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Seth MacFarlane: From Cartooning to Crooning

Family Guy creator goes Sinatra on lush big-band vocal debut

Seth MacFarlane

From a cursory glance, Music Is Better Than Words (Universal Republic) seems like the very type of album that Seth MacFarlane would lampoon on his satirical TV shows Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. The disc showcases the 37-year-old award-winning comedian and voice actor fronting a 55-piece orchestra and singing gems from the 1950s. In an increasingly bloated field of pop figures and actors tackling the venerable Great American Songbook with big-budgeted releases, jazz purists continue to give these projects the sinister side-eye.

“If I was doing a pop record in the style of Lady Gaga, there would be no way that I could not make fun of it. But this style of music and these musicians are the real deal,” MacFarlane explains over the phone, while taking a break from directing his first full-length film, the live-action Ted. “Family Guy viewers are very aware that I take the music side of things very seriously, [and that] this is not that much of a stretch. I’ve done a couple of numbers on the show as Brian, the dog. And those have been pretty straightforward jazz ballads and they sounded not that much different from this record.”

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