Thursday July 5th 2012
I was agonising my way through a review of Ted this morning (preview: it’s not brilliant) when I stumbled upon Music Is Better Than Words, a 2011 Grammy-nominated swing album released by none other than Mr. Idea Balls himself, Seth MacFarlane. And yes, that’s its actual cover art.
Seth covers 14 swing, jazz and big band standards across the course of the album (two of which are duets with Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles) and as far as I can tell, does so with absolutely no sense of irony in play. Even when he sings the word ‘Frigidaire’:
Even when he squeezes this noise out of the word ‘tight’:
Even when he does a little breathy pause before saying ‘hello’:
It’s disorienting stuff for anyone familiar with MacFarlane’s always-on sense of irreverence, used to such hit-and-miss effect in his bizarrely long-running TV shows, but it’s also something of a relief, because we’ve finally found the thing that Seth MacFarlane would take the piss out of Seth MacFarlane for if he wasn’t Seth MacFarlane. A fucking swing album? It’s comedy gold. I can almost smell the hilarious Family Guy cutaway to the time Peter accidentally opened for Seth MacFarlane at Carnegie Hall wearing nothing but a pair of oversized clown shoes.
I’m not entirely sure what the etiquette is on posting longer clips, but I’ll leave you with the first minute and a half of Seth MacFarlane and Norah Jones’s cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Two Sleepy People’. If you enjoy it, you might like to buy the full album at Amazon.