The last three years have seen Jimmy Fallon evolve his professional personality into quite possibly the most endearing in all of late night while pushing the format of the late night show by imbuing every facet of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with sincerity and a passion for making the best show he and his crew can possibly create. The sincerity of Fallon mixed with the knowledge and respect he has of music and the backing of the best band in late night, The Roots, are a perfect combination for the unique approach to comedic music on display throughout Blow Your Pants Off, Fallon’s first album in a decade.
In a lot of ways, Blow Your Pants Off plays like a “best of” album from the highlights of Late Night… The inclusion of the crowd noise from the original recordings retains the energy and the richness of the live performances as well as the utter sense of joy that emanates from Jimmy Fallon and the many musical guests he brings along. Within the first six songs there are appearances by Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, The Doors and Eddie Vedder. The variety of the artists and the genres they represent as well as the way Fallon acclimates himself to stand comfortably alongside each of them speaks to the trust they have in his talent as well as a willingness to understand and accentuate their distinctive qualities to make the most of these songs.
Paul McCartney’s willingness to accentuate the mild absurdities of his lifestyle in “Scrambled Eggs” is an immediate highlight. To have a legendary musician poke fun at himself and have a splendid time doing so speaks volumes about Jimmy Fallon’s ability to find the heart of these songs and open his collaborators to bring the heart out. Dave Matthews singing “Walk of Shame,” a song about a quintessentially college experience adds a sense of meta to a song that could quickly devolve into distasteful. And country-rockers Big & Rich, a definitively “mom-band,” singing about hunting cougars is a second-half highlight of Blow Your Pants Off. The album also features ubiquitous, viral Late Night… classics “History of Rap” with Justin Timberlake and “Slow Jam the News” with Brian Williams as well as incredible solo efforts “Tebowie” and “Jeremy (Linsanity),” the latter of which to the tune of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.”
The ability of Fallon to find a fresh take on each of these subjects and songs mixed with his energy and fervor gives Blow Your Pants Off a surprising amount of replay value. I admit that I was leery going in that the album would not play as well outside of the context of the accompanying video of each song, but that is far from the case. Jimmy Fallon’s charisma and charm allows these songs to stand on their own and stand outside of the standard expectations of musical comedy albums. Jimmy Fallon has just begun to realize the potential opportunities within the format of the late show. The seeds of that potential were sewn and began to flourish within many of the songs found here and marks the evolution of one of comedy’s most outspoken supporters and most talented and creative minds. Jimmy Fallon’s new album may not blow your mind, but I assure you that it will blow your pants off.