April 17, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stephen Lynch releases two-disc comedy album

Among the most well-known figures in the musical comedy community, Stephen Lynch has recently put out his seventh release, a two-disc effort of his signature brand of acoustic guitar-driven hilarity.

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Titled “Lion,” the album includes one disc of studio recordings and another of a live show in which he performs each of the new songs.

Among the funniest aspects of the album is how unexpectedly beautiful the music actually sounds; if “Lion” was playing in a bookstore or other quiet setting, listeners may completely overlook the lyrical content, lost in the finely-crafted vocal harmonies by Lynch and guest vocalist Courtney Jaye.

It’s crucial to maintain a sense of humor when listening to much of Lynch’s work. Those who are easily offended may find it considerably less enjoyable as Lynch humorously sings about subjects like sex and dysfunctional relationships, and, though it is obviously not meant to offend, he occasionally lacks political correctness.

In past releases, Lynch’s recordings have been far less well-produced; they included primarily his voice and guitar with few added effects, bare bones when compared to the production value “Lion” boasts.

The album opens with “Tattoo,” a quiet yet upbeat-sounding song about the various types of common embarrassing tattoos. Jaye’s harmonies add a lot of humor to the song; her voice is made for alternative-pop and is undeniably pretty, yet she is using it to harmonize with lines like “Your child’s name with the words ‘be strong’ would be beautiful, but they spelled ‘strong’ wrong.”

A few songs later, “Lorelai,” a piano-driven tune about a few women with defects such as a lazy eye and unusual body odor, turns into a ballad of sorts. An organ makes a subtle entrance, giving it a subtle blues feel. While musically the song is enjoyable, it falls short lyrically as Lynch’s humor falls flat.

One highlight on the album is the title track, a musical duel between two men for the heart of a woman. Lynch has done a similar duet in the past; “Best Friend Song” featured Lynch’s friend Mark Teich and also highlighted differences between the two singers, ending with Lynch scream-singing that he wanted to sleep with Teich’s young sister. “Lion” has a poppy, sing-along feel to it.

Most songs on the album are slow-and-sleepy, sung in an almost lullaby-like voice to little more than Lynch’s own acoustic guitar. The song “The Night I Laid You Down” is another duet, again featuring Jaye.

The rest of the album flows in a similar fashion and is peppered with banjos, harmonicas and cello, to name a few added musical elements.

While “Lion” is a perfectly enjoyable album, it is comically disappointing when compared to Lynch’s previous work. To put it simply, it doesn’t hit the mark that Lynch has set for himself, and isn’t on the same level as releases like “Superhero,” a live album released by the artist in 2003.

“Lion” noticeably lacks the fast-paced zingers that Lynch fans often find stuck in their heads, and while the jokes are funny to a certain degree, they are seldom laugh-out-loud funny.

The songs on which Jaye are featured are definite highlights on “Lion” as she is an unexpected addition to Lynch’s blend of musical comedy. She and Lynch are equally funny on these songs and complement each other tremendously.

Overall, “Lion” is only a good album. Lynch’s sense of humor remains the same, but he doesn’t seem to have quite as much fun as he has in the past. It is musically beautiful, but falls flat comically.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at ellie@dailycollegian.com.

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