Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Songs Did FOTC Parody?

[Two musicians, one cup] For non-viewers, Flight of the Conchords is HBO's brightly sardonic half-hour series conceived as a vehicle for an eponymous band comprising a pair of Kiwi "digi-folk" musicians. A typical episode features two music videos; the Conchords are brilliant parodists, and half the fun of the show is recognizing which song, band or genre are parodied.

Season 2, episode 2 "The New Cup" aired Jan. 25.

Bret's purchase of a $2.49 tea mug prompts Jermaine to explore a new career path.

Song 1: "Sugar Lumps"

Most obviously, it's a parody of "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. Yes, everybody hates "My Humps" now, but you've got to admit, it was a catchy tune (and is seriously hunky). Still, I have the feeling there's some other influence here--I doubt the Conchords would parody such oldies as Robert Palmer, but there's definitely something going on, isn't there? (Jonah Flicker of says it's Timbaland--and, craggy ol' dude that I am, I'll have to take his word for it.)

Song 2: "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute"

It's a male-prostitute twist on "Roxanne" by the Police, right down to Sting's faux-reggae Jamaican accent. (You know, despite Sting's inexplicable foray into the somnabulistic adult-contemporary genre, I sort of liked him—until that unbearably arrogant and pissy performance on Spectacle: Elvis Costello With .... OK, listening to Stewart Copeland, the eternally precocious 57-year-old child, crying "Me, too! Me, too!" 16 hours a day would make anybody irritable. But could even the most Anglophilic and punctilious of viewers really care whether Sting's chivalric order is that of OBE or CBE? He was so quick to point out the difference. (Neither honor ascends to the rank of full knighthood.)

Insisting upon such distinctions doesn't seem entirely chivalrous.

(Brandon Burt)

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