Up first this month, I’ve decided to feature a couple of funny music albums from artists I’ve mentioned before. I’m hoping that by including Paul and Storm I can maybe ride on their coattails to get my name out there a bit more in the geek music scene (or, wait, maybe that’s Insane Ian’s goal… I suppose maybe it’ll work for me, too…).
Paul and Storm – Ball Pit (NSFW)
I feel as if I should have written a review of a Paul and Storm album at some point, but I never have. Their last album actually came out the same year that I started writing this column, so that does actually make sense. They’ve released plenty of music in the last few years, just no actual album.
In fact, many of the songs on this album were originally released just as singles and have now been collected for the album. Their lament for George R.R. Martin, “Write Like the Wind,” for example, opens the album, and “Thanksgiving,” the song about George Lucas messing with Star Wars, also appears. They have several theme songs for shows and stories real and fictional: “(The Shadow War of the Night) Dragons of the Night,” “Fuzzy Man (Fuzzy Nation),” “Lil’ Guildies – Theme Song,” “When I Grow Up,” and “Nerdist Writers Panel.” And if you have their SoundBard app, you’ll recognize the last few tracks from it (and if you don’t have the app, you should. I don’t even play RPGs, but it’s fun anyway!).
“But, Chad,” I hear you asking, “aren’t there any new songs?” Of course there are! There’s “My Favorite Band,” about bringing together band members after they broke up so they can sing along with their number one fan (maybe not exactly how the band members would actually want to get back together, but at least they’re back!). Or “Right Here With You,” a song about lying next to your loved one in bed (who probably doesn’t return that love, but… hmmm… I’m sensing a pattern here. Are Paul and Storm stalkers?).
My favorite new songs are the style parody / tribute to Steely Dan, “Steely Dansplaining,” and “Dusty California.” I’m a big fan of Steely Dan, and the cleverness / sarcasm of the former song (especially the title) actually works well for a song about them. The latter starts off as a country rock song about a band, but then veers off into comic book territory when the band gains superpowers. It’s like the Eagles meets the Fantastic Four (or something like that).
So if you’d like to reset your feelings about ball pits back to a much simpler time when all it meant was fun, then this album is quite definitely for you. Yeah, OK, maybe that’s a dumb analogy, but go check out the album anyway.
Insane Ian – Internet Famous
Insane Ian is on a quest to become more famous than he already is, so he’s called in a few favors from some other Internet famous people. Or at least he tried to do so. Things don’t always quite work out the way he’d hoped. In various skits, he talks to a few musicians slightly more famous than himself about how to get famous. Plus there are more guests on the songs; if I didn’t know better, I’d think that maybe Ian is trying to trick people into listening to his album to hear the guests, then maybe they’ll like his music (well, OK, that’s exactly what he discusses with the great Luke Ski in a skit. It’s also why I included a review of Paul and Storm’s album above).
The album isn’t just about being Internet famous, however. It’s also about stuff that’s popular (or, perhaps you could say, famous) on the Internet, like, say, video games. Take “Metroid,” for example. It’s a pretty clever parody of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” inspired by the band Metroid Metal. I’m actually rather surprised no one’s thought of that before. There’s also “I’ve Never Played FF7″ (feat. Ben Stahl), a parody of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” about probably the most famous of RPGs, Final Fantasy 7. I totally understand the lack of time commitment that explains why Ian hasn’t played the game; it’s one of the main reasons I haven’t gotten very far on my replay of it on Steam.
It’s not all just pop culture on the Internet, though. There are also tracks about the kinds of things you see in social media. “Watch Your Language” is about making sure that your spelling and grammar are correct before posting online. As an English teacher, I can sympathize completely with this one (and, BTW, I have to say that teaching grammar is coming back since it’s now on the state test, at least here in Florida. So maybe things will get better in the next few years). And if bad grammar doesn’t start a flame war, then certainly talking about what TV shows and movies got wrong will do so. “Angry Nerds” (feat. the great Luke Ski) was originally released on Luke’s album 4th Grade Talent Show but also fits quite nicely here given that it’s about nerd rage on the Internet.
Insane Ian deserves to be more recognized in the geek music scene, so I do hope that more people find out about him via his guests. It’s some fun stuff that’s just as geeky as any other nerdcore artist out there, so go check it out now! And if you prefer physical versions, there’s an epic four disc version as well: Discs One and Two: Internet Famous, Disc Three: Internet Famous: IanPlugged, and Disc Four: Internet Famous: Ianstrumentals.