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Tenacious D, ‘Rize of the Fenix’ – Song Review

Tenacious D
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Tenacious D is nothing if not ambitious. The Jack Black-led duo’s movie ‘Pick of Destiny’ is sort of like the seventh ‘Police Academy’ movie in that it makes you wonder who thought it was a good idea in the first place. We sort of look back on the 2006 flick and think “Huh, how did they get away with that?”

In many ways the band’s new song is more ambitious than the cinematic flop. ‘Rize of the Fenix’ is a mini-rock opera a la the Who‘s ‘Tommy.’ In fact the furious acoustic strumming during the song’s second movement (there are four total movements in the nearly six-minute jam) sounds like ‘Pinball Wizard,’ although it’s clear their influences come more from the early days of the hair bands. Imagine Roger Daltrey after a line of cocaine and a whole lot of Aqua Net. Now you’ve got Tenacious D.

When ‘The Pick of Destiny’ was released it was a bomb / And all the critics said that the D was done,” the song begins over an acoustic. Self-ridicule has always been a strength of Black and Kyle Gass’s.  ‘Rize of the Fenix’ is biographical and ridiculous in all the right ways. Listen closely for throw-away lines like “Black Mamba is my personal friend / Phil Jackson is the master of Zen” and “Bossanova is a beautiful dance.”

The rockers are the “Fenix” and this song is their tale of redemption. It’s their pledge to do proud by the fans who supported them and stood by them for six years between albums. It’s full of balls-to-the-wall rock and a few tender moments of insecurity.

But what if it’s true / If Tenacious D has died what will we do / And what will we do / About all the fans that have the D tattoo,” they sing. “They’ll have to laser off the D tattoos.”

It helps to know a thing or two about Tenacious D before trying to enjoy ‘Rize of the Fenix.’ A newbie is liable to label their music as immature and offensive. They’re right, but the D does it in all the best ways. It feels like the duo came back at the right time, instead of forcing a project upon fans just because they asked for it. This may not be the hit they’re hoping for, but it’s definitely D tattoo worthy.

Listen to Tenacious D’s ‘Rize of the Fenix’

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