Neil Cicierega
Mouth Moods


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dean M. CONTRIBUTOR (29 Reviews)
January 26th, 2017 | 151 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “All I wanna do is D’OH! D’OH! D’OH! D’OH! and-a YEAH BABY! and take your money”

Seven tracks into Mouth Moods, the latest mashup album from absurdist comedy wunderkind Neil Cicierega, Cicierega delivers perhaps the perfect encapsulation of his delightfully demented approach to plunderphonics in the form of “Annoyed Grunt.” The track takes the gibberish grunts of David Draiman (Disturbed) and Jonathan Davis (Korn), removes them from the only context in which they make sense, and lays them over an instrumental foundation that shifts between Annie Lennox, Mungo Jerry, and the Home Improvement theme. And that’s just the base; interspersed throughout the track are elements as varied as Green Day’s “Basket Case,” M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” stock animal sound effects, and sound bites from The Simpsons and Austin Powers. Any two of these elements in combination would be outrageously silly, but thrown into the pot together as they are on “Annoyed Grunt,” the result is downright ludicrous, an onslaught of what-the-fuckery that never gives the listener a chance to stop their delirious cackling and catch their breath.

The rest of Mouth Moods is just as relentlessly, gloriously absurd. As is to be expected from an artist who found his first success with a Flash meme, Cicierega’s wit is surreal and meta. Whether it’s by juxtaposing Angus Young’s rock n’ roll howls with Vanessa Carlton’s sweeping piano (“AC/VC”), splicing sound bites of Tony the Tiger into an INXS/Survivor mashup (“Tiger”), or turning Ray Parker, Jr.’s Ghostbusters theme into even more of a blatant dick joke (“Bustin”), he has a unique talent for crafting jokes that primarily elicit laughter as an expression of “What in the hell am I listening to?” And this is no easy feat to pull off. Samples need to be wildly mismatched in tone but still cohesive in the musical basics of rhythm and key, or else their juxtaposition would just be obnoxious. The rearranging of lyrics in songs like “Bustin” and the use of non-musical samples in tracks like “300 MB” risk dipping into the territory of neophytic “random” humor that grew stale years ago, so the use of such methods needs to be very deliberate. It’s a tough balance to strike, but Mouth Moods nails it every time.

But however carefully crafted the humor is, it’s still a brand of humor that inherently yields diminishing returns with each successive listen. Eventually the novelty wears off, and the music needs to either stand on its own or succumb to an ephemeral doom. Fortunately, Cicierega’s wit is equally matched by his instinctual sense of what combination of samples sound good together. What separates him from his plunderphonics peers is that his instinct is unrestricted by regard for coolness or classic status. He doesn’t care if the prevailing wisdom is that Queen’s “Under Pressure” is too great a song to be mashed up with Smash Mouth’s “All Star”--hell, that’s half the joke. For Cicierega, nothing is too sacred or too dorky to be combined with something on the opposite end of the spectrum, and that unfettered creative spirit leads to some shockingly inspired decisions. Once you get past the initial weirdness of “Dear Dinosaur,” the gibberish chorus of “Walk the Dinosaur” combined with the bass riff from “Dear Prudence” actually sounds pretty damn cool. Tracks like “Wow Wow” and “Shit” easily rival Girl Talk in their danceability. And this may just be the Stockholm syndrome talking, but, laid over the melancholy of Hans Zimmer’s “Time,” the vocal track from “Y.M.C.A.” started to sound almost heartbreaking.

Mouth Moods is a double success, a masterpiece of Internet-age absurdist humor that will also endure as an album of straightforwardly fun pop music. Given the ultimate fates of his Flash-era contemporaries, Neil Cicierega should have faded into obscurity by the late 00s, but Mouth Moods demonstrates why he’s still relevant over a decade after “The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny” became popular: He’s just an immensely talented artist, even (especially) if he chooses to use that talent to make jokes about Ghostbuster sex.



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user ratings (144)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2017


1133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream/download the album for free on Neil's website: http://neilcic.com/mouthmoods/

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2017


3099 Comments


Great writeup, such a fun album.

Digging: Keaton Henson - Six Lethargies

SandwichBubble
January 26th 2017


10516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This man's a legend in my mind. Look at him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiS4mFZMCT4

Digging: Dirt - Never Mind Dirt - Here's the Bollocks

Alastor
January 26th 2017


2113 Comments


if the other songs are as good as Bustin I'm in

owen
January 26th 2017


5147 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this meme album will get more attention than Lemon Demon

SandwichBubble
January 26th 2017


10516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sad fact of life.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2017


14600 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

this is fucking horrible

Digging: Camel - Mirage

TheWrenKing
January 26th 2017


1696 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wallspin changed me

FullOfSounds
January 26th 2017


15772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really hyped to check this

theBoneyKing
January 26th 2017


17726 Comments


Excellent review, not my kind of thing though, but you do a great job of explaining its appeal almost to the point where I am tempted to check this.

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

zaruyache
January 26th 2017


21606 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

a friend was just telling me he'd done more stuff. Gotta check.

Digging: Blue Noise - Everyone Goes Away Eventually

wtferrothorn
January 26th 2017


5847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The first time I heard AC/VC, I couldn't stop laughing. Neil's gone and done it again!

pjorn
January 26th 2017


4404 Comments


Neil is great, please everyone listen to Lemon Demon.

Evenoss
January 26th 2017


296 Comments


That Hans Zimmer / Y.M.C.A mashup (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsoCe7C4Kmk) is amazing.

IcelandRevel
January 26th 2017


943 Comments


AC/VC was so horrendously funny, that's what really got me into the album. Bustin, Tiger, and Wow Wow are my other favorites. Those first 10 seconds of Wow Wow are so clever!

Rigma
January 26th 2017


863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Hilarious album, good review, pos

DoofusWainwright
January 26th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

He deserves kudos for making Liam Gallagher sound even more painfully whiney, 'Wonderwall' is a song I'd happily send tumbling towards the abyss never to return so it's fair game for the treatment it receives here.



The Y.M.C.A tune is easily the best, 'Annoyed Grunt' is essential listening for nu metal survivors too

rabidfish
January 26th 2017


5522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The ymca joint is awesome

Evenoss
January 26th 2017


296 Comments


He has to find something with the Interstellar theme now.

SharkTooth
January 26th 2017


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Annoyed Grunt is an amazing track even when ignoring the joke



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