Albert Brooks

A Star Is Bought

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The concept of A Star is Bought is that Albert Brooks has decided to become a massive crossover music star, and so has designed and constructed an album to appeal to as many constituencies as possible. Brooks appeals to various famous friends, asking such musicians as Alice Cooper and Linda Ronstadt for advice. (Ronstadt advises him to make a record about simple human emotions, which prompts Brooks to reply that he has no simple human emotions). Along the way, Brooks skewers every possible genre, from supposedly unearthing lyrics to Ravel's "Bolero" that reveal it to be a song about a cheap one-night stand ("Should we do it on the floor?/Or should we check into a fine hotel/One with naked paintings?") to "The Englishman-German-Jew Blues," in which blues great Albert King attempts to sing a song while Brooks tries to cheer him up by telling a long-winded shaggy dog story. None of it is laugh-out-loud funny, but most of it is clever and the star cameos are amusing (especially a hyperbolic David Geffen, of all people). The album's sole clunker, "The Albert Brooks Show #112," is an attempt to simulate the pre-TV radio era but goes on far too long. Even at its weakest, however, the album does a superb job of recreating the different genres and eras parodied, which is a credit to Brooks and co-producer Harry Shearer. A Star is Bought isn't a comedy classic, but it is a witty and charming recording, and comedy fans should give it a listen.

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