1. I’m Bo Yo
2. My Whole Family… (Live)
3. Bo Fo Sho (Live)
4. Love Is… (Live)
5. The Perfect Woman (Live)
6. High School Party (Live)
7. Klan Kookout (Live)
8. New Math (Live)
9. I’m Bo Yo (Live)
10. A Love Ballad (Live)
11. Rehab Center for Fictional Characters
12. Welcome to YouTube
13. Dictatertot (Hidden Track)
I would wager that at least 80% of you would recognize this name as the kid who sings dirty songs filled with pun from Youtube. I mean, his videos have been viewed well over 20 million times and in any circle I know of, that’s quite impressive. However, if the music world has taught us anything it’s that the internet doesn’t represent pop culture completely accurately. I mean, we already have a singing comedian [we just premiered his new song], so why do we need another? At least, that was my thought until I gave his label debut, self titled, release which just hit stores. This young man [only 18] has serious musical and comedic talent. Ladies and gentleman, the new king of puns has arrived and his name is Bo Burnham.
It’s always hard to review a comedy album as it’s such a subjective topic. However, this album has music both live and in studio, along with jokes, so I think we have some ground to cover. I’m not going to go in order, but rather separate studio and live portions.
Bo brings us four studio quality tracks on this release. Each track [with the exception of the hidden one] has been heard previously on Youtube, but never from a legit studio, but if you combine these tracks with his previous EP [Bo Fo Sho] you basically have his entire set of jokes [as far as I'm aware]. The quality is gorgeous and unlike the original release from Stephen Lynch, the studio feel doesn’t kill the impact of the jokes. Actually, with Burnham’s quick delivery and intelligent beyond his years delivery, the studio actually allows us to see the true genius in the wordplay. It’s like a comical Jason Mraz – you have to listen closely to get the full effect. Even aside from jokes, these versions allow us to see the structural skill Burnham possesses. His writing flows and doesn’t venture too far from the rhythm. It’s nothing short of entertaining and though these tracks won’t last for listener as the crowd effect isn’t there, it’s nice to see a musician take enough pride in his work to give us legit recordings.
Now onto the live side of things [which is actually the middle of the record]. Being 18 and not having a lot of road history, I was quite intrigued to see how Burnham would translate to a live setting of peers [this recording seems to take place at a college]. There are brief moments of standup, generally for setting up the following songs, but Burnham demonstrates great comical timing. His self deprecating humor is very approachable, especially with this younger crowd who seem both amused and astounded at the type of language and jokes coming from this young man. Highlights on the musical portion would begin with an a cappella rendition of, “Bo Fo Sho.” There is no apparent reasoning for Burnham’s music-less approach, but he finds the ability to poke fun at himself for doing such and makes it work quite well. In addition, viewer favorites, “New Math,” as well as, “I’m Boy Yo” come across stunningly. The puns and tongue in cheek remarks come across at a mesmerizing speed and as a result, each sequential listen gives you a new hilarious discover. It all sounds perfect and translates great without the visual aid.
There is a hidden track that works to some degree, but feels a bit lacking [minus the explanation of "concentration camps"].
In the end, Bo Burnham proves any nay sayers wrong by conquering the translation from screen to stereo [and stage]. Though most this material has been heard by his fans multiple times, it’s given new life on this disc and should pull some new fans who aren’t into the whole Youtube world. I’m interested in what the next batch of new material will sound like as this young man has made quite a name for himself in a relatively small amount of time in the comedy world. Regardless of the future, for now, we’re red in the face from Bo Burnham’s solo debut and can only hope for even more laughs in the future.
*Written By: James Shotwell*