Ha-ha, Herman Cain!
Lately I've been thinking a lot about comedy music, usually via a thought like "oh my god I hate Lil Dicky", and then sometimes a thought like "I wish I liked Flight of the Conchords music as much as most other people seem to". I just don't think I like comedy music, in general... I think for me, music really requires a sort of emotional immediacy, like, I want to get the sense that the artist went into the studio wanting really badly to express some sort of feeling or aesthetic, and that the lyrics and everything else all just emerged from there. I mean I know this isn't really accurate, but it's how I think about music, and it just doesn't work for something where it's evident they've tried really hard to be clever or whatever. I'm okay with songs with funny lines or clever lines, as long as it seems like the use of that line not only was for the laugh, but to advance the overall goal of the song. Like the end of Kanye's "Blame Game", that's hilarious, that's literally a comedian, but the primary purpose is to reinforce the emotional qualities of the song through the juxtaposition.
Okay, but what about this? Do you remember this album? Do you remember Herman Cain? Way back in 2011, he was actually a fairly popular candidate for the Republican ticket in 2012. He was also the craziest contender for that spot, which is really really saying a lot. Tim Heidecker, of Tim & Eric fame, first released this surreal fake TV spot and then, as if it was a natural thing to do, followed it up with a genre-blending 9-track album. So to me, the way Tim Heidecker functions as a comedy artist is totally different than most other comedy bands in a subtle but key way.
What Tim is doing is coming up with this entire fictional person: a guy who is a fervent supporter of Herman Cain. To the point of mental instability. Like, he worships him as his lord. And then he makes, to the best of this fictional person's ability, the album that he would make to help Herman Cain appeal to as many people as possible. There's no real "joke" beyond this entire situation, and the surprises that result from it going in different directions than you'd expect.
Like look at this, omg, this bangs! What genre is this even? It sounds like someone who downloaded a club beat (a really BANGING club beat) but didn't really understand what genre it fit into. The little noise at the start! Oh my god, that noise! If it didn't take me like five hours to do so I would try to isolate that sound and make it my ringtone or something. And when he starts ranting about getting all the taxes passed, or whatever? It's crazy, it's hilarious! But it's also legitimately "strong", like a very affecting thing, to hear him yell. Does this make sense to you? Like, instead of a real artist making a fake song for laughs, this is a fake artist making a real song for laughs. I dunno, maybe there are counterexamples. I also like stuff that's just conceptually funny, like PISSCORE or that Yeezus Christmas remix, or the guy who does entire acapella covers of Kanye albums. Maybe the real common element of those three is just "Kanye" though. Whatever.