Lounge music and rock ‘n’ roll. Dare I say, it’s a match made in heaven.
The bastard child of Bill Murray’s “Starrrrr Waaaaarrrs!” singer from Saturday Night Live, Richard Cheese and his band Lounge Against The Machine take on the heavyweights of alt-rock, from Slipknot to the Beastie Boys to Snoop Dogg, running them through a purifying rinse of sheer lounge-lizard smarm and charm.
Sunny Side culls the best of Cheese’s first three CDs with a selection of new and reworked tunes. It’s a great primer to one of the more oddball talents in music, out there on the fringes of parody with Dread Zeppelin and the godfather of the genre, “Weird Al” Yankovic.
You can’t beat his gloriously offensive cover of Nirvana’s “Rape Me,” which starts off with a sleazy, “This one’s for the ladies!” and ends with a conga-line chorus of “Rape-rape-rape-rape-rape-me!” That right there will give you a clue if you’re in tune with the Cheese-meister. Other highlights on this collection are Cheese’s classic take on Nine Inch Nails’ industrial anthem “Closer” (complete with chorus of “I want to f__k you like an animal”), and a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that manages to be the opposite of everything Radiohead’s ever stood for.
It’s all a fine line between wit and worn-out, and the Cheese joke — uncool lounge versions of raunchy, often profane modern tunes — could easily get old fast. Yet what makes this Cheese fresh is how hard they work. He sings the hell out of these goofy songs, and his band gives them the lounge treatment with smooth-flowing skill.
Best Of offers a solid collection of Cheese, even if it’s not all-inclusive. The CD is short enough that a few more tracks could’ve been packed on (I’m partial myself to his covers of Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” and Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle”). Sure, Cheese is a novelty act, but he’s a darned groovy one. It’s lounge livin’ large, and guaranteed to be the hit of your next party. Or as Cheese himself would say, “Par-tay!”