Richard Cheese – Lounge Against the Machine: #640 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Richard Cheese - Lounge Against the Machine

Why is Richard Cheese’s Lounge Against the Machine on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Waitress, can I get a vodka martini with a twist of sub-lime? Thank you.

Some stats & info about Richard Cheese – Lounge Against the Machine  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Lounge Music, Comedy Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Lounge Against the Machine released? 2000
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #640 out of 1,000

Richard Cheese’s Lounge Against the Machine on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does Richard Cheese’s Lounge Against the Machine mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I’ll be honest I: This is one of those albums that I struggled with because, well, let’s start with the artist’s name: Richard Cheese (which is the stage name that Mark Jonathan Davis uses). More broadly, it’s a challenge when trying to rank (and the inherent judging and critiquing that comes with placing artistic output in some kind of listed order) “comedic content” against more serious pursuits.

So while I’m always thinking about the potential for people to say, “You ranked X ahead of Y?” I’m particularly sensitive when it comes to an album produced by the inestimable Richard Cheese.

And yet.

I’ll be honest II: I love everything that Richard Cheese does. I enjoy the music as parody, I enjoy the lounge arrangements of alt rock, punk rock, and even occasional hip hop songs, and I flat out enjoy the music overall. I chose Lounge Against the Machine for the best 1,000 albums ever because the songs chosen are particularly interesting and fun, but they’re all great. It’s chill out music and often pretty hilarious music at the same time. I call that impressive.

The key, the genius, to the Works of Richard Cheese is that they are designed to absolutely fool listeners who are unfamiliar with the source material and not aware that Mr. Cheese and co. have comedic intent. The songs actually work as Vegas-style shtick with fabulous piano-driven arrangements. But when you are are aware, it opens things up to be enjoyed on the multiple levels I describe above.

A cover of The Offspring’s “Come Out and Play” is a perfect example. The tempo is slowed way down versus the song we love, the acoustic bass dropping that telltale hook slowly and even solemnly. Cheese slowly builds momentum with his vocals and leans hard on the, “…Heeeey, come out and play!” The only flat-out wink to the audience is a “l’chaim!” thrown in for good measure.

Doing the Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday in Cambodia” shows just how far and weird R. Cheese and crew are willing to go to grab material. And of course they take the brilliantly caustic punk rock original and play it literally as a holiday lounge song. Incredible. “Merry Christmas everybody!”

And then we head back to the ‘80s for an absolutely stupid funny cover of Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right.”


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