1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#82: Chevy Chase – Chevy Chase (1980)

MATT KELLY rues the day they inflicted the self-titled Chevy Chase album on the populace. It really is a shocker!

This is a comedy album. And I have to say I laughed a lot when I listened to it. So it’s a success, right? Well not really – I spent the entirety of the time laughing at it, not with it.

Despite a brief stint drumming with a pre-fame Steely Dan, putting out a decent psych-pop album with a forgotten band named Chamaeleon Church and years spent making some pretty good comedy records as part of National Lampoon, Cornelius “Chevy” Chase’s debut somehow gives the impression of a total novice who knows nothing about either music or comedy.

 

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“Hey guys, what if I did a version of ‘Let It Be’ where I sped the voice up, Alvin & The Chipmunks style?

If you’re wondering where the rest of that paragraph went, the sad news is that was it – that’s all CC’s parody of ‘Let It Be’ is. This dearth of imagination is found elsewhere. What about if we included a version of ‘The National Anthem’ but – wait for it – what if… the joke was… – wait for it – that it wasn’t sung very well!

“What if we included a generic disco track and made creepy sex noises over it for five minutes straight?” The material is so conceptually thin that even Chase fans will struggle to find laughs, *and they enjoyed Cops And Robbersons*. How about a version of ‘Sixteen Tons’ where the joke is – hold onto your hat – that he does a slightly silly voice?

Yet when he does go further afield, you wish he wouldn’t. The version of ‘Wild Thing’ is astonishing and not in a good way. Over fake steel drums and weird squelchy synthesizers, Chase sob-cries the lyrics as though he’s being tortured before a cavalcade of Halloween clown noises erupts and it’s a deeply unsettling experience.

By the time you get to ‘Rapper’s Plight’, five minutes of Chase going “hip hip, diggety dog and a bippety boppety boo” except with less feeling than Crazy Frog managed, you’ll be feeling nostalgic for the time Rappin’ Granny went on the Howard Stern show and rapped about wearing Depends. And she still had more control over her flow than Chase does.

So unfunny it becomes funny that Chase thought it was funny. There’s a reason they never let him do this again.

 

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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