During its two seasons on the air, Flight of the
Conchords went from being a quiet cult hit to a full-blown pop culture
phenomenon. Appealing to comedy snobs and mainstream viewers alike, the show
has proven that there’s still a market for subtle, intelligent humor.
The fact that its songs are funny and
catchy as hell doesn’t hurt either. For the recently completed second season,
creators/stars Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement wisely gave their supporting
cast more to do — meaning that fan favorite characters such as Murray, Dave and
Mel suddenly found themselves with a lot more screen time, much of which was
spent breaking into song.
There’s some validity to the argument that the songs
featured in the second season are a bit weak compared to those in the first.
But here’s the thing you should realize in order to be more constructive with
your feedback: Bret and Jemaine only had a few months to come up with new
material, as opposed to the years they spent honing the songs that appeared
initially. Alas, it appears that the rumors that Bret and Jemaine only wanted to do two seasons of the show are true. The future of Flight of the Conchords looks dire, but
its musical legacy isn’t — here’s a look at the 10 best songs?from the show whose multilayered jokes pack a greater impact upon each
10) Oh, Dance Baby
One of the show’s more insane moments, this karaoke number
performed entirely in Korean by Bret ruminates on how difficult love can be. Or
something. Who knows what the hell the song is really all about. (Various
background images such as Jemaine looking sad on a carousel and a regional rail
train from Philadelphia don’t shed any further light on the tune’s meaning).
Not that it really matters anyway, since it is so hideously memorable Oh, happy
Memorable quote: “Sometimes love is as sweet as kalbi
9) Frodo, Don’t Wear the Ring
Seeing how Topless Robot’s bread and butter comes
from wonderful nerds and nerdettes such as yourself, it would be a grave
injustice not to include this musical homage to Lord of the Rings on
this list. Its awesomeness makes it pretty much the musical equivalent of that
weed the hobbits were always getting high on, so it definitely merits inclusion
here. During this two-minute retelling of Tolkien’s masterwork, viewers get to
see Jemaine dressed as Gimli thanks to some Dorf-style costuming, comedian
Eugene Mirman hamming it up as Saruman, and Kristen Schall’s Mel taking a break
from the stalking to do her best Arwen impersonation. This ditty is actually a
return to Middle Earth for Bret McKenzie, as he appeared as elf escort Figwit
in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.? New Zealand, why not?
Memorable quote: “We’ll never make it, there’s
thousands of them and only nine of us. We made it!”
The first moment many Conchords viewers realized they
were watching geniuses at work came when Jemaine stepped on screen as David
Bowie circa 1986 from the movie Labyrinth.? That moment leads directly into the unitarded frenzy
that is the above number A riff on the, well, ch-ch-ch-changes the Thin White
Duke has undergone throughout his career, the clip is a pretty freaky and
far-out tribute to Bowie’s chameleonic rock.
Memorable quote: “Do they smoke grass out in space
Bowie, or do they smoke Astroturf?”
7) Carol Brown (Stick Around)
The closest thing Flight of the Conchords ever got to a very
special episode, the second season installment “Unnatural Love” focused on
intolerance as Jemaine fell in love with an Australian. Following up the
episode’s opening musical salvo “Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor,” the above
video features Jemaine reflecting upon his unsuccessful past relationships.
Much has been made about how “Carol Brown (Stick Around)” channels Paul Simon’s
“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and The Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women,” but the
song trumps them both by being amusing and a bit poignant. (The ethereal
chorus sung by Jemaine’s exes is pretty amazing as well). If there ever is
another season of the show, director Michel Gondry must return for another
outing. His fractured whimsy is the perfect match for Bret and Jemaine’s
peculiar take on New York City life.
Memorable quote: “Who organized all of my
ex-girlfriends into a choir and got them to sing?”
6) Leggy Blonde
Murray isn’t just about taking roll and giving Greg a hard
time. He has interests outside of his managerial duties. Apparently his wife
comes and goes, so you can’t really blame him when he falls for a tech
repairwoman who is also a leggy blonde. This song marked the first occasion
that a character other than Bret or Jemaine sang on the show, paving the way
for Rhys Darby’s increased role in the second season. Too much Murray is never
Memorable quote: “I had a budgie but it died…I like
5) Inner City Pressure
As a primer for the above clip, click here to check out the video for the
Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls.”? Now that you’ve done that, you can really appreciate the synthpop fun of
“Inner City Pressure.” Not content with merely aping Chris Lowe and Neil
Tennant’s sound, the Conchords go one further by packing their visual homage
with subtle nuances ranging from the translucent Jemaine to the artsy
time-lapse cinematography. The guys would return to the 80’s well with this past
season’s “Fashion Is Danger,” but that was a bit too esoteric for most viewers
unfamiliar with the musical pleasures of the new wave act (Visage) it was
Memorable quote: “Check your mind, how’d it get so
bad? What happened to those other underpants you had?”
In spite of all the promising of the?Terminator?films, a robot uprising has yet to occur.??This is upsetting on so many levels. Until that wondrous day when the rise of the machines begins, there’s this tribute to mechanoid-induced genocide chronicling how in “the distant future” of the year 2000 robots have eradicated humanity. To fully experience “Robots” in all of its comedic glory, check out the live version of the track on the group’s?The Distant Future EP?and sing along with the binary solo while you still can.
Memorable quote: “We used poisonous gasses and we poisoned their asses.”
3) Think About It
Also known as “Issues,” “Think About It” is a thought-provoking
anthem that isn’t afraid to confront some of today’s most controversial social
woes. After all, why are we still paying so much for sneakers? Looking solemn
for the camera and pondering the plight of sick monkeys, Bret and Jemaine break
it down and build it up until all of the world’s problems are solved. They fail
miserably of course, but hey, they tried.
Memorable quote: “Leave these poor sick monkeys alone, they got problems enough as it is”
2) Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor
When there are too many dicks on the dance floor, Bret, Jemaine and Dave must take drastic action. In all honesty, “Too Many Dicks” is stunningly catch and would utterly deserve mainstream pop success — if, of course, it wasn’t all about a plethora of penises. We still expect to hear it at most dance parties for the next two decades or so.
Memorable Quote: “Make sure you know before you go the dance floor bro-ho ratio”
1) Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenocerous
Best rap names ever? Absolutely. Maybe white people rapping is to easy a source for comedy, but when those white people are 1) from New Zealand and 2) alternately sing of how badass they are and about having tea parties with their grandmother, well… it might be easy, but it’s still hilarious. And it features some pretty damn impressive word play, to boot. The only problem is that the version of the song on the Flight of the Conchords’ album is an acoustic, drum beat-less version, instead of the more rap-appropriate beats featured in the TV episode. Frankly, we blame Steve. Steve.
Memorable Quote: “My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment?I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant.”
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.