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Album review: The Lonely Island, 'The Wack Album'

*1/2 (out of four)

"The Wack Album" represents the Lonely Island's first full-length album since the comedy trio (consisting of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) ceased contributions to "Saturday Night Live." Without the group enjoying the luxury of premiering their songs in video form on "SNL," there’s a definite lack of awareness (both from the audience and from TLI members themselves) for their third major studio album.

Their proven formula for the past two albums--making light of the current rap scene while making fun of themselves and getting a bunch of famous people to tag along--has paid dividends. This time, though, it appears to have just been phoned in. Extended skits like “You’ve Got The Look,” ”We Are A Crowd” and “Spell It Out” fall flat due to absolutely beating the simple premises to death. Those include walking around with one boob out, being a literal crowd of people, and spelling e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g o-u-t.

Not that it’s their fault, but a major problem with this album can be distilled down to the fact that rap music changes so quickly that attempts to make fun of it can sound corny if you wait too long. The song “Semicolons” demonstrates this with a borderline boring attempt at poking fun at the “rhyme about something; METAPHOR” rhyme scheme Nicki Minaj/Big Sean/Drake have run into the ground in the past two years.

The troupe does have an ear for beats that don’t sound too far out of place in the current rap scene.  Robyn contributes a solid chorus on a spoof of club call-and-response records in  “Go Kindergarten,” and “Spring Break Anthem” effectively emphasizes the hypocrisy of celebrating the deplorable behavior exhibited during Spring Break but condemning the non-deplorable idea of two guys getting married.

In other words, “The Wack Album” lives up to its name. May Weird Al have mercy on us all.

Live Q&A: 5 p.m. Fri. at Metro

erwilkins@tribune.com, @ernestwilkins

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