TENACIOUS D has returned with its absurdist humor and tunes. The accolades bestowed upon the musical jokesters have been impressive and noteworthy. But while the platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning, one-of-a-kind comedy metal and hard rock duo started off strong, the duo certainly fumbled the ball and stumbled into the sidelines. The considerable talent at hand lends itself to the notion that it can certainly turn the tide, but with "Post-Apocalypto", the losing streak continues.
The two men were actors in a Los Angeles-based theater company before banding together in 1994. The pair went on to release a short HBO series in the late nineties before hitting pay dirt with its 2001 self-titled debut. "Tenacious D", the album, featured Kyle Gass's smooth acoustic guitar playing and Jack Black's intentionally melodramatic, sometimes operatic singing capabilities, clearly formidable in their own right, proving the two far more than comedians thinly veiled as a band. The project was a breath of fresh air in a post-nu metal and post-grunge era where the rock radio airwaves remained either angry or dreary. The band wasn't afraid to crack jokes and have fun with its crude 'n' comedic spin on rock. "Tenacious D" felt like light-hearted rock opera made by stoners that was palatable to a broad cross section of listeners with a coarse sense of humor.
The group followed up ambitiously as it starred in its own film in 2006, "The Pick of Destiny", which was a box office disaster. The soundtrack the duo composed for it fared better in terms of sales, but it wasn't much better as far as its value as an item of creative expression, save for a couple of songs featuring veritable stars as guests: "Kickapoo" (Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio) and "Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)" (Dave Grohl, whose drumming graces "Post Apocalypto"). More recently, in 2012, the duo came back with the self-aware and self-deprecating album "Rize of the Fenix", which poked fun at the previous cinematic commercial flop. The substance was lukewarm compared to its red-hot debut, but at least it wasn't as cringeworthy as the recently self-released, six-part YouTube series "Post Apocalypto" and the accompanying soundtrack.
Black himself crafted the YouTube series' intentionally juvenile and childlike animations, setting an appropriate visual to the goofy narrative. The 21 album tracks bounce between songs and interludes documenting the duo's struggles through an apocalyptic, post-nuclear world that finds them embarking upon space travel. TENACIOUS D has, for the first time, delved into the realm of politics, as the members' characters confront figures like Donald Trump Jr. The series's political purpose doesn't transfer over to the soundtrack component in any significant way, but the duo's mocking, parody take on a Klan marching tune serves to establish its perspective.
The outlandish nature of the narrative makes things mildly interesting. The duo's dystopian adventure involves a bizarre cast of characters—including everything from robots and racists to a Trump and The Terminator—but whether it's the series or the soundtrack, the plot, the humor and the songs are all underdeveloped and/or poorly developed. Nothing sticks. At this point in time, it might be best for the duo and band to call it a day and focus on other musical endeavors and its members' acting careers. Sure, TENACIOUS D wrote the hilariously catchy "F**k Her Gently", but that was almost 20 years ago. The talented comedic band has now just become a joke. The problem is, no one is laughing.