If ever there was a lyric video that justified its own existence, it’s “Semicolon,” the new nerdy knee-slapper from the Lonely Island. With an assist from Solange, Andy Samberg’s joke-rap posse does their best to exemplify proper use of the oft misunderstood punctuation mark — though it turns out their best is not very good at all. A semicolon is used to connect similar independent clauses (that means two related complete sentences) not already linked by a conjunction, such as “but.” The Lonely Island use it instead to deliver one-word punchlines, a job better left to the semicolon’s half-sibling: the colon.
As for the jokes, those get a solid C+, but the younger Miss Knowles slays as the hook-singing schoolmarm who plugs the word “semicolon” into formulaic radio choruses like, “These semicolons are my light inside the dark.”
Recommended listening game: Guess the word or phrase that’s going to complete each lyric couplet. The song, of course, hails from the trio’s forthcoming star-studded third offering, The Wack Album. So far the strongest entry is “Spring Break,” which pits boob-hounding bro-culture against the old theory that frat boys really just want to make love to one another. The wackest, by far, is “I Fucked My Aunt,” a one-note gag that’s saved by a clutch T-Pain cameo. The entire long-playing laughterbatory thing comes out June 11 on Universal Republic. Word to Oxnard.