock!” And I might be the only one here, but I did laugh during their movie The Pick of Destiny – regardless of how bad that actual movie was. But since then (2006), I haven’t cared enough to ask for another Tenacious D album, more or less because I didn’t care anymore. But then again, I don’t have to care OR ask, cause JB and KG are back with Rize of the Fenix, to metaphorically have them rise up from the ashes of The Pick of Destiny. I don’t know if they knew this was going to be even worse than that though.
Before I get into the music, I do want to preface this with the knowledge that I shouldn’t take Tenacious D so seriously. After all, it’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass – two guys who do not take a whole lot of things seriously themselves. And I shouldn’t really treat this album like a rock album, but more of a comedy album. That might be the D’s only saving grace this time around – that it’s a comedy album. But even in that regard, this album does not come through.
The album begins with the title track, reminds us about their past failures, and them symbolically rising from the ashes like a phoenix (I know, they spelled it Fenix, I don’t care). The song (like the entire album) features Jack Black’s normally over-dramatic delivery and mildly disappointing guitar riffs continuing for almost six minutes. That is followed up by “Low Hangin Fruit,” a song that is just as dirty as it sounds. “Senorita” is a Spanish-influenced “love” song about protecting a girl who has done her wrong. The idea is fine, but the delivery is just piss-poor and unentertaining.
That’s true with a lot of Rize of the Fenix, it just isn’t entertaining. The two comedy vignettes, “Classical Teacher” and
“Flutes and Trombones,” aren’t funny at all. Both feel equally lazy and thrown together as most of the tracks on the album. None had very funny punchlines, no good build-ups, and no moments that made me feel anything. The funniest thing I heard was Jack Black saying that they’re better than Arcade Fire. I’m not a fan of theirs, but I respect and like their material WAY more than I enjoyed anything here.
I know I shouldn’t take an album like this seriously, but instead look at it as a comedy album. However, even in that extent, Rize of the Fenix fails to fly. The album is filled to the rim with high school humor that is sure to make teenagers laugh until it hurts, but for older listeners (at least college aged), this does nothing but waste your time. Regardless if this was supposed to be a comedy album or a rock album, in both aspects, it fails.
Someone shoot this bird out of its misery.
Final Grade: F