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Rock - Released January 1, 1984 | Universal Records

1984's perfect, side-splitting rock documentary spoof This Is Spinal Tap wouldn't have succeeded if Spinal Tap's "original" music didn't properly mimic what it poked fun at. But not only does the music have the exact traits of hard rock and heavy metal, the lyrics are a scream. The soundtrack features the howlingly funny songs used in director Rob Reiner's film. The music was all co-written by Reiner, Michael McKean (aka vocalist/guitarist David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (aka lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel), and Harry Shearer (aka bassist Derek Smalls). McKean, Guest, and Shearer -- all extremely talented comic actors and writers -- are credited with performing the music along with a keyboardist, drummer, and synthesizer player. "Hell Hole" and "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" are mindlessly catchy. The appropriately melodramatic "Heavy Duty" has a cliched, hysterical chorus. "Rock and Roll Creation" and "Stonehenge" mock the music and image of mystical, allegedly demonic bands like Black Sabbath; "Stonehenge" in particular is a riot thanks to Tufnel's narration about the Druids. "Big Bottom" and "Sex Farm" are two more highlights that needle the rampant misogyny, sexism, and machismo in the heavy metal subculture. "America," "Cups and Cakes," "Gimme Some Money," and "(Listen to The) Flower People" show a keen sense of rock history because they are meant to illustrate the '60s pop and psychedelia that influenced heavy metal's originators. The fictional liner notes are very funny too; included are the album covers of "Rock ‘N' Roll Creation," "Brainhammer," "Shark Sandwich," "Heavy Metal Memories," "The Sun Never Sweats," and "Intravenus de Milo," as well as the band's bio in The Rocklopedia Brittanicus. The 2000 remastered CD -- re-released in conjunction with the DVD and VHS re-releases -- includes lyrics and two versions of "Christmas With the Devil" as bonus tracks. ~ Bret Adams
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Pop - Released January 1, 1992 | Geffen* Records

Since Spinal Tap only existed for the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, the idea that Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer were actually going to release a studio album rather than a soundtrack brought on a tremendous amount of anticipation. The resulting product is Break Like the Wind, a record that, like the 1984 soundtrack, boasts powerful guitar and surprisingly decent vocals, along with some quite silly song themes. Unfortunately, when it comes to satirical bands, one can only hear these kind of songs a certain number of times before they become tedious. Instead of sticking to its roots, the album is also sometimes overshadowed by its celebrity appearances and heavy performances, which make it seem like the players were actually trying to make their listeners think that the album wasn't just a big joke. Break Like the Wind may have not been the comeback everyone was hoping for, but it certainly has enough amusing moments to be worth a listen. ~ Barry Weber

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