Mouth Moods is an hour long mash-up album released by Neil Cicierega, perennial internet staple behind the band Lemon Demon, the flash animation turned physical puppet show “Potter Puppet Pals,” and viral videos “Brodyquest” and “Ariel Needs Legs.” Mouth Moods is the third album in Cicierega’s mash-up series, preceded by Mouth Sounds and Mouth Silence. It is entirely ridiculous and more than slightly immature. It also made me crack up at my desk multiple times.
Mouth Moods brilliantly employs so many types of humor that it’s nearly impossible to count. First off: the humor of repetition. Phrases are repeated ad nauseum, going from funny, to obnoxious, back to funny again. Cicierega has already proven himself to be a master at the type of humor, as shown by “Brodyquest,” and he puts his skills to amazing use on the album. Nowhere is this more apparent than the first track, “The Starting Line,” which starts off by repeating the phrase “this is the story of a girl” from the song “Absolutely (The Story of a Girl)” by the band Nine Days for around a minute straight. I won’t lie: by the time I was about fifteen seconds into that track, I had developed a tiny little hatred for Nine Days. But Cicierega does not back off: he commits to the gag, sporadically interspersing “this is the story of a girl” throughout the remainder of the song, something that (at least for me) inevitably paid off wonderfully.
Likewise, it brilliantly employs the humor of contrast. Videos of little kids swearing will always be an America’s Funniest Home Video staple because it contrasts two opposing images (innocent children and swear words) for hilariously unexpected results. Throughout the album, Cicierega expertly pairs two songs from diametrically opposed genres: a staple of plenty of Internet mash-ups. The majority of these song-to-song mashups favor chipper, upbeat music paired with over-the-top, ridiculous vocal lines. While some of the comparisons are weaker than others, when it’s good, it’s VERY good. The stand-out track is “The End” which pairs a Linkin Park vocal line over instrumentals from the Doobie Brothers. Likewise, all of his song choices are recognizable, pulling from Top 40 hits of the 1990s and 2000s, classic rock radio staples, or memeable songs, recognizable due to their repeated exposure on the internet (“All Star”, “Smooth”).
Still, humor is subjective. It’s entirely possible and probably likely that there’s someone out there who this album does absolutely nothing for. But while humor is subjective, skill isn’t. Mouth Moods is a triumph of editing. The highlights of the album are when Cicierega takes a song and drastically remixes it, chopping lyrics up and rearranging phrases to create a new product entirely. A remix of the Ray Parker Jr. song “Ghostbusters” titled “Bustin” is a stellar example of Cicierega’s adeptness with remix culture. This track might seem familiar: in 2015, Cicierega released a version of the section onto his Youtube account. Through meticulous cutting and splicing, Ray Parker Jr’s song about fighting ghosts is turned into a song about beds, sleep, and…well, how “busting makes me feel good.” “Bustin” flows in a practically seamless manner, as Cicierega remixes “Ghostbusters” into something nonsensical that paradoxically manages to make perfect sense in the bizarre narrative established by the song.
This certainly isn’t going to be for everyone. Some might find the repeated references to bums and busting absolutely immature. Likewise, one of the tracks is comprised entirely of grunts, groans, and odd vocal noises from other songs, something that you’ll either love or hate. And for music purists, there’s at least going to be one track where you’ll be a little bit offended: surely he didn’t use “Stairway” like THAT. But for those of us who enjoy very silly humor or a technically sound mash-up, this album won’t disappoint and will have you trying your hardest not to bust out laughing with you listen. Mouth Moods makes me feel good.