Jonathan Coulton – BEST. CONCERT. EVER.
Albums labeled “comedy” don’t usually appeal to me with very few exceptions. The ones that do are the ones that seem as though the artist is just too serious about their craft to be comedy, and as a result are hilariously funny. The two that come to mind first are the A Mighty Wind soundtrack and Flight of the Conchords.
On its initial listen, you might think that Jonathan Coulton’s work falls into that same category, but it really doesn’t. Sure, some of his songs are funny; like Mr. Fancy Pants, Tom Cruise Crazy, or his cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. But the ones that succeed even more are the ones that are multi-layered with tragedy and sadness.
From his internet sensation Code Monkey, a semi-autobiographical tale about a software writer who hates his job, to I Crush Everything, a song about an introspective, self-loathing giant squid’s sadness because he ends up killing everything that he loves, to Skullcrusher Mountinan, a love song about a conflicted evil genius, JoCo’s catalog is filled with songs of pain and loneliness that are somehow still very funny.
BEST. CONCERT. EVER. Is Jonathan Coulton’s first commercially distributed album. The rest of his catalog falls under what’s called “Creative Commons” licensing and was distributed primarily through the internet. It’s also his first live album which brings a whole different vibe and intimacy to many of the songs.
I was probably initially drawn to JoCo because of his tendency towards themes of geek culture, science fiction, and semi-educational topics like science and history. It probably also didn’t hurt that he is friends with Daily Show correspondent and the star of the “I’m A Mac” commercials, John Hodgman, who I also find ridiculously funny.
Here’s one in the form of a business memo from a former colleague who happens to now be a zombie, gently prodding his coworker to let him eat his brains, called re: Your Brains