Think of your favorite humorous song.
Now ask yourself whether it makes your list of top ten songs.
My favorite humor song is probably “Kitty” by POTUS. It’s hilarious the first time you hear it, and has a pretty sweet bass groove. But it is definitely not alongside the greats in my top ten.
This brings up the fundamental problem with humorous music: diminishing returns. A joke is never as funny the second time you hear it, and (almost always) not that funny by the tenth time. So by putting humor into any form of media, the artist is allowing the song value to decrease rapidly over repeated listens. It’s natural for most songs to lose their impact over time, but humor accelerates this degradation.
There are some distinctions among humor songs. Some songs hit you over the head with the humor, like “Kitty.” Others are more subtle, perhaps using creative innuendo or putting the humor in lesser heard places. There is also a difference between cracking jokes and just having a topic that is ridiculous. “Baby Got Back” is one such example of going over the top with the subject. I feel that this type of song does not lose its value over time as much as the other humor songs, because it is just making a regular song with silly lyrics.
This brings up the final distinction, and probably the most important: there are songs with humor that are built around the humor, and songs with humor that are also good songs. Lonely Island songs are reasonably funny, but are not really worth repeated listens due to the lackluster nature of the songs themselves. “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Booty Voodoo,” on the other hand, are entertaining songs with entertaining lyrics. Humor and music definitely blend, but the humor must be used both sparingly and carefully if the artist wants to be taken seriously.
-Kai Fukutaki, KSPC Blogger