Bloodhound Gang

Hefty Fine

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AllMusic Review by

You would think that coming up with a set of 12 tracks -- nine songs and three interludes -- of self-consciously tasteless jokes would be easy, but the long wait between the Bloodhound Gang's third album, 2000's Hooray for Boobies, and their fifth, 2005's Hefty Fine, suggests that might not be the case. Five years is a long time between records for any band, but for a group that had a novelty hit single, as the Bloodhound Gang did in 2000 with "The Bad Touch," it's far too long, since the band will not only fade from popular consciousness, thereby losing all the fair-weather fans who brought them success, but they run the risk that their joke will no longer be funny to their hardcore audience. That's especially true of the Bloodhound Gang, since they've been peddling the same joke with no variation for a decade now, and they're beginning to show their age on Hefty Fine. Heavier and simpler than Hooray for Boobies, Hefty Fine lumbers like the naked fat man on its deliberately repulsive cover -- from the moment the processed distorted guitars kick in on "Balls Out," you know exactly where the album is going, you know that it's not going to have the stamina or imagination to take any detours, and you know that it's going to be exhausted by the time it reaches its destination. This isn't too far removed from the group's other records, but "Fire Water Burn" and "The Bad Touch" had both insistent hooks and some startlingly funny absurdist pop culture juxtapositions. Here, Jimmy Pop gets his best joke out of the way in the spoken opener -- "Eminem's gotta cuss in his raps to sell records/Well, me too/So f*ck Will Smith" -- and then recycles his barbs about various bodily fluids, porn stars, and flatulence, never mustering the energy to come up with a good one-liner or two. Similarly, the music is tired, almost all plodding 4/4 alt-metal, with the exception of parodies of dance music from the early '90s. That target is outdated now, and that's the larger problem with Hefty Fine -- the humor may be perpetually adolescent, but the Bloodhound Gang's music is stuck in the '90s, so it can't really appeal to a new era of teenagers. Plus, Jimmy Pop and the gang are starting to show their age: not that he sounds interested in anything other than dumb jokes, but Pop sounds a little too old and worn-out to be doing the same old thing now that he's approaching his mid-thirties. So, Hefty Fine finds the Bloodhound Gang in a Catch-22 -- they've never wanted to be anything other than a dumb, silly hard rock band, but their schtick is getting tired, yet they're trapped by the confines of what they want to be. There's no way out of this box and sooner or later either the band or the audience is going to lose interest -- Hefty Fine may not be the album where either throws in the towel, but it will likely be seen as the tipping point, the moment when the group grew a little too old to keep up the charade of being eternal teenagers.

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