Tenacious D leans into satire with ‘Post Apocalypto’

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Tenacious D leans into satire with ‘Post Apocalypto’

By Tyler Neal

Tenacious D’s new album, “Post Apocalypto,” released Nov. 2, is a public service as much as an album. It not only provides some of their funniest songs in years, but gives a much-needed opportunity to turn the darkest parts of modern American life up to 11 in their classic style and make them so ridiculous that all a listener can do is laugh.

“Post Apocalypto” is a concept album about the end of the world. There are plenty of great jokes to be had, most notably the song “MAKING LOVE,” which deals with the vulnerabilities of repopulating the earth.

Following in a tradition of inventive sci-fi writers like Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov, Jack Black and Kyle Gass use the post-apocalyptic setting to satirize the crazier parts of American politics, technology and culture.

Like most of the output by the D, “Post Apocalypto” is a companion piece to a visual element the group created, in this case, an animated series of the same name on Youtube.

The best example of this social commentary is their Neo Nazi, KKK henchman song “marCH.”Tenacious D essentially turns the entire alt right, the boogeyman of post-2016 politics, into mindless, flying monkey-esque henchman, marching along to a single snare drum. There’s something comforting about turning scary things small and silly, and that’s what Tenacious D does all throughout this album.

This is a new direction for the D, who typically stay out of politics in their music, with the exception of “The Government Totally Sucks” on their first album, which isn’t a specific critique as much as a primal scream against the establishment. Looking closer, though, this new direction makes perfect sense for this cultural moment in time. Tenacious D has always been at their best when they are poking fun at rock music’s sillier aspects, and how everyone is too self important and pretentious to notice that silliness. “Post Apocalypto” is them successfully expanding that approach to modern life, and allowing us an opportunity to laugh at everything that terrifies us day to day.

Tenacious D fans shouldn’t worry that the band has abandoned everything that makes them so much fun, though. The more simple joke songs, like the aforementioned “MAKING LOVE” and “TAKE US INTO SPACE” feature all of the lyrical tradeoffs between Black and Gass, creative vulgarities and Jack Black-isms that made their first two records musical comedy classics. “Post Apocalypto” also makes great use of Tenacious D’s secret weapon, which is that they are actually a pretty solid metal band. “DADDY DING DONG” is, to quote Black, a facemelter.

It is the deviations from the norm, though, that make “Post Apocalypto” so special. Tenacious D has said in interviews that they have had more creative control over this record than any of their previous work, and the result is the best record that they have made since their debut.