Bret McKenzie — whom you know from such modern musical treasures as comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, the Muppets movie reboots and other ace kid-film soundtracks, Lord of the Rings fan blogs, guest songs for The Simpsons, cycling around the streets in his native New Zealand, and more — has a new solo record coming out filled with songs that ARE NOT COMEDY SONGS! There. Doesn’t that feel better? Sometimes it helps just to get it out in the open. So, yeah, Bret’s a ridiculously funny dude, and you might even call him one of the best comedy songwriters in the biz. (In Bret’s own words, there are fewer than a dozen people in the world writing comedy songs today, but who’s counting?)
He’s had smash hits, he’s won major awards, he’s the better-dressed part of his duo...he’s got a good thing going! So, what gives with this whole “songs without jokes” solo stuff, man?
While in Los Angeles a few years back, recording movie music with a crack assemblage of legendary session musicians, McKenzie started playing around with a tune or two he had written simply as songs—songs without any external direction, songs without plot-pushing concerns, songs without jokes. The results reveal McKenzie’s talents on multiple instruments (he’s a veteran of several non-comedy bands in New Zealand back in the day, most notably the reggae-based fusion group The Black Seeds), and his affinity for wry, literate artists like Harry Nilsson, Steely Dan, Randy Newman and Dire Straits.