This magnificent live in-concert CD opens with the South Park Theme by Primus, assisted by the lovable urchins (is that the ill-fated Kenny's muffled voice?) and concludes with a distinctive sound associated with the Canadian superstars Terrance and Phillip. Chef charmingly introduces the artists, from Crystal Method, Ozzy Osborne, DMX and Dirty Ol' Bastard doing Nowhere To Run after a rather rude introduction. This is followed by a stunning solo performance by Chef on the soulful Chocolate Salty Balls.
A highlight of the album is Eric Cartman's stirring rendition of Come Sail Away, performed with a maturity that belies his age. This is really gorgeous. Brad Logan by Rancid is a passionate slab of angry rock as is Hot Lava by Perry Farrell. The South Park urchins appear with Wyclef Jean on the tuneful ballad Bubblegoose. Wake Up Wendy sees Elton John in a rocking mood on this great love song with its rollicking keyboards, whilst Huboon Stomp by Devo represents a welcome return by these 1980s new wavers and Love Gravy is a surprisingly soulful duet by the legendary Ike Turner and Rick James.
Feel Like Makin' Love by Ned Gerblansky sounds like something by The Residents, and another highlight is H°m0 Rainbow by Ween, sensitively introduced by Chef, and what a beautiful rock ballad it is! Speaking of which, Meat Loaf puts in a sparkling, if somewhat over-energized, performance on his duet with Chef, Tonight Is Right For Love. The chef manages to restrain him, and they conclude the song in soulful harmony to rapturous applause.
Next up is Joe Strummer with It's A Rockin' World, an impressive old-style rock song. Mentally Dull by Vitro and the South Park Cast concludes this riveting live album and here one can hear not only the urchins but their wonderful mothers too, on a fabulous grand finale. Chef Aid is remarkable in its diversity, with shlt hot rock, hip-hop, funk and smooth soul by the lovable Chef himself; it's the best live album in my collection. Sure it's a bit rude here and there but so is popular culture nowadays.
Chef Aid: The South Park Album, clocking in at an amazing one hour and seventeen minutes, is fantastic which ever way you look at it. South Park fanatics like me can’t get enough of the tracks featuring South Park characters, but there is plenty of great stuff here that even the most anti-South Park individual out there can enjoy. Several big-name stars add their talent to the album; some of yesterday’s coolest performers turn up to entertain us one more time; the variety of song styles is incredibly diverse; and there are some of the oddest yet most effective collaborations you can ever imagine. Rap meets hard rock in a song guaranteed to rock the house, as Ozzy Osbourne, DMX, and Old Dirty Bastard team up on the supercharged Nowhere to Run. While I’m on the subject of collaborative efforts, take a listen at Will They Die 4 You featuring Mase, Puffy, Lil’ Kim, and System of a Down; it’s a cool and funky nougat wrapped inside a hard-edged shell of rock and roll.
Of course, the South Park characters steal the show time and time again. Any Chef Aid album has to have cuts from the man in the big white hat himself, and Chef gives us three of his classic performances, songs which we had only been able to hear snippets of on the show: fan favorite Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You), Simultaneous, and No Substitute. Then Chef teams up with Meatloaf to record a quite memorable version of his classic love song Tonight is Right For Love, and he makes uncredited appearances on a number of other songs, including the rather hilarious entry from the larynx-challenged Ned Gerblansky. Two other Chef tracks are included here, but they appear in the form of covers by other artists. Perry Farrell and D.V.D.A. team up for Hot Lava, while Love Gravy is performed by the dynamic duo of funk-meister Rick James and Ike Turner.
Of course, there’s no way you are going to keep my main man Eric Cartman off an album such as this. As all fans of the show know, his favorite song, one he has to sing through in its entirety whenever he hears just a snippet of it, is Come Sail Away; the full version a la Cartman is a great treat, especially toward the end when Chef tries to jump in and hijack the song. Cartman’s not through yet, though, as he, along with Stan, Kyle, and Kenny, teams up with Wyclef Jean on the hugely entertaining song Bubblegoose. Most likely you are expecting to hear Cartman’s famous Kyle’s Mom’s a big fat B— on here; don’t despair, as it does indeed eventually arrive to close the album out on a perfect note.
Master P’s smooth delivery of Kenny’s Dead is great, the contributions of Rancid, Ween, Joe Strummer, and 70s icon Devo are unusual yet a lot of fun, and even Elton John manages to rock out pretty impressively. The undeniably catchy song Horny is presented in a very unusual way, with Matt and Trey explaining throughout the course of it just how much they hate the song and do not want it on the album. There is really only one bad song on the album. Mephisto and Kevin, Primus’ non-theme song contribution, is not even what I would call a song and succeeds only in becoming a sad mockery of itself.
As a South Park fan, I love this album. Perhaps the best thing about it, though, is its inclusion of artists I was not previously familiar with; I may never have heard of the likes of Wyclef Jean, for example, had I not purchased this album, and that is the reason I believe that South Park opponents can enjoy this album almost as much as us hard-core South Park fans.
on 28 September 2000
There can be no doubting the fact that South Park is one of the best shows currently on TV, so it is no surprise that when the producers of the show announced the fact that they wanted to do a soundtrack album that some of the biggest names in the music industry volunteered. The album is a wide mix of styles such as the rap of "Kenny's Dead" by Master P and "Bubblegoose" by Wyclef Jean as well as the hard rock of "Mephisto And Kevin" by Primus and "Brad Logan" by Rancid as well as the dance of "Horny" by Mousse T vs Hot N Juicy and the soul of "Chocolate Salty Balls (PS I Love You)" by Chef (A.K.A. Isaac Hayes) and "Love Gravy" by Rick James and Ike Turner, just proving that South Park appeals to all types and if you enjoy the show you will definitely enjoy the soundtrack as it features guest appearances and sound bites from the shows stars, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. Overall it's a great soundtrack featuring a diverse range of artists and is highly recommended.