Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album is a 1980 album by Monty Python full with sketches and songs. Some material is old, but a lot of it is new, especially the songs "Sit On My Face", "I Like Chinese", "Never Be Rude To An Arab", "Finland" and "Decomposing Composers".
- "Sit On My Face" (0:44)
- "Announcement" (0:21)
- "Henry Kissinger" (0:48)
- "String" (2:19)
- "Never Be Rude To An Arab" (1:00)
- "I Like Chinese" (3:10)
- "Bishop" (2:33)
- "Medical Love Song" (2:09)
- "Farewell To John Denver" (0:15)
- "Finland" (2:18)
- "I'm So Worried" (3:18)
- "End Of Side 1: Announcement" (5:29) note
- "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song On The Radio" (0:54)
- "Martyrdom of St. Victor" (1:41)
- "Here Comes Another One" (1:58)
- "Bookshop" (4:22)
- "Do What John?" (0:34)
- "Rock Notes" (2:11)
- "Muddy Knees" (2:10)
- "Crocodile" (2:34)
- "Decomposing Composers" (2:43)
- "Bells" (2:22)
- "Traffic Lights" (1:55)
- "All Things Dull And Ugly" (1:28)
- "A Scottish Farewell" (0:23)
- Graham Chapman
- John Cleese
- Eric Idle
- Terry Jones
- Michael Palin
- The Fred Tomlinson Singers: vocal choirs
I like troping lights
- Absentee Actor: Terry Gilliam doesn't appear on this album, as on most of the Monty Python albums. A liner note mentions that he only showed up "for lunch."
- A Cappella: "Traffic Lights" is sung by Terry Jones and a choir.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Invoked in "Bells"Husband: The principle's the same. Bleedin' C. of E.! The Mohammedans don't come 'round here wavin' bells at us! We don't get Buddhists playing bagpipes in our bathroom! Or Hindus harmonizing in the hall! The Shintoists don't come here shattering sheet glass in the shithouse, and shouting slogans-
Wife: All right, don't practice your alliteration on me.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: "Never Be Rude To An Arab" may seem like just another example of the troupe's boundary-pushing humour, but there is actually a Danish song titled "Jeg har set en rigtig negermand"note which is basically the same concept, except played 100 percent straight.
- Animal Motifs: "Rock Notes" features a rock band who changed their name several times and nearly always something related to fish.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The church in "Bells" starts to walk.
- Anti-Love Song: "Sit On My Face" about sex and "Medical Love Song", in which the singer sings about all the STD's he caught from his lover.
- Bilingual Bonus: Certain lines in "I Like Chinese" are sung in Mandarin and translate to "I love Chinese people. How are you, how are you, how are you, goodbye."
- Terry Jones announces a sketch was left out due to "legal advice", which is followed by a slight silence. This wasn't a joke by the way. The track there was originally titled "Farewell to John Denver" and features the country singer (played by Eric Idle) singing the first line of a parody of "Annie's Song" (You came on my pillow,), before being strangled. On legal advice the sketch was omitted. Later CD releases reinstated it, but when Denver himself died in a plane crash in 1997 the 2006 reissue reverted to Jones' apology.
- "I Bet You That They Won't Play This Song On The Radio" plays this for laughs, bleeping out so many words that the song becomes incomprehensible.
- Broken Aesop: Invoked for comedy.
- "Never Be Rude To An Arab", in which the singer tells us to not use offensive racial language, only to do it himself and being blown up as a result.
- "Martyrdom of St. Victor" in which St. Victor spends 16 days and 16 nights in the presence of a harem of women who fondle and stroke him until he cries out how "fantastic this is."For fifteen days and nights did Victor withstand these maidens, but on the sixteenth day he cried out, saying: "This...is fantastic! Oh...this is terrific!" And the Lord did hear the cry of Victor. And verily came He down and slew the maidens. And caused their cottonwool bugs to blow away, and their Kleenex to be laid waste utterly. And Victor, in his anguish, cried out that the Lord was a rotten bastard. So the Lord sent an angel to comfort Victor for the weekend. And entered they together the jaccuzzi. Here endeth the lesson.
- Buxom Is Better: "Henry Kissinger"But you got nicer legs than Hitler
And bigger tits than Cher
- Cherubic Choir: "All Things Dull And Ugly" is sung by a children's choir, but instead of positive things it's all about Crapsack World stuff, making it a case of Creepy Children Singing.
- Continuity Nod: "All Things Dull And Ugly" is a parody of the Christian hymn "All Things Bright And Beautiful", a song that was sung before but straight during "The Bishop Sketch" from The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief.
- Covers Always Lie: The "Bookshop" sketch is a comedy skit from At Last the 1948 Show (1967-1968) and thus has nothing to do with Monty Python, other that John Cleese originally performed it, albeit with Marty Feldman in the original series. Here Feldman's part is performed by Graham Chapman.
- Crapsack World:
- "I Like Chinese"The world today seems absolutely crackers
With nuclear bombs to blow us all sky high
There's fools and idiots sitting on the trigger.
It's depressing and it's senseless
- "All Things Dull And Ugly"All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all.
- "I Like Chinese"
- Darker and Edgier
- Deadline News: During the "man being eaten by a crocodile event", the reporter stood too close to the crocodile pit and got eaten.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: "Yin and Yang" is mentioned in "I Like Chinese" as one of the things that the singer likes about the people.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Like the title boldly admits, it was indeed put together to complete a contract with Charisma Records.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "I'm So Worried" does this twice. The second time around apparently was convincing enough for the background singers and orchestra, as they can be heard scrambling to get back to their places when Terry Jones starts singing again.
- God Is Evil: "All Things Dull And Ugly" implies this by noting that God created all the ills of the world.
- Grief Song: "Decomposing Composers", where Terry Jones lists all the composers who are dead now.
- Hollywood Atheist: "Bells" features a (lapsed) atheist complaining about the church bells ringing.
- I Have Many Names: "Rock Notes" features Eric Idle reading how the band Dead Monkeys changed their name several times, being called- in chronological order: Dead Salmon, Trout, Fried Trout, Poached Trout In A White Wine Sauce, Herring, Red Herring, Dead Herring, Dead Loss, Heads Together, Dead Together, Dead Gear, Dead Donkeys, Lead Donkeys, Sole Meunière, Dead Sole, Rock Cod, Turbot, Haddock, White Bait, the Plaices, Fish, Bream, Mackerel, Salmon, Poached Salmon, Poached Salmon In A White Wine Sauce, Salmon Meunière and Helen Shapiro.note Just as Idle is confident that they will be called Dead Monkeys forever, he is phoned with the question: what does he think of "Dead Duck"? Or "Lobster"?
- Innocent Bigot:
- "I Like Chinese", a list of the most benign stereotypes about Chinese people.I like Chinese,
I like Chinese,
They only come up to your knees,
Yet they're always friendly and they're ready to please.
- Turned Up to Eleven with "Never Be Rude To An Arab".
- "I Like Chinese", a list of the most benign stereotypes about Chinese people.
- Intercourse with You: "Sit On My Face" is all about enjoying oral sex.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: Happens to the bells of the titular sketch, after the church gets shot down.
- Limited Lyrics Song: "Traffic Lights", "Do What John" and "Here Comes Another One" are mostly the same lyrics over and over again.
- Location Song: "Finland Song", a comedic song about the marvels of this country. When Palin went to the country in one of his travel shows he sang this song while kayaking.
- Long Title: "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song On The Radio".
- Minimalistic Cover Art: There is literally no cover, only a white LP sleeve with the following conversation scribbled in the left corner:
- National Stereotypes:
- "I Like Chinese" describes the Chinese as numerous, wise, witty, cute, cuddly and ready to please. Idle says "they only come up to your knees" and associates them with Maoism, Taoism, I Ching, chess, Zen, ping pong, Yin and Yang and Confucius. He also mentions "their tiny little trees", which is a (deliberate) mistake as bonsai trees are Japanese, though penjing trees are Chinese so perhaps he meant those. Halfway the song an erhu starts playing to add more Chinese atmosphere.
- "A Scottish Farewell" is performed on bagpipes and sung with a Scottish accent.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: "Crocodile" is about an international contest for the sports event being eaten by a crocodile.
- Neo Classical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly:
- "Henry Kissinger" is a 1920s music hall style song.
- "Here Comes Another One" is performed with a classical orchestra and in a Country Music style. It returns being played with bagpipes during "A Scottish Farewell".
- "Decomposing Composers" has various Standard Snippets from classical compositions.
- "All Things Dull And Ugly" is done in the style of a Cherubic Choir.
- News Parody: "Rock Notes" and "Crocodile" are fake news reports, where Eric Idle plays the journalist.
- Not Quite Dead: "Rock Notes":Splitting up again to get their heads together, they reformed a fortnight later as Heads Together, a tight little name which lasted them through a difficult period when their drummer was suspected of suffering from death. It turned out to be only a rumor.
- N-Word Privileges: Parodied in "Never Be Rude To An Arab". The singer, who does not have N-word privileges, recites lines such as "Never poke fun at a nigger". The song abruptly ends with him getting blown up as if by divine retribution.
- Odd Name Out: "Rock Notes" discusses the various names of the band Dead Monkeys all of which were related to fish and/or had some variant on "Dead" except the last one Helen Shapiro, which is a reference to a pop singer who was popular during the 1960s.
- One-Word Title:
- Overly Long Gag: A good chunk of the tracks revolve around this. "Traffic Lights" lampshades it.I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
- The Parody:
- "Sit On My Face" is a melodical parody of "Sing As We Go" by English music hall singer Gracie Fields. It actually got the group under threat of legal persecution because of copyright infringement.
- "Martyrdom of St. Victor" is a parody of a Christian sermon.
- "All Things Dull And Ugly" is a parody of an Anglican choir song called "All Things Bright And Beautiful".
- "Muddy Knees" is a parody of "Ol' Man River" by Paul Robeson.
- Pun-Based Title: "Decomposing Composers".
- Questioning Title?: "Do What John?"
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The album actually was made to satisfy a recording contract.
- Reference Overdosed:
- "Decomposing Composers" summarizes various well known European 18th and 19th century composers.
- "Medical Love Song" lists various STDs, using medical terminology provided by Graham Chapman who was a qualified doctor.
- Royal Harem: "Martyrdom Of St. Victor" has Saint Victor spent 16 days and nights with "maidens of the Orient".
- Self-Titled Album: The group is mentioned in the title.
- "Henry Kissinger" provides a shout-out to Henry Kissinger.
- In "Bishop", when one of the sound engineers asks why they couldn't get the bishop of Bath and Wells to record their beer commercial, he's told that "he's doing frozen peas for Nigel", a reference to the legendary recording of Orson Welles's failed attempt at providing narration for a Findus frozen peas commercial.
- During "String" Cleese wants to make an advertisement for string and envisions an Greek Orthodox bishop standing next to a nude woman in a bath.How about Makarios? No, no he's dead. Never mind, we'll get his brother it'll be cheaper.note
- "Book Shop" mentions authors like Charles Dickens, Biggles and "The Gospel According To Charley Drake". Charley Drake was a British comedian.
- "Decomposing Composers" informs us the following composers have passed away: Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt, Edward Elgar, Franz Schubert, Fryderyk Chopin, George Frederic Handel, Joseph Haydn, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Carl Maria von Weber, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Modest Mussorgsky and Johann Nepomuk Hummel.
- The band Toad the Wet Sprocket was named after a sketch, "Rock Notes", on this album where Eric Idle mentions a fictional band with that name. In Idle's own words, "I was trying to think of a name that would be so silly nobody would ever use it, or dream it could ever be used." Apparently it was just silly enough that someone thought it would be hilarious to use it anyway. His reaction to hearing a real DJ announce the name for the first time? "I nearly drove off the freeway."
- The Something Song: "Finland" (sometimes called "The Finland Song") and "Medical Love Song".
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Liberally and creatively used in "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song on the Radio".
- Standard Snippet: "Decomposing Composers" quotes from Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D, Ludwig van Beethoven's opening bars from the Fifth Symphony, Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and the rondo from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4.
- STD Immunity: Averted in "Medical Love Song", in which Chapman lists several sexually transmitted diseases contracted by his loved one.
- Stuff Blowing Up:
- The accidental racist in "Never Be Rude To An Arab" is blown up near the end of the song.
- The church in "Bells" is shot down with a missile.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Near the end of "Traffic Lights", Terry Jones sings the line "Although my name's not Bamber", obviously setting up the rhyme for "amber" (as green and red lights were mentioned in the previous verses), but eventually gives up before getting to it.
- Swallowed Whole: In "Crocodile", news reporter Brian Goebbels is swallowed alive by a crocodile.
- Take That!: In "Farewell to John Denver", Denver sings the opening line of a parody of "Annie's Song" and then gets strangled.
- Time Marches On: Harold Duke in "Crocodile" is said to have "trained every British team since 1928."
- Unsatisfiable Customer: The customer in the bookshop sketch asks for several books with titles similar to ones by Charles Dickens, refuses to buy Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds unless the gannet is removed (and then refuses to buy it because there's a page missing), and eventually reveals after he finds a book he does want that he has no money and can't read.
- War Is Hell: The spoken word intro to "I Like Chinese" talks about how crazy the world has gotten and mentions the possibility of nuclear warfare.
- Worrying for the Wrong Reason: "I'm So Worried", in which the singer (Terry Jones) is worried about just about anything, including the Middle East, baggage retrieval system at Heathrow airport, fashions, TV shows, his hair falling out, the state of the world, being full of self doubt, modern technology, things dumped in the sea, everything that can go wrong, whether people like this song and the next verse and whether he should have stopped the song or just carried on?