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I bet you they won't play this album on the radio!
"This record has been skillfully crafted by British comedians using ancient wellworn, classical handtool jokes. It has been specially designed to sit at the back of your record collection amongst the old Frank Sinatra albums to be brought out and split up when you get divorced. Any complaints about the humorous quality of this album should be addressed to British Airways, Ingraham's Drive, Greenwich."
Eric Idle during "Announcement"

Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album is the fourth and final studio album by English comedy troupe Monty Python. Released in 1980 through Charisma Records in the UK and Arista Records in the US, it is as full of sketches and songs as their other releases. 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".


Side One
  1. "Sit On My Face" (0:44)
  2. "Announcement" (0:21)
  3. "Henry Kissinger" (0:48)
  4. "String" (2:19)
  5. "Never Be Rude To An Arab" (1:00)
  6. "I Like Chinese" (3:10)
  7. "Bishop" (2:33)
  8. "Medical Love Song" (2:09)
  9. "Farewell To John Denver" (0:15) note 
  10. "Finland" (2:18)
  11. "I'm So Worried" (3:18)
  12. "End Of Side 1: Announcement" (5:29) note 

Side Two

  1. "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song On The Radio" (0:54)
  2. "Martyrdom of St. Victor" (1:41)
  3. "Here Comes Another One" (1:58)
  4. "Bookshop" (4:22)
  5. "Do What John?" (0:34)
  6. "Rock Notes" (2:11)
  7. "Muddy Knees" (2:10)
  8. "Crocodile" (2:34)
  9. "Decomposing Composers" (2:43)
  10. "Bells" (2:22)
  11. "Traffic Lights" (1:55)
  12. "All Things Dull And Ugly" (1:28)
  13. "A Scottish Farewell" (0:23)

2006 Bonus Tracks

  1. "Contractual Obligation – Terry Jones and Graham Chapman Promotional Interview"
  2. "Radio Ad Obligation Promo"
  3. "Medical Love Song" [Alternate Demo Version]
  4. "I'm So Worried" [Demo Version]


I like troping lights

  • 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.
  • Alternate Album Cover: The vinyl artwork features a version of the paper label of the record visible on the outer sleeve. In the UK, the Charisma label is visible (despite not matching the image above) while in the USA it's the Artista label. On CD, the label is edited out on some releases.
  • 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."
  • Bowdlerize:
    • 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.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: "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.
  • 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.
  • Genre Mashup:
    • "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". The singer is killed a few seconds in.
    • "Decomposing Composers" has various Standard Snippets from classical compositions.
    • "All Things Dull And Ugly" is done in the style of a Cherubic Choir.
  • 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 Michael Palin 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.
    • "Never Be Rude To An Arab" has the singer pleading the listener to not be racist, only to use racial slurs in the song.
  • 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.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: There is literally no cover, only a white LP sleeve with the following conversation scribbled in the left corner:
    Eric Idle:Can T.G. do a nice eye-catching cover to help it sell?
    Terry Jones: Not really worth it.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • "String"
    • "Finland"
    • "Bishop"
    • "Bookshop"
    • "Crocodile"
    • "Bells"
  • 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
    I-oh, god...
  • 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".
  • Running Gagged: "A Scottish Farewell" It's actually "Here Comes Another One" but with bagpipes and the singer is violently killed a few seconds in.
  • Self-Titled Album: The group is mentioned in the title.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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?