'Weird Al' Yankovic

Misunderstood child genius.
*special introductory paragraph!
*My Bologna 7"
*Another One Rides The Bus EP
*"Weird Al" Yankovic
*In 3-D
*Dare To Be Stupid
*Polka Party!
*Even Worse
*Peter And The Wolf (with Wendy Carlos)
*"UHF" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff
*Off The Deep End
*Alapalooza
*Headline News CD-single
*Bad Hair Day
*Gump CD-single
*Running With Scissors
*Poodle Hat
*Straight Outta Lynwood
*Alpocalypse
Reliable, I guess we can call him. Painfully predictable, too. Ever since his breakthrough in the early '80s, pop parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic has done a pretty impressive job of reusing the same tired formula over and over and over again to occasionally entertaining effect. But who cares? He's still just a novelty artist, which is incredibly unfortunate considering how beautifully idiosyncratic his debut record was. See, I ain't knockin' the guy. Promise. In fact, I'm very proud of him for sticking to his guns and continually writing at least a half-album's worth of original material each time out, instead of relying on his "parodies," which are hit or miss at best. But what can I say good about the man? Visually, he is absolutely hilarious. He's yet to make a video that hasn't totally cracked me up, his UHF movie is a scream, and every AL-TV special that he's done has had me rolling on the floor for hours. Plus, I saw him live back in '92 and couldn't wipe the grin off my face for months. He's just a naturally witty guy! Weird how so many of his parodies are so wickedly unfunny....


My Bologna 7" - Capitol 1979
Rating = 5


Born Alfred Matthew Yankovic in Lynwood, California on October 23rd, 1959, the world's most popular music parodist recorded his debut release in 1979 after hearing a song by The Knack that made him realize that "Bologna" rhymes with "Sharona." The result changed the world and its hilariousness forever.

Unlike most kids of his genital mutilation ("generation"), the young Mr. Yankovic wasn't Raised on Radio. No, he would choose to Escape to the Frontiers of Infinity through the novelty music of Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, Allan Sherman and other oldtimey novelty performers introduced to him by bearded radio DJ Barry "Dr. Demento" Whatever his last name is. As such, Al's earliest compositions (1976) had no connection to pop music at all; instead, they were straightforward old-timey novelty songs with titles like "Belvedere Cruising," "Leisure Suit Serenade," "Nobody Here But Us Frogs" and "Take Me Down," all sung and accordioned by Al onto tape at his home at age 17.

But who wanted to hear that kind of crap in the Summer of Cocaine? You think Don Henley wanted to sit around listening to a high school kid pee on his accordion when he could be off playing a debacherous game of Nude Pong with a jacuzzi full of Penthouse Playbunnies? Or even better - Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones? Don't make me laugh! Luckily, Al "Weird" Yankovic eventually hit upon a concept that would strike pay dirt: playing songs everybody already knows -- but with different words! And sure, bad ideas like singing the Beverly Hillbillies theme to the music of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You" didn't exactly set the public on fire (mainly because it didn't work -- AT ALL), but his restroom recording of "My Bologna" tickled Dr. Demento pink with envy and the rest was history!

Actually, no it wasn't. He was able to release a single, but it was another four goddamned years before somebody would agree to put out a full-length album for him. But let's not go into any of that, here or at any other time. Instead let's quickly discuss his debut single. If you're familiar with the album version of "My Bologna" but haven't run across this original version on any of the 4,000,000 Dr. Demento compilations that include it, prepare yourself for a depressing shock. See, in 1979, Al didn't have any friends, let alone a full band. So this single is simply Al and his accordion. (Actually there is a second voice in there as well, but it may just be Al double-tracking the harmonies). "My Bologna" is still a cute little song ("Oooo my little hungry one, hungry one - open up a package of my bologna!" etc), but performed here on solo accordion at half-speed with all the natural reverb a bathroom can summon, it doesn't really have any punch at all, coming across more like a demo recording than a released single.

Still, "My Bologna" (although not funny at all) is at least cute and enjoyable; the same cannot be said for the adolescent Tom Lehrer fixation demonstrated on the b-side. "School Cafeteria" starts off sounding like a parody of the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'n Roll Radio?" before shifting into a chord sequence and vocal melody straight out of the '40s as Al jokes about the poor quality of school food (most clever lyric, by far: "Let me tell you 'bout the school cafeteria/It's got all the others beat/It sells over four million burgers a year/Just think, that's almost two pounds of meat"). Luckily, Al became much more handy with the originals by the time of his next release, and this song would never be heard again, even by people who owned it.

But that's not ALL the Al material that would never be heard again! Al went on to write and record many, many more pop music parodies throughout '79 and '80 that would never see the light of day, no thanks to short-sighted record labels unable to see the commercial potential in a guy with a mustache playing an accordion. His first failure was the UNBELIEVABLY ILL-CONCEIVED follow-up to "My Bologna," a parody of The Knack's "Baby Talks Dirty" called "Baby Likes Burping." A second Knack parody, you understand.. Was he planning to just ride on The Knack's shirttails for the rest of his career!? At any rate, the record company wisely rejected the song - not that it takes much wisdom to reject a song with lyrics like "My little lady's so obnoxious/Today she walked onto a Greyhound bus goin'/(*belch noise*)/And then a couple hours later/My baby's in a crowded elevator/(*belch noise*)." Ha ha! Ha haahhah! HA AHHAHAHA!

Sorry, I was just thinking about yesterday's Curtis.

After this single rocketed up the marketplace, Al's neglected unreleased parodies came and came again, mostly only to disappear after a single performance on Dr. Demento's radio show. These included such bootlegged 'classics' as:

"You Don't Take Your Showers" (obvious parody of Barbara Streisand's "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," predating Bob Rivers' identical "You Don't Smell Like Flowers" by a good decade and a half) - "You used to smell half-decent/That hasn't been too recent"

"Won't Eat Prunes Again" (a fantastic parody of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," in which Al performs the synth intro and solo on his accordion!) - "That was such a dirty trick/Boy, it really made us sick/Well it looks like we've been done in by the prune/Still the memory lingers on/I been livin' in the john/'Cause I've had the runs since Monday afternoon"

"It's Still Billy Joel To Me" (deservedly insulting parody of Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock 'n Roll to Me") - "What's the matter with the songs he's singin'/Can't you tell that they're pretty lame/After listenin' to a couple albums/Well, they all start to sound the same"

And a full-fledged food parody medley including:

- "Crampton Comes Alive" (parody of Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do")

- "Feel Like Throwing Up" (parody of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love")

- "Throw Gravy On You" (parody of Heart's "Crazy On You")

- "Take Me To The Liver" (parody of Talking Heads' "Take Me To The River")

- "Fatter" (parody of the Rolling Stones' "Shattered"): "Friends all gather 'round me/My enemies surround me/Yelling 'Fatso, fatso, fatso'/I've eaten at every single greasy spoon on Seventh Avenue/That's right, I'm fatter"

So you see, it was a long road to Hell for the young mustachioed genius with the squeeze box on his mother's chest, but eventually another of his parodies would strike a chord in the heart of the American psyche so riled by Vietnam and Watergate. And that song was "Another One Rides The Bus," a powerful indictment of buses picking up a lot of people, set to the music of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust." Please continue reading for more information.

One other post-note: somewhere deep in the lyrics of "School Cafeteria," you will find the lyric "Our cook still hasn't got the knack."

The Knack, you understand.

Was Doug Fieger fucking him up the ass or something?

Somebody spread that rumor around, especially in encyclopedias and the Bible.

Add your thoughts?

Another One Rides The Bus EP - Placebo 1981
Rating = 9


I love "Weird Al" Yankovic. I know his parodies have gotten a bit lazy and these days he mostly just raps about TV shows on top of hip-hop songs I've never heard, but at one time his vision was pure. Pure and accordion-related. While the "My Bologna" single was just the nascent sound of a young, unsure novelty artist, this EP represents the retail entree of the confident, clever and honestly funny "Weird Al" Yankovic, funnyman. All four of its tracks were considered good enough to be included on his debut album two years later (three of them in re-recorded form), and all four are as tacky, tasteless and catchy as anything he would ever come up with. And keep in mind we're talking about the creative mastermind who came up with "Frank's 2000' TV."

Oh, and "Slime Creatures From Outer Space."

And lest we forget "Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White."

Look, my point is that not every Weird Al song is a complete piece of shit. You may have to dig a bit, like the girl in Catherine Breillat's A Real Young Girl digging into her ear for the wax that she then collects on a paper towel in front of her, but the quality material is there. Take this EP for example. PLEASE! Heh he hehe. Good old Henry Youngman.

"Another One Rides The Bus" is a live Dr. Demento radio performance that could not possibly have been improved upon in the studio. How could one not be captivated by the utter idiocy of Al's scraggly, pissed-off-sounding vocals combined with accordian, a guy making duck noises with his hands, the rhythmic thump of people beating their hands on any hard surface they can find, and the least effortful backup vocals in rock and roll history (ex. Al: "Ridin' on the bus down the boulevard and the place was pretty packed" Backup vocal: "UHHH!")? As such, this performance was retained and pressed 'as is' onto the "Weird Al" Yankovic LP, much like the girl in A Real Young Girl put her hand down her pants, then used the vaginal mucous on her finger 'as is' to write her name on the mirror.

The other three tracks are Collectors' Edition Heaven, being as they are early versions of later LP originals "Happy Birthday," "Gotta Boogie" and "Mr. Frump In The Iron Lung." The almost astonishingly tasteless "Frump" track is pretty much similar to the solo Al album version anyway (though it appears to have a second accordion line on top of the main one, starting with the second verse), but the other two tracks are ass-different! Much like the girl in A Real Young Girl when she attracts a guy's attention by putting feathers in her butthole and running around hunched over saying "I'm a chicken!"

"Happy Birthday" as heard by fans on the debut release was a speedy raucous punk rocker reeking of comical nihilism, but did you know that in its original version, it was a bass-driven rockabilly performance? It's true! The guitar is higher-pitched and plays a much reduced role in this early version. In addition, the chorus group vocals are much nerdier/Devoey, the Big Bird line ("Come on boys and girls - sing along, okay?") is spoken in Al's real voice, and the accordion riff accompanying the line "Just blow out the candles and have a piece of cake!" is even more incongruously happy and (thus) even hilariouser than that you may have heard at a later date. ? That was a poor piece of writing. Kinda like when that girl in A Real Young Girl fantasizes about being tied down spread-eagled and naked in a field as a guy squeezes a worm into little pieces between his fingers and drops them onto her vagina.

"Gotta Boogie," it must be said, is much less effective in its original version. It's still funny, mind you, but it's just Al, his accordion, and a guy playing bongos. Who the hell 'boogies' to a guy playing bongos? The song was thus greatly improved by the addition of disco drums and bass on the LP. Still, it's interesting to hear Al's early sketch of the track, particularly his decision to use a 'sleazy laidback white guy' voice instead of the 'low, faux-black man' of the more well-known version. So that's pretty cool. Kinda like when that girl in A Real Young Girl inserts a spoon into her vagina under the table at breakfast with her parents. Actually no. More like when she vomits all over her bedclothes and leaves them on because she likes the sweet smell.

So only one track features guitar, bass and drums, but don't misinterpret that as meaning he's still just recording chintzy demos at home -- this IS the beginning of classic "Weird Al"ia. Four great songs, 1 great EP, no great copies available anywhere.

But don't think for a second that Al's career was numbered yet! He still had plenty of unreleased material to go around, both before and after his 11 legitimate releases, including: "You Light Up My Life (Punk Version)" - A lo-fi cover of the Debby Boone classic, but in the style of early Devo.

"Yoda" - Sure, you think you know this song from Al's third album, Dare To Be Stupid. But DID YOU KNOW that he originally recorded it in 1981!?!

"Stop Dragging My Car Around" - DID YOU KNOW that an earlier recorded version of this LP track featured an entirely different second verse? Instead of the verse about the local disco, it's a seemingly jokeless one about his car stalling by the side of the road. Good riddance to bad rhymage, I say!

"Pac-Man" - 1981 parody of The Beatles' "Taxman." Sample verse: "Hey mom, I won't be home this year/Please forward all my mail right here/I'm at the Pacman/Yeah it's the Pacman." Presumably unreleased because it's even less funny than "Pac-Man Fever," which wasn't even intended as a joke song.

Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs And Ham sung to the music of U2's "Numb"

"I Guess That's Why They Call It The Zoo" - Okay, this was never an actual song. It was just a single lyric that Al sang on a commercial for some city's local zoo. But can you imagine how funny the song MIGHT HAVE BEEN???

Also, although I personally haven't heard any of these, rumor has it that Al's live repertoire may or may not have at some point also included such long-alleged titles as "Avocado" (The Eagles' "Desperado"), "Born To Be Mild" (Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" -- incidentally, when I was a youngster I wrote and recorded "Born To Be A Child." Hilarious stuff.), "Chicken Pot Pie" (Paul McCartney's "Live And Let Die"), "Don't You Forget About Meat" (Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me"), "Flatbush Avenue" (Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue), "Gee, I'm A Nerd" (The Beatles' "Free As A Bird"), "Hit Me With A Rock" (Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like A Rock"), "House Of The Sesame Seed Bun" (The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun"), "If I Could Make Love To A Bottle" (Gordon Lightfoot's "Time In A Bottle"), "I'll Repair For You" (The Rembrandts' "I'll Be There For You"), "A Matter Of Crust" (Billy Joel's "A Matter Of Trust"), "Moldy Now" (Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now"), "More Than A Filling" (Boston's "More Than A Feeling"), "Snack All Night" (Michael Jackson's "Black Or White"), "We Got The Beef" (The Go-Gos' "We Got The Beat"), "We Won't Eat Another Hero" (Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero"), "Whole Lotta Lunch" (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love") and "Spameater" (Hall & Oates' "Maneater").

The truly tragic part of all this is that I didn't make up a single one of those song titles. They are all actual "Weird Al" Yankovic compositions. So all you people wondering how "Toothless People" and "The White Stuff" made it onto official releases, be advised that Al apparently does in fact have some sort of quality control process in place.

Jesus Christ though. "House Of The Sesame Seed Bun"!? What would possess a human being to put pen to paper for something like that? I mean, it's been well documented that Doug Fieger was fuckin' him in the ass during this time period, but was Eric Burdon sucking his fuckin' cock or some shit? It's quite a quandary, much like the scenes in A Real Young Girl when the girl:

- shoves a suntan oil bottle up her ass and is surprised when it doesn't give her an orgasm

- masturbates with a guy in a field, until the guy finishes and wipes his ejaculate onto her clothes

- walks all the way across her backyard with her panties around her ankles, for no apparent reason at all

- daubs her nipples and vagina with honey in an attempt to attract her dog's attention

- sits on a carnival ride next to a creepy middle-aged man who whips out his dick and starts masturbating in the middle of the ride

- hugs her father, only to notice his dick is hanging out of his pants and starting to grow as she hugs him

- inserts a rock into her vagina and then remarks about how her 'sex' lubricated the rock

- urinates in a toilet (in close-up) until it overflows, then rubs her toe around in the overflowing urine

- uses an ink pen to 'draw a sex' on her nightgown

- runs down to the ocean and sits facing the tide with her legs spread and panties off so the incoming waves will rub against her vagina

Yes, there's nothing like a good French art film to make one long for the family-friendly entertainment of Nazi Sexploitation.

Reader Comments

jx8qz10@joimail.com
Last time I checked, "Time in a Bottle" was a Jim Croce song, not a Gordon Lightfoot song.

Add your thoughts?

* "Weird Al" Yankovic - Rock 'N' Roll 1983. *
Rating = 10


This debut LP is Mr. Yankovic's most unique and outstanding musical effort to date. It is also his only full-length LP to focus chiefly on his accordian-playing abilities. He's got a back-up band with guitars (by Rick Derringer!), bass, and drums, but the accordion is the star of this record, and the main reason that it's so goshdarned entertaining time and time and time again. Yeah, he did parodies of popular songs, but he played them on his squeeze box, for Bob's sake! And they're actually witty! And they make you chuckle!!! Ha!

So what's here? There's the Lucille Ball/Toni Basil track "Ricky," Joan Jett's classic ice cream anthem "I Love Rocky Road," Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty's whiny "Stop Draggin' My Car Around," a sped-up, full-band, punk rock version of his 1979 single "My Bologna," and the title track of his 1981 EP, Queen's "Another One Rides The Bus."

And those originals? And how! A terrific full-band disco re-recording of "Gotta Boogie" brings the song to its full potential, "Happy Birthday" still kicks butt but in a less rockabilly and more outwardly violent manner, "The Check's In The Mail," "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead" and "Such A Groovy Guy" are Al's vindictive attacks on slimy asshole businessmen, trendy hippy earth children, and cool ladies' men, respectively, if I might be so gear as to use the word "respectively" for a moment, if it's okay with you if I use that stupid overused "if I might be so (insert adjective) as to......" for a donut, and "Mr. Frump In The Iron Lung" is... well, still awfully offensive. Downright cruel even. But ooooh that accordion!!!! I'm not gonna jump up and down about "Buckingham Blues," but 11 great tracks out of 12 is enough to warrant a hearty thumbs up from my ass!!!! A concept, see. Not a "rock" album, but a new form of entertainment combining silly humor, pop culture references, a guy with a mustache, and the lovely and unlikely strains of an accordion. Beautifully silly. Why he chose to veer so friggin' far from this great original formula as quickly as ONE YEAR LATER is way way beyond me. Kick him if you see him.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
The first album is his best, but it ain't worth a ten. Novelty rock gets old - quick. I'll give this one a 7.

pmtapia@worldnet.att.net (The Chameleon)
Pretty cool set of songs if I may say. Some suck, but oh well..the others are a good laugh.

Brak102@aol.com (Red)
I agree, this is one of Al's greatest but not as good as Even Worse.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
This album's really good for a debut album, but overall if you look back at it now, the compositions are pretty weak. However, the ideas are still there, even without the streamlined studio sound, which gives this a 7.

Nevermind the 7, this deserves a high 8. I'm not really sure what I was thinking; the only true losers on here in my opinion are "Such A Groovy Guy" and "Buckingham Blues." The production doesn't matter and it's actually quite nice, particularly on "My Bologna" and "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead," which is one of Al's catchiest songs. Awesome stuff! Plus he always uses the accordian, and while I don't worship it like you do it's nice to hear when he was more faithful to his primary instrument.

JohnnyB8@aol.com
I totally agree. "Weird" Al is....is.....HILARIOUS!!! He is nothing less than a genius. He may even be the next Pete Townshend....maybe not. But still, i am a HUGE Weird al fan. He deserves a lot of credit for the things that he puts out there. Highlights in this particular album are "Another One Rides the Bus" and "Ricky" Definately a 10/10. Kudos to Mark. Another Frank Zappa, in my eyes.....

kfaaaquail@prodigy.net
"Weird Al" Yankovic is a great album. Although I wish it had a polka song in there. I give it a 8/10.

powerwisdomcourage@hotmail.com (Charles "KaRoLuS" Tindall)
Hey Mr. Prindle, your site is so cool and you're reviews are so funny. Mind you, generally John McFerrin is more consistent with my own tastes, but who else would review "Weird Al"? Like most people, "Weird Al" is a childhood favourite of mine. Before I started liking music, and when my musical knowledge consisted of the Bob Marley and WWE entrance themes, "Weird Al" was my first favourite artist. And all the songs we had of his (released by the terrific label, Napster) I had learnt off by heart and took a special place in my not-yet-matured musical niche.

Now I'm 17 and I like a lot more music (and really good music at that) More recently I've bought Straight Outta Lynwood and Running with Scissors, which seemed only to be an extension of the "Weird Al" legacy of my childhood. I came across your "Weird Al" review and was conviced to buy the "Weird Al" album. On iTunes, of course, I've passed from the P2P phase, because it's illegal, but mainly because it's unreliable. And I can see how you gave this a 10, regardless of not hearing any other Al albums. Since I bought "Weird Al" last week, I have listened to it so many times, it's not funny. Well... it's still funny as hell! But I've probably listened to it probably more than I've listened to Fragile (mind you, I've probably listened to Union more than Fragile, so...). The pure accordian sound wasn't something I was accustomed to with Al, and I really took a liking to it.

The parodies are great, and for the first time, I don't even care that they're parodies. I haven't ever heard the songs proper behind "Stop Draggin' My Car Around" and "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead", and I wouldn't have noticed they were rip-offs. For me, anyway, they might as well do away with the originals. The character voices in "Ricky" may make it a little less coherant than its original, but the accordian brings so much life to it, and I doubt "Mickey" has "EVERYBODY RHUMBA!". That's my favourite part of the song, by the way. "I Love Rocky Road" is another parodic masterpiece, and again, the accordian solo makes it for me.

"Stop Draggin' My Car Around", while being as funny as all Hell, attracted me mostly for the song, especially the chorus, and like I said before, my ignorance to the original song makes it one up for Al in my opinion. I wouldn't like "My Bologna" half as much if it wasn't for the sheer power of the accordian. The lyrics are probably only incidentally funny ("Ooo the toast is done") like "hey wow, he said 'bologna', and not 'Sharona'! Weird!" Actually, "Ooo the toast is done is my favourite line in the song.

"I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead" is one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard in my life. I don't know how much of it is ripped-off, but I love it. Originally I thought it was a bit mundane, but then I grew a brain. The harmonies are awesome and the ukelele part is cute ("and all the bean sprouts in Japa-hAAAN!). The "other best" parody is of course "Another One Rides the Bus", which says all it needs to say without the need for expansive production. One of my childhood favourites, and those dopey vocals that sound like Patrick from Spongebob are so hilarious. And those slurping noises after the guitar-case solo solidify that crowded "get-away-from-me-freak!" atmosphere.

But the original ones really made the record for me. Not many people seem to praise "Buckingham Blues", and I tend to think it's one of the lesser tracks. But it ought not be disregarded, it resembles Dylan a bit in places (OMG HOW FREAKIN COOL IS "BOB"??) and I tend to jump up and down whenever I hear the "Another game of croquet and they're off on a Carabbean cruise". Therefore, the song is saved! . Besides, the joke about Diana having to sit around the house making babies as if it was a common chore is classic. As for "Such a Groovy Guy", it's a bit difficult. Who else thinks the very start sounds a bit too much like "Another One Rides the Bus"? The chorus melody is so incredibly cool though, especially in "How can you say it's over?". But I don't like saxophones. Man, this song is very difficult. Could you imagine if that sax solo was accordian? (drool)

"Happy Birthday" is so powerful, probably the hardest rocking on here, a birthday version of "Christmas at Ground Zero". But "Birthday" came first, and is soo much better. Makes me wanna eat broccoli for my birthday. Which is in TWO WEEKS btw. "Gotta Boogie" is incredible. Who would've imagined a disco song played by accordian and bongos??? I especially like those little electronic disco beeps which give a feel of authenticity to the track. And my second favourite original, "The Cheque's in the Mail", is so incredibly incredible. This is the kinda music I like, like Split Enz's "Sweet-Talkin' Spoon Song". I love "the cheque's in the mail... you're beautiful!"... and hey, the whole chorus is genius in my opinion.

Now this is weird. My favourite song on the "Weird Al" Yankovic album is the little closer, "Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung". This was the first song I listened to after I downloaded the album, and it was so different from anything I've ever heard. Makes sense though, in the "Weird Al" humour sense - Al: "Hey, Mr. Frump!"; Mr. Frump: . I think "Hang on... he's not gonna say anything, that's just the iron lung". Really spooked me out first time I heard it, and stories of epidemics like polio do freak me out, and it was especially sad when Mr. Frump died in the end. The more I listened to it (which was MASSES OF TIMES) the more I appreciated the song. The melody sounds like it had to be ripped off from somewhere but you never know. This is the most heartfelt track. The accordian is the focus of this song, and it is so beautiful. And the bridge about candy and flowers almost makes me cry for him (Mr. Frump that is). And the way he goes out - the desperate breathing-click-thump-click-thump-click-thump-and fade out. And that's Mr. Frump - dead. The little "Amen" at the end is cute, but think of how effective the end of the song, and of the album, would be if it ended after the voilent thumping noise.

Anyway, I really have to thank you for causing me to buy "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was really rewarding, and restored "Weird Al"'s credibility for me. 10/10 indeed. In his ratings explanation page, John McFerrin implied that using your system, a 10 for "Weird Al" is, well... not quite a 10 for the Beatles. I wonder if he's even heard the album? If he has, it's different from mine. I give this a Beatles' 9. I probably even like this more than Abbey Road! It's certainly got a lot less boredom in it than Abbey Road. Mind you, I like Wild Honey more than Pet Sounds, so who cares what I say?

hawkeyemom1981@hotmail.com
Hi. I read your review on Mr. Frump and I never thought of the song that way. As a matter of fact I never understood it. I had bought the album when I was in my teens and couldn't wait to listen to it but I was nervous about hearing the song because I had a funny feeling that it was way different than the others and I was right. The breathing sounds freaked me out but not as bad as the death part when the poor man died. I couldn't get that very last part out of my head and I couldn't sleep that night. Now all is well. I don't have that problem anymore. When I first saw the words "iron lung" I had no idea what it was until my grandma told me. I understood the song a bit better and why Mr. Frump was in one. I even looked more in depth on info on iron lungs.

You really have a point to that song. You do feel for him for being so sick and not being able to breathe on his own and then his death approaches (kinda scary if you ask me) and you're like what????!!!!!!!! then you hear AMEN at the end. Some people might find this song offensive to the handicapped if they take it wrong. You'll really have to listen to it to appreciate this heartfelt song. It's not a bad song if you know what to expect. It's sad, though.

By the way, it's inspired by Alice's restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. Just thought I'd mention it to you.

Add your thoughts?

In 3-D - Rock 'N' Roll 1984.
Rating = 8


I guess he did it for the money, which he certainly got in spades (at least, I hope he did!!!) from this smash release that allowed him to finally crack the MTV barrier with funny wunny woo videos for "Eat It" and "I Lost On Jeopardy," parodies of a pair of fine Michael Jackson and Greg Kihn (who just recently published a horror novel, by the way, in case there are one or two of you out there who haven't been following Greg Kihn's career) songs. Me, I'da preferred 'em with accordions in the long run, but at the time, it was just fantastical to hear Al's band (now featuring Jim West instead of Rick Derringer of "Rock 'N' Roll Hootchie Coo" fame) faithfully imitate these delightful pop rocks (which didn't really blow Mikey's head off, by the way. He's still alive.). I mean, it was actually fairly difficult to distinguish Al's parodies from the actual songs when they came on the radio (until those nerdy vocals came in, of course)! Funny.

Too bad he's tried to remake this album seven times in a row instead of trying to grow artistically in some way, but let's not worry about that right now. Instead, let's discuss the rest of this fine record. On the parody side, "The Brady Bunch," a take on Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," is phenomenal, but "King Of Suede" (Police) and "Theme From Rocky XIII" (Survivor) are boringer than the originals, though awfully catchy if you like the music! See, that's one good thing about "Weird Al" albums. The parody music is so similar to the real music that, even when his lyrics are worthless, you can still enjoy what are basically covers of the latest popular tunes! So that's one good thing - if you're into good things.

Another good thing is that Al and the boys every once in a while come up with some original material that actually kicks the dirt outta the songs he's making fun of! For example, on here, we've got "Nature Trail To Hell," a wimpy metal parody that takes itself so darned seriously (tongue-in-cheek, but, you know, they're SOUNDING like they're really serious, like Queensryche or something) that by the time the final choruses roll around, you're banging your head and screaming along as if it actually was a heavy metal song!!! There's also a catchy-as-frig B-52s tribute called "Mr. Popeil" (back-up girl singers and all!) that you'll definitely want to hear at least a few times if you're any kind of pop music fan at all. And the reggae "Buy Me A Condo" is just funny and useless, much like reggae as a genre. To finish up my review with both a low note and a high, "That Boy Could Dance" does nothing, but Al's sole accordion number on here, "Polkas On 45," is a bouncy medley of famous pop and rock tunes that is so goshdarned spirited and whimsical, it almost entirely overshadows every other track on the record, emphasizing my point that perhaps he would have been better off sticking to his original style. But what the hell do I know? I've never worn a Hawaiian shirt!!!!

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Yeah, In 3-d was pretty good, how 'bout a 6.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
An okay, but uneven improvement over the original album. Parodies like "The Brady Bunch," style parodies like "Mr. Popeil," and originals like "Nature Trail To Hell" really rule and have some great lyrics, but "That Boy Could Dance" and some others on the album are pretty weak. Just not weak enough to drag this below an 8.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
"Buy Me A Condo" is the best reggae song ever! Well, maybe not - I really like "House On Fire" by the Boomtown Rats, but "Condo" is certainly close.

As for this album, it introduced us to his string of polka medleys, probably the only songs of his I still really, really like. The B-52s imitation "Mr. Popiel" is okay, but "That Boy Could Dance" is the first of the guys really boring, nondescript songs. The album does nothing for me now, but I liked it in my youth, so I give it a seven.

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
This album is overrated, the one critics who don't even like Weird Al because he's a parody artist tell you is the only one you need to buy (kind of like Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True, except for you CAN'T be a critic if you DON'T deify him). Nevertheless, this is one of Yankovic's more consistent albums. I must say that I am surprised to be reading so much acclaim for his originals in opposition to his song parodies; I always thought most fans viewed his best work as the other way around. In any case, the results are pretty mixed here on all accounts. "The Brady Bunch" and "I Lost on Jeopardy" are hilarious; "Theme from Rocky XIII" and "King of Suede" are very corny and unfunny, though the original songs are still good. Likewise, the stylistic spoof "Mr. Popeil" is brilliant, and "That Boy Could Dance" is pure, forgettable filler. I don't recall liking that "Nature Trail to Hell" song, but I think I was in the 6th grade the last time I heard it (I'm 24 now), so I won't pass judgment. Oh, and, what about "Midnight Star"? That song is great! "Eat It" is a classic as well, but more as a video and Michael Jackson parody than a writing milestone. I agree with the 8.

Add your thoughts?

Dare To Be Stupid - Rock 'N' Roll 1985.
Rating = 7


From here on out, they're all fairly interchangeable, but I'm gonna give 'em all a fighting chance anyway. This one's a little weaker mainly because the originals are so goshdarned unfunny, with the title track, "Slime Creatures From Outer Space," "This Is The Life," and "Cable TV" featuring nary a joke between them!!!!

Luckily, most of the parodies are topnotch; "Like A Surgeon" gave Al another hit video, "Yoda" adds a heck of a silly twist to The Kinks' classic "Lola," "Girls Just Want To Have Lunch" is remarkable mainly because of Al's ridiculously gruff vocals, and "I Want A New Duck" is - okay, kinda lame, but ooo that catchy Huey Lewis melody!!! Where you gonna beat that one???? "Hooked On Polkas" is just like "Polkas On 45," but it's still funnier than Mad About You, and Al's only decent original this time around, the doowop anti-love ballad "One More Minute," just makes you sit there and shake your head back and forth in wonderment about how such a funny man can churn out so much crap on each album. Have you heard "One More Minute?" With verses like "So I pulled your name out of my Rolodex / And I tore all your pictures in two / And I burned down the malt shop where we used to go / Just because it reminds me of you!!!!"? You should hear it. It may not be funny to read the lyrics, but in the context of the song, sung by "Goofy Al," they're fookin' hilar.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
The one great thing about Dare To Be Stupid is "Yoda". It used to be my favorite song until I found out there was an original. Aside from that, yeah, they're all pretty interchangable, and this one's not as funny as it could be. 5.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
7. I agree that the originals are pretty bad, I've only listened to "Cable TV" a couple of times, but the title track is really good despite what everyone else says. The parodies shine on, though...

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Hey! I actually like the title track a great deal! It's better than an actual Devo song, at any rate!

And the parodies are, of course, all great. I agree about most of the originals being lame dookie, but I find "This Is The Life" to be quite catchy (though not funny in the least!). And you're right about "One More Minute" - what a killer! I give the album a seven.

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Over the past couple of years, my opinion of "Weird Al" has drastically fallen from idolization to simply humoring the fella. I used to completely LOVE Mr. Yankovic, but after hearing much more worthwhile 'goofy' music by people like Frank Zappa, I couldn't honestly stand to sit through an more than one of his albums in a given day. But then again, I don't ENTIRELY hate him...

"Dare to be Stupid" was both the first "Weird Al" record I ever bought and the first music I ever bought. I heard "Like A Surgeon" in some kid's room at a birthday party and thought that both it and the following track were hilarious. And given the fact that I wasn't even 10 years old at the time, I didn't really have anything to compare it to. Now, it's still pretty funny, but the thing that makes me laugh the most is the fact that me and my friends actually still remember the whole damn thing word-for-word.

The reason this is probably one of my favorite "Al" records is that it has "Dare to be Stupid" (the best Devo parody ever), "Yoda" (which is easily the best Star Wars-themed pop song ever) and "One More Minute". "One More Minute" has to be the best song he's ever recorded. It's completely hilarious, featuring the best line he ever wrote in his entire career: "I'm stranded all alone/at the gas station of love/and I have to use the self-service pumps..."

But after those really good tracks the album suffers. "Slime Creatures", "This is the Life", "Cable TV", and a good many more are just mediocre, not really funny at all. And "I Want a New Duck" is just pathetic. I'll give it a little bit of credit because it's funny how pathetic it is, but I don't think that was the point. Still, those other tracks are really terrific - well worth searching out a used CD or cassette tape or even downloading them off Napster....

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
This used to be my undisputed favorite from Weird Al, but as I got older, and, I suppose, more mature, the laughs waned. That is not to sound pompous--this is a record that evokes favorable memories from my childhood. As of presently, some of Al's classic material is here. The album is inconsistent, but "Yoda" is one of his best parodies, giving a unique twist to the Kinks song, and the '50s break-up lampoon "One More Minute" is an absolute scream--still makes me laugh every time I hear it, and one of Yankovic's best-ever songs, period. I for one like the title cut, if just as a goofy new wave song. Everything else passes except for the weak originals "Cable TV" (which shouldn't even be on The TV Album) and "Slime Creatures." Any fan of Weird Al should like this one. A strong 7.

Add your thoughts?

Polka Party! - Rock 'N' Roll 1986.
Rating = 7


I was all excited when I first saw this album on the racks porque both album title and cover make it appear as if Mr. Yankovic has seen the light and decided to return to the freefy-fruffy accordion style of old. Nope. Same old crap.

Howe'er!!!!! Aside from the pointless and moronic Talking Heads tribute "Dog Eat Dog," his originals on here are probably his best ever. Or at least they're up there. "One Of These Days" alternates between the annoyingly mundane and violently frightening in a poppingly charming manner ("Big steamroller just ran over my mom / And I cut myself shaving and they're dropping the bomb / It's just one of those days!!!!"), "Don't Wear Those Shoes" has a better melody than any song 311 will ever do, "Good Enough For Now" is a cute country/western ballad dedicated to Al's mediocre mama, and "Christmas At Ground Zero" - wow. That's all I'll say. See, it's a christmas song, see. But see it's got verses like "You might hear some reindeer on your rooftop / Or Jack Frost on your windowsill / But if someone's climbing down your chimney / You'd better load your gun and shoot to kill," piled up one after the other until, after a few minutes, the whole scenario becomes not funny, but actually frightening!!! I guess you'd just have to hear it. But I gotta tell ya - there is no scarier noise than an air raid siren, and here they've got it playing in key with the melody, so it's really friggin' surreal and spooky. Or maybe I'm just a flake.

Oh! And the parodies.... This must have been an awfully weak year for popular music, 'cuz Al had to resort to doing parodies of James Brown's "Living In America" (an actually pretty freaking funny song called "Living With A Hernia"), Mick Jagger's "Ruthless People," and El Debarge's "Who's Johnny?" Ugh. "Addicted To Spuds" sucks, too. And the only accordion appearance? The title track, a slightly less interesting version of the "Polkas On 45" shtick. Good album, though. More of a 6.5 than a 7, but, dammit, can't a guy round????

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Polka Party is one of his worst. There's no parodies of anything anyone's ever even heard of or cared about. What's the point. On the other hand, there was that funny country song that cracks the hell up outa me, and I loved "Dog Eat Dog", but I think that was due to the fact that the song he was parodying was great, (which reminds me to get a Talking Heads album) Oh yeah. "Xmas at GZ" is cool. 5.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
This is probably Al's most underrated album -- a perfect example is the rating on this page. Still, it has some stinkers, "Toothless People" is an awful parody of an unsuccessful song, and "Good Enough For Now," despite all the hype it's given by fans, just isn't funny. The rest of the album is great, though. 9.

Actually I'd now give it only a mid-sized 7 instead of a 9. I still can't see the humor in "Good Enough For Now" which everyone loves, mainly because if Al's gonna do a crummy country song he'd darn well better make it really funny or I'll hate it. Plus, the parodies besides "Living With A Hernia" are either parodies of songs which no one cares about or lackluster lyric-wise("Addicted To Spuds"). I still love a good deal of the originals, especially "Dog Eat Dog" which is hardly "pointless and moronic"--Talking Heads deserved a tribute and Al gave them a catchy and funny-as-hell one.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Don't like this one at all. The James Brown parody is hilarious, but the rest of them are of truly lame songs that don't deserve to be mocked by Al, or even a lesser artist. The only thing that makes the Polka better than usual is the presence of the better-than-God "Sledgehammer" - other than that, it's packed with one-hiit wonders who deserved to be so. And I somehow find the Talking Heads tribute quite flattering - though I'm not David Byrne or in any way involved with him. Go figure.

I give it a 5.

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
"Christmas at Ground Zero" is just about as funny as Al gets. The video is really creepy, because it has all that nuclear annihilation stuff in it--but the song itself is a riot! On a lighter note, "Hernia" is really funny too. Unfortunately, all the other song parodies were desparate at the time and do not stand the test of time today. "Addicted to Spuds" is especially dumb, and one of the two reasons I am altogether displeased with the greatest hits album (the other reason is "Lasanga"). Some of the originals on this one really endure with hardcore fans, but these highlights are also only remembered by hardcore fans.

Add your thoughts?

Even Worse - Rock 'N' Roll 1987.
Rating = 6


Accurate title. The parodies are mostly depressing takes on dull old '60s songs ("Mony Mony," "La Bamba," "I Think We're All Alone Now," "Got My Mind Set On You"), but the stylistic parodies are getting better and better, with some hilarious and catchy send-ups of James Taylor, Beastie Boys, The Police and Oingo Boingo. Al is starting to sing in a really weak 'sensitive' voice though, as if he's been taking lessons instead of just singing from the gut. "Fat" is a terrific parody of Michael Jackson's "Bad" though, and the video is a hooter! Hell, a PAIR of hooters!

I've no interest in continuing this discussion.

Reader Comments

dojc@astral.magic.ca (Mike Dojc)
I was 8 years old when this album came out and I loved it. Everything was perfectly juvenile but at the time I remember being offended by Al's parody of "mony mony" because it had been my favourite song and my friends and I as well as many other people had our own version of the song. We used to substitute "fucking horny" for "mony mony". It actually works better if you think about it, " you make me feel Fucking Horny, yeah, yeah, yeah".

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Even Worse was all the rage when I was nine, everyone had it. Umm.. "Fat" and "Six Words long" are good. And "Good Old Days" is a rare flash of brilliance. Those bring the rest of it up to a 5.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
A fine album, one that I particularly like because of the abundance of style parodies, such as The Police in "Velvet Elvis," James Taylor in "Good Old Days," and Oingo Boingo in "You Make Me." Still, many of the parodies are pretty lame -- how in the world did "Lasagna" make it onto a greatest hits album?!?!? 8.

jim.morrison@montego.com (Michael Rohm)
Aptly named. "Fat" is both funny and offensive to the "gravitationally challenged" which makes it even better. But... "Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White"? I'm not saying that in 1988 (when this CD was released) the idea of being stuck alone anywhere with Vanna White would have been a bad thing - far from it! But Al, unfortunately, doesn't capitalize on what could have been a good song, instead trying to turn it into a goofy dream that doesn't make any sense and doesn't do justice to what the song could have been about. "This Song is Just Six Words Long" redeems Al, however - this is one of my favourite Al songs; I've always liked the George Harrison original, but Al's version is far better and in a way, sums the basic composition of *a lot* of pop hits. Weird, eh? I really like "You Make Me," "Alimony" and "Lasagna" (well ok.. just the intro to lasagna.. la la la lasagna!) Some of these other songs.. yeah, "I Think I'm A Clone Now" is a yawner, "Melanie" is kinda cute lyrics wise, but the music itself is really irritating, same thing with "Velvet Elvis," which is curious since I really like the Police, so it's odd that I don't care for "Velvet Elvis" music.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I know I've already sent in three Weird Al comments today, but I just had to pay tribute to my first album ever. Let me explain...

Upon graduation from ninth grade, my school class took a bus trip to Disneyland. A friend of mine (whom I now recognize as an ignorant prick, BTW) handed me his cheap cassette player and said "you've got to hear this song!" I gave it a chance, and was surprised to hear a pleasant countryish (so I thought at the time) ballad about scalping and murdering ex-girlfriends and general store owners. At that point, I immediatly became immersed in music. I bought the tape of Even Worse ASAP, and proceeded to purchase at least three albums weekly, until I was at my current collection of OVER 700!

Okay, so the album has sentimental value for me. I like the Beastie Boys tribute (though I can't stand the band - they're stupid), and the stalker ballad "Melanie" always struck a chord with me - though I can't remember how it goes, either. And I resent the claim that "Mony Mony" was boring! Sure, I like Al's version better, but the original was loads of fun! As was "La Bamba" - which I always thought was saying "buttoid buttoid la bamba."

So I like the album, even though it hasn't aged well, and some of the songs are quite useless. I give it an eight, for sentimentality.

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
I have not heard this entire album, but "Fat" is a Weird Al classic. The foundation of the lyrics is childish, but Al's phrasings and observations of the "gravitationally challenged" are so clever that the jokes work even if you're older than twelve. "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long" also about killed me when I was a kid, in part because I already loved the George Harrison song. Yeah, it beats me as well that "Lasagna" made it onto the greatest hits album--very, very dumb--even though Los Lobos is one of the greatest bands in the world! (Yes, I am aware that it's actually a Richie Valens song.)

rtreynor@yahoo.com (Rob Treynor)
I'm surprised how you just looked over "Lasagna" - yeah, it's not a very inspired parody, but the accordian solo rocks! Really! Take another listen to it..it's great.

I liked this album for the style parodies..Years after buying this album, I heard Marshall Crenshaw's "You're My Favorite Waste of Time" a demo that made it to the b-side of "Someday Someway" - and realized that "Melanie" was a style parody of this great song. "Velvet Elvis" wasn't just a Police parody, but a "Ghost in the Machine"-era Police parody..well done. I too lament the lack of accordians on all but his first album, but his band is so amazing at sounding exactly like who their parodies, that I consider 'em the world's greatest cover band.

Matt Faris
Isn't that the album with "Velvet Elvis"? I've always admired that song, it being unique in so many ways. "Weird Al" does so many different things with his music from regular parodies to original comedy numbers and those absolutely hilarious polka medleys (the most side-splitting in my opinion being the ones from In 3-D and Bad Hair Day), not to mention the masterpiece that is the movie UHF, but "Velvet Elvis" is really something different. Like many have pointed out, it has a close resemblance to The Police's Synchronicty II, but unlike his other parodies, it's not close enough to be called an actual parody: the music definitely recalls the song, but is decidedly another composition, one that I think I actually enjoy more than The Police song. It's very good music. That combined with the very unusual place that the exact level of seriousness of the lyrics possess (it's funny, but it always came across to me as being very sincere, and I can really hear the feelings of the very individual individual conveyed very convincingly) that makes it an enigma to be marvelled. The rest of the album is just as good as the other ones I've heard of his (on the giant squid that lives in my stomach's rating scale, I'd probably give it 5 out of 6 tentacles with a 6th tentacle that's been partially cut off by a circular saw), and in general, I've always admired his integrity as an artist, and was always impressed by the ability of his truly talented band to not only authenically replicate the songs they are parodying (sometimes sounding even better than the originals), but for having a very listenable sound of their own on the originals (which I agree with you on them often being more entertaining than the parodies... but that does depend on the individual song in some cases.) Glad to see you like his early work, too.

Add your thoughts?

Peter And The Wolf (with Wendy Carlos) - CBS 1988
Rating = 8


Fresh off the heels of his award-winning album of adult humor Fuck Me With Your Best Dick, Weird Al "Yankovic" decided to pull a complete 160 and do an album for children. But, like all fine children's albums, Weirdo Yankovic's release turned out to be so good that it could be both enjoyed by adults AND taken out of print almost immediately! As such, your best bet is to either pay 30 bucks on ebay or do what I did and strategically happen across a copy for $4.99 at a CD store run by morons.

Peter And The Wolf is a witty and light-hearted narrative/electronics collaboration between "Weird Owl" Yankovic and moog synthesizer pioneer Wendy Carlos. Parents should be advised that "Wendy" Carlos began "her" life as "Walter" Carlos, and that "she" spends 45 minutes of the CD describing the operation in vivid anatomical detail, but once you get past that, "Weird Al" will have your children laughing til the Judgement Day!

You see, "Wired Al" Yankovic doesn't sing a note on this 55-minute disc. Instead, he (a) uses a hilariously haughty (wimpy) faux-British literary accent to tell a parodic version of Prokofiev's classic "Peter And The Wolf," and (b) recites several funny original rhymes penned in stylistic parody of Camille Saint-Saens & Ogden Nash's "Carnival of the Animals." Now before you protest that your child doesn't know a Camille Saint-Saens from a Gioacchino Rossini and thus wouldn't be able to enjoy this fine P.D.Q. Bach-style classical satire, let me stress that many of today's children are unfamiliar with the works of this great French composer. These children are known as "retarded" (or simply "retards"), and believe me - they will enjoy this CD every bit as much as their developmentally superabled peers. Maybe even more, since they'll likely try to eat it, the tards.

I have long argued that popular pop parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic should consider expanding his artistic horizons a bit. Admittedly I WAS impressed by the Frank Zappa parody on Poodle Hat, and UHF was not only a scream, but also funny; however, he far more often falls back on obvious food/TV jokes and lame rewrites of quickly-forgotten minor pop hits of the day. Peter And The Wolf is unique in that it showcases his ability to do something COMPLETELY different -- and to do so quite well! This is the sort of record that you would expect to hear from one of Al's novelty music idols like Spike Jones or Allan Sherman. To hear him giving it a whirl is a heck of a gassy treat, which makes it all the more poignant and irritating that the CD has been so widely unavailable for the past 16 years (I wrote this review in early 2005 - what a time it was!).

Musically, we're talking Wendy Carlos (a) playing Prorkeodkofiev and (b) doing an amazing job of using electronic gadgetry to conjure up images of various aminals. I wuv aminals! Don't you wuv aminals? And emenas? Here, taste this -- it's my senem! Wendy uses a jarload of interesting late-'80s equipment whose names mean nothing to me, including a customized Synergy, a Kurzwiel Midiboard, Mulogix Slave 32's, Yamaha RX5, a Macintosh Plus/Levco Prodigy computer and Mark of the Unicorn's powerful Performer software. But for our purposes here today, it sounds like somebody dicking around with some late-'80s synthesizers.

Incidentally, a few of my more cynical readers might think that I specifically used the phrase "dicking around" so that I could follow it up with a hilarious one-liner involving Wendy Carlos's sex change operation. When will you learn that the soul of a good man is irreparably tarnished when he outwardly displays the invective -- even jocularly -- of intolerance? I am not that man, nor shall I lower myself to his level. I may toss in a cheap shot every now and again (if the subject well nigh deserves it), but I will not risk hurt feelings for the sake of mean-spirited, low-brow juvenilia.

Lyrically, Al somehow managed to get the cockless fairy's fake pussy off his face long enough to rewrite "Peter And The Wolf," and although several of his asides seem painfully obvious to our grown-up ears, keep in mind that his intended audience is the very, very young -- those who might find high entertainment value in rib-tickless commentary like "'What kind of bird are you if you can't fly?' he said/To which the duck cleverly replied, "I'M A DUCK, STUPID!" You and me, we're smarter, but even we must (and CAN) raise our toast to Al's more mature and droll moments of inspiration, e.g. "Just imagine the victory parade/Peter was at the head/(*toilet flushing noise*)/But after a few minutes he was through/And then the parade began with Peter at the very front."

"Carnival Of The Animals," on the other hand, features Al rhymin' and Wendy doing fanfastingtastic musical representations of such delightful Nature's Creatures(TM) as the aardvark, hummingbird, snail and... amoeba. Al's favorite trick in these tracks is to mispronounce a word (or combine two separate words) in order to create an unexpected, unnatural rhyme, as in "So to fill in this void in the Animal Kingdom/I'll read some new verses, I'm not gonna sing dem." And funny? How! I laughed several times and still do. A few of 'em blow ass balls (a LAWYER joke!?), but Al's ever-friendly delivery keeps things snapping most of the time. And Wendy's musical representations? Yikes! On the MONEY! Here's a little rhyme I made up in celebration: "Her impressions are just uncanny: That's one talented post-op tranny!"

Rather than come up with my own ending, I'll close my review with the final lines from the album. Now go find yourself a copy! It ends:

"Poor Wendy's feeling in the dumps, she's worn her fingers down to stumps
And so, farewell, this record's through, now go find something else to do"

Indeed! Oh hell, I said I was gonna close my review with the final li

"Poor Wendy's feeling in the dumps, she's worn her fingers down to stumps
And so, farewell, this record's through, now go find something else to do"

There we go. Now it's GAHH

"Poor Wendy's feeling in the dumps, she's worn her fingers down to stumps
And so, farewell, this record's through, now go find something else to do"

And so I did. As YOU will when - FUCK!

"Hello boys and girls
This is a story that I like to call 'Peter And The Wolf'"

"Peter And The Wolf"? More like "Peter-LESS And The

Reader Comments

sinailee@cs.com (Carol)
I had my copy stolen from me and have been looking for one ever since. It’s out of print. Does anybody know where I can find it? Huge Al fan; trying to replace my collection which walked away when my son moved out. Grrr. I teach music, and this album is a great tool.

3dsunglasses@gmail.com
I bought this album on tape mint at a yard sale for 25 cents so beat that!!!!!

Add your thoughts?

"UHF" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff - Rock 'N' Roll 1989.
Rating = 7


Say! I have a Dr. Demento album that contains a really great song called "Punk Polka" by The Toons. The concept and instrumentation sound just like Mr. Yankovic, as does the lead singer, but I've never been given any verification that he actually took part in the project. Does anybody know? Were The Toons just an awfully Al-esque outfit, or was there more going on? Eh? Eh? Eh?

Okay then. If you're reading these reviews and you've yet to see the UHF movie, please rent it tonight. It's hilarious. And it stars Michael Richards of "Kramer" fame in his pre-Seinfeld days!!! (He also used to be on Fridays, I think, if you remember that fine program at all.). So is the soundtrack as good as the movie??? Well, some of it certainly is! Most of the bits from the movie ("Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," "Gandhi II," "Let Me Be Your Hog," "Spatula City," and "Fun Zone")) are every bit as entertaining as aforementioned cinematic presentation, but only about half of the "other stuff" is worth its weight in pounds.

On the good side, the National Lampoon-inspired epic "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota" is awfully close to being a fantastic little fairy tale, the R.E.M. parody "Spam" is everything you've ever dreamt of, "Generic Blues" is so dang witty it later inspired a Dead Milkmen song (whether they'll admit it or not), and "The Hot Rocks Polka" is bouncy bliss if you're a Stones fan, worthless woowoo if you're some kinda jackass that's not. But then, on the down side, the parodies "Isle Thing" and "She Drives Like Crazy" are near about as funny as a Koran or some other worthless piece of shit porn rag, and the originals "Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars" and "UHF" are noncatchy, inmemorable, and irgood. Why can't he pump out enough classics to complete a whole three-quarter-hour experience for a fargin' change???? Damn guy with a mustache.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
I like this album, and back when I was a big fan of his, it was as hard as punch to find, but I did. Anyway, This one is on par with first album for me. "Radioactive Hamsters" sucks, as does "Uhf", but the rest of it is as good as he gets. And yes, that movie is hilarious. 7.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
Okay, this is the big one. The songs from the movie are good, the sound clips are hilarious, the originals are top-notch (I don't see what's wrong with the title track) and the parodies are really good. I particularly like how "She Drives Like Crazy" is a listenable version of the awful original. 10!

Gleeman555@aol.com
"WE GOT IT ALL ON UHF!!!!"

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
This is probably my next favorite Weird Al to Off the Deep End. UHF is definitely one of my most favored comedy movies of all time, so there's a little bias there. As for the album, it is very consistent for Al, with a tasteful dose of originals, parodies of songs that were popular at the time, and insanely funny samples from the film ("Gandhi II" is just about the funniest thing I have ever seen and heard). The soundtrack suffers from some experiments in which Al tries to sound like the artists he's making fun of ("Isle Thing," "She Drives Like Crazy"), and the results are labored and embarrassing. But the rest of UHF is just fine--"Hot Rocks Polka" is one of the most interesting medley concepts Al has ever come up with, "Generic Blues" is an amusing original, and "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies" is song parody in the classic Yankovic tradition. An unsung gem from a horribly overlooked movie. An 8.

rtreynor@yahoo.com (Rob Treynor)
Man..I agree with Prindle 100% on this one..but would like to add one comment - "Biggest Ball of Twine In Minnesota" is a style parody of Harry Chapin - and is very very similar to Chapin's "30,000 pounds of Bananas" - and it's the PERFECT style parody. He's never done one better. The way he has to extend the melody for an extra few measures just to get all the words in before the rhyme gets there - is pure Chapin..Fantastic song. Worth a dozen stupid tracks like "Isle Thing."

johnmilne@sprynet.com (John Milne)
Hi!

Just stumbled across this Weird Al page, and had an answer for you. I was the leader of The Toons back in the 70s-80s. We recorded the punk polka, it ended up on a Dr. Demento complilation. We actually did a couple of gigs wil Al back then, first at his college (San Luis Obispo) when he was just starting out, and also at a club called Hop Sings in LA ca. 1982. The similarity to what he ultimately did was coincidental, although pretty much anyone who owned an accordion in the late 70s was bound to come up with something similar!

Add your thoughts?

Off The Deep End - Rock 'N' Roll 1992.
Rating = 7


Nirvana saved his career, but the rest ain't poop to sneeze your throat at any old how then wherefore neither. Same old crappy formula, but the MC Hammer TV thingy "I Can't Watch This" is pretty hooty, the Gerardo (remember that guy?) take-off "Taco Grande" is a knee-slapper in much the same way that "Lasagna" wasn't about four years earlier, the old bag metal sneer "When I Was Your Age" reminds one that Grandpa may actually be one of the more amusing Simpsons, and "You Don't Love Me Anymore," though certainly not the first anti-love ballad Al has ever penned, is still fairly amusing what with that Nelson-esque power acoustic ballad instrumentation and all.

And the rest, as you may have already suspected, is just okay. The Milli Vanilli and New Kids On The Block parodies are as worthless as the hits on which they're based, and the other Al-writ babies just don't really have anything "neat" going on musically or lyrically. They're not bad, per se. They just don't make you wanna hear 'em again the way that "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota," "Mr. Popeil," and "Don't Wear Those Shoes" do.

Reader Comments

Weigelda@aol.com (Phil Weigel)
I have this tape with 4 others of "Weird Al"'s. I think you're right about "Weird Al" Yankovic is his best tape. But I also think that Off The Deep End is one of his best and it should get a 8. Not a 9 because of the songs "The White Stuff" and "Airline Amy," which wasn't funny at all. I think because all the other songs like the first three on the first side and the first on the second. I'm also surprised on the low score of Even Worse. The last three songs were OK but all the rest were great. I think that "Fat" is his best song. I also like "Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White".

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Off The Deep End is notable for the streamlined production job and in my opinion, his best song, "You Don't Love Me Anymore". That earns it a 6.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
The problem with this album is the artists who were parodied. Milli Vanilli, New Kids On The Block, MC Hammer, Gerardo, now COME ON! Couldn't Al see that these guys didn't have a single chance of remaining popular? The originals are good, though, and despite how much I bashed the singers, Al's parodies of them are really great. Also, the 8 seconds of screaming 10 minutes after the last track is hilarious!

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
This is my most favorite Weird Al Yankovic album. Most of the parodies are great, and two of what I think are his best originals are here. Those songs are "You Don't Love Me Anymore" and "Trigger Happy"--Al's sadistic side at its funniest! The way "You Don't Love Me" gradually unwinds from calm reflection to all hell breaking loose (while still sung softly and inquisitively) is ingenius. The song starts out just explaining how things aren't going well between the narrator and his flame, and then unravels an incessant series of sick happenings that about kill you with laughter by the end ("You pulled out my chesthairs with an old pair of pliars . . ."). "Trigger" is also pure brilliance, assuming the persona of an NRA (Nachos, Rifles, Alcohol) nut, and then tearing it to pieces with a barrage of blunt sarcasm--every time I hear this song, it slays me when Al's back-up singers croon, ". . . Shot daddeeeeeyyy in the den!" And the whole thing sounds so happy, like a Beach Boys song. I agree that all the parodies except "Smells Like Nirvana" were terribly out of step with the times (not unlike Polka Party), but Al's answers to Gerardo and M.C. Hammer were still very funny! I also think the polka on this album was one of his better ones (some of the songs featured in it are more timeless than the parodied singles on the album), and "When I Was Your Age" makes for another classic original (I've been assured of how much weaker I am than my parents, so I really appreciate the humor!). My only beef is with the New Kids Oreo jingle and "Airline Amy"; that's about as mundane as it gets. But Off the Deep End is far better than anything else Yankovic did in the '90s, and a 9 in my opinion!

landonmoblo@home.com
This album is worth it for Trigger Happy alone! I challenge anyone to listen to it without doubling over in laughter while simultaneously doing the mashed-potato! Now!

Add your thoughts?

Alapalooza - Rock 'N' Roll 1993.
Rating = 6


Same ol' thing, but a bit less consistent. Reminiscent of Dare To Be Stupid in that most of the originals are pretty dumb, but the parodies are a-ok. "Jurassic Park" is an extraordinarily cute take on "MacArthur Park" (an early '70s hit that most of Al's fans have probably never even heard), "Achey Breaky Song" is a touching jab at Billy Ray, "Livin' In The Fridge" actually IMPROVES on the dumbass original Aerosmith anthem, and "Bohemian Polka" - well, I guess I can say the same thing - is a vast improvement on the overplayed original Queen song. I could do with or without the Chili Peppers send-up "Bedrock Anthem," but most people liked it pretty well. As for the originals.... hmm. "Waffle King" and "Harvey The Wonder Hamster" are uproarious, but the others are as predictable as you might have, umm, predicted, I guess. Or guessed. I'd go so far as to say that I despise "Talk Soup" ("Midnight Star Part II") and "She Never Told Me She Was A Mime" (is there supposed to be a joke somewhere in the song?). The others are decent enough, though, I guess. I wish they were catchier, though. Darn it! Whatever happened to them catchy Polka Party-type numbers??? Eh?? You!!! I'm asking You!!!!
Reader Comments

jeffshil@ix.netcom.com (Jeff and Steven Shilling)
I never really liked "Jurassic Park," "Young Dumb and Ugly," "Achy Breaky Song," or "She Never Told Me She Was A Mime" that much... "Frank's 2000" TV," "Livin' In The Fridge," and "Talk Soup" are probably my favorites on the album. The Peter And The Wolf album isn't that great. There's too much music and not enough Al!

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
Rating = 8!

This is the first Weird Al album I got, and it's easily my second favorite. Simply put, it's his best album since his debut. What makes it so good? Well, first of all, the four parodies "Jurassic Park" ("MacArthur Park"), "Bedrock Anthem" (Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Under the Bridge" and "Give it Away"), "Achey Breaky Song" (Billy Ray Cyrus's overplayed "Achey Breaky Heart"), and "Livin' in the Fridge" (Aerosmith's "Livin' on the Edge") are all funny and well-chosen; these are songs that begged to be mocked. Well, maybe "Livin' in the Fridge" isn't so funny, but it flows well with the album. And that's another plus; the album is perfectly paced and never boring.

But the best news is that the originals that are usually Weird Al's weakest aspect are all spectacular! "Young, Dumb and Ugly" is an Alice Cooperish slap at ignorant youth ("We are born to be bad, you better not get us mad/or we just might toliet paper your lawn"). "Frank's 2000 Inch TV" and the brief "Harvey the Wonder Hamster" are darn classics. "She Never Told Me She Was A Mime" is, admittedly, a one-joke song, but oh that one joke and title! Cracks me up. "Waffle King" must be the only Weird Al song that starts off lame and gets funnier, with the title character going into some meglomaniac rant. "Talk Soup" has lost some appeal with the increasing backlash against sleazy talk shows, but it's still a fun song, what with that weird thumping, approaching song structure. And yes, "Traffic Jam" may not go anywhere musically, but--hey! That's the joke! And, ah yes, it wraps up with the amazing polka cover of Queen's famous epic "Bohemian Rapsody". Oh man, whatta polka. Sound effects and all.

Part of what makes this effort so entertaining is the musical ambition. No, really! The horn sections and female backup can really spruce up a song like "Talk Soup". Gives the thing a campy, overdone Broadway feel. And there's a picture of what Al really looks like inside (kinda like Freddie Mercury)! Plus, the wrapper comes with a warning; "This is NOT the Jurassic Park soundtrack". Hah, hah! Seems like when people were searching for that crappy instrumental thing, they'd accidentally pick up this and be disappointed. I've said it before and I'll say it again--People are stupid.

borg@win.bright.net (The Borg)
I admit it, some of Al's parodies are pretty lousy, but many times by the time Al's album is released, the song he is parodying is old news. It's funnier when the song just came out. With most of everything else you said about him, I agree with. UHF, although a box office bomb, is one of the best cult classic movies of all time here at Northland College, and in my home town (Janesville, WI). ALTV is hands down one of the funniest specials on television, even though MTV screwed Al over last year. And you've never laughed your ass off until you've been to a "Weird Al" Yankovic concert. I've been to five of them, and I'm going to another one this July.

mdurham@nmaa.org (Lunacrist Lee)
Hey you! Who do you think you are putting down AL like that? Huh? Al's the best darned musician to ever live gosh darnnit!

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
It's awful - 4

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
This album was rushed, possibly to get sales from the hype of Jurassic Park and Lollapalooza. It's evident in "Jurassic Park" -- you can tell that Al was just looking through old two-word song titles where the second word was "Park" so he could parody it. Why else would he parody a 60's song that none of his younger buyers would recognize? Two Peter Gabriel style parodies is way too much, too, despite how talented Gabriel is. ("Waffle King" and "Talk Soup" both sound like Peter Gabriel.) 6.5, it still has some good parodies although it's altogether weak.

jim.morrison@montego.com (Michael Rohm)
Was THIS a disappointment after Off the Deep End. I got this CD for Christmas and I never really liked it.. it just never appealed to me. The winners are "Jurassic Park," "Achy Breaky Song," "Bedrock Anthem" and "Bohemian Polka." "Waffle King" is good, too, but it was originally on the "Smells like Nirvana" tape single, so I wasn't too excited to see it on here after I had already owned the single for a year or so. "Young Dumb and Ugly" is alright, and I like "Traffic Jam." The rest just isn't good. The 'Smith parody, "Talk Soup," while being a funny show, isn't much of a song aside from the amusing lyrics, and "Mime" and the rest is just dull, including that stupid "Frank's 2000 Inch TV." yawn.

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
I have not heard this album, but I did see Yankovic on this tour; needless to say, Al was sensational--one of the best concerts I've ever seen! (And better than that overly-lavish VH1 performance.) It was at the Clark County Fair, in Vancouver, WA (Portland greater area) in the summer of '94. What was so funny (besides Weird Al) was how legions of the kids there tried to "mosh" during "Smells Like Nirvana," and it totally freaked out the rural folk workin' at the fairgrounds--I think they thought they were stopping a massive brawl. As for the album, nobody seems to like it, and Al creatively stagnated after this point. Of what I have heard, "Bedrock Anthem" is pretty funny the first one or two times; "Jurassic Park" isn't funny, but I think "MacArthur Park" is such a grandiose and righteous pop song than I can just listen to the music and be totally content; and "Achy-Breaky Song" is hilarious (if abrasive), and I'm glad to see that old Billy Ray Yee-Haw was able to have a sense of humor about himself. But I have also heard "Frank's 2000" TV," and I find it a sad forshadowing tool into the abode of weak originals that was Bad Hair Day. And I was disappointed that "Bohemian Polka" was the only polka he played live--a failed experiment, as his polkas only work when he combines several songs. I intend to merely collect what is presumably the best material from this album on Greatest Hits Vol. 2 down the road, although I will always have a little loyalty for this album because it is the tour that I saw, and the show was stellar.

Ganoobian99@aol.com
FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKSFRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKSFRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKSFRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS FRANKS oh yeah... Fridge, Polka And Traffic Jam are good

Add your thoughts?

Headline News CD-single - Scotti Bros. 1994
Rating = 7


TV's "Weird Al" Yankovic has dung it again! Today he's making fun of the Crash Test Dummies' overdramatic serious-fest "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," replacing its sorrowful lyrics about young people with goose-silly rhymes about the Top News stories burning a hole in today's headlines today. Michael Fay, Tonya Harding and John Wayne Bobbitt all get their day in the "Weird Al" sun as gag after gag come popping crisp off the vinyl to make you laugh until your sides ache with bilitis. "Did he just say 'WEINER'!?" you'll blush. "Did he just say 'MR. HAPPY'!?" you'll ask your Nomeansno collection. And the response is, "Yes, he did. 'Weird Al' Yankovic isn't afraid to cross your smug, bourgeois line of demarcation between 'acceptable' and 'reprehensible' comedy jokes. 'Weird Al' Yankovic didn't earn his reputation by taking the censored way out. Have you heard 'Eat It 2004'? The entire track is a recording of 'Weird Al' Yankovic forcing a little kid with cancer to suck him off. You call it 'obscene' and 'a felony' -- I call it 'art.'"

Not only that, but he sings "Headline News" in an uproarious faux-low voice like the big dork in the Crash Test Dummies, and the song features zany sound effects and a fade-out with accordion, kazoos and hand farts. A great song! And the video's even funnier! Check it out? It's great.

Side B, however, is less worthy of my praise. It's an "Alternate Mix" of Polka Party's "Christmas At Ground Zero" - and that's fine because it's a great song - but you know what the main difference between this special remix and the original mix is? In this one, THEY REMOVED THE AIR RAID SIREN SOLO!!! You know - the best part of the goddamned song? Now it's goddamned gone! Thanks, "Goddamned Juan"!

Oh, I'm sorry. "Goddamned Juan" Morales is a Mexican novelty artist with such classic hits as "Paraiso Amish," "Noticias Del Titulo" and "Navidad En La Tierra Cerro (Mezcla Alterna)."

So you see, "Weird Al" Yankovic is back with another great song, played on a piano. "Headline News" may not be remembered in 45,000 years when we're all living in a Space Kingdom on the Moon, but for today's Gotta Have It Now Instant Gratification Society, it's a perfect example of what "Weird" does best -- expose 'serious rock music' as the overwrought horseshit that it really is. Great work, "Weird"!

Add your thoughts?

Bad Hair Day - Rock 'N' Roll 1996.
Rating = 7


The same. Buy one Al album and you've got 'em all. The parodies here are funny (Coolio's "Amish Paradise," U2's "Cavity Search," TLC's "Phony Calls," Soul Asylum's "Syndicated Inc.," and The Presidents Of The United States Of America's "Gump"), and most of the originals are just so-so. I like the fact that he MOSTLY manages to avoid the subjects of TV and food on this one, plus the fact that he uses the accordian in THREE songs, instead of the usual one, but aside from that, there's nothing new going on. "Alternative Polka" is phenomenal, though. Just a hilarious send-up of all that youth music fimple that's been infecting our ears over the past couple of solstices.
Reader Comments

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
Grade = 6.

I hate doing this. I hate it when people really get into a musician I like as well, only they get a weak effort and LOVE IT! So I have to argue about something I should be busy liking. You see, many young people have started liking Weird Al because of this album. So they latch onto it and say how it's his best, when it really ain't.

Some of the songs are phenomenal. "Amish Paradise" (based on Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise", which is a spin on Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise") is hilarious even without the video. The vocals are some of Al's best--he's trying to sound like a rough, rapping amish guy, and it works. "Cavity Search" is a funny riff on U2's ridiculous "See Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" (from Batman Forever, which really sucked but still looks to be better than Batman and Robin even if they do show a close-up of Alicia Silverstone's butt...what am I talking about? Just ignore me.). "Gump" is another great parody based on a stupid Pres. of the USA song. And the originals "Since You've Been Gone" and "The Night Santa Went Crazy" are pretty funny.

But there's an innate weakness to this. First of all, modern alternative and R&B music just isn't very funny. Songs like Soul Asylum's "Misery" or TLC's "Waterfalls" just don't lend themselves to parody like 80s synth crap or Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. As a result of this, "Syndicated Inc." and "Phony Calls" (despitea Simpsons sample) blow. And the originals "Everything You Know is Wrong" and "Callin' in Sick" are limp, too. Another problem is lack of ideas. "Syndicated Inc." is another anti-TV song, and compared to "Talk Soup" or "The Brady Bunch" it's a loser ('tho it outperforms "Cable TV" by a good margin"). "Everything You Know is Wrong" recalls "Dare to Be Stupid", and drawing a line from "Christmas at Ground Zero" to "The Night Santa Went Crazy" is not hard. And two similar anti-love songs on one album? Come on, Al!

I guess I should admit that it must be hard to dredge up new ideas after 13 years, but I still find this album quite lazy. And the overdone guitar work don't help, neither. Not very funny. Nevertheless, I can't wait for the next Weird Al album. Oh, I can hear the Hootie parodies already! Oh, and I forgot to mention that the "Alternative Polka" is great.

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Though I haven't heard all of Bad Hair Day, I think that it's almost as bad as Alapalooza. 4.

Other Weird Al albums I used to have, but probably threw away or something:

Greatest Hits - 4

Food Album - 3

Greatest Hits 2 - 5

I'm sorry, I forgot I was reviewing Weird Al. All my ratings numbers should decrease by one for him.

braunsm@alleg.edu (Michael Braunstein)
Weird Al is the greatest artist of all time and he just keeps getting better!

PhilTheBob@aol.com (Willie Williams)
Doesn't it seem like kind of a pointless exercise to you to parody a Presidents of the USA song? Their songs are intentionally stupid parodies of themselves- for Al to parody "Lump" is akin to MAD publishing a satire of one of the Naked Gun films. It's a lot more entertaining when he deflates songs that are too self-consciously serious in the first place ("Smells Like Nirvana," "Amish Paradise," etc.).

It doesn't help that the lyrics to "Lump" are funnier than "Gump" (the former isn't especially funny, I know, but "Gump" isn't funny at all). All "Gump" proves is that Al can summarize the plot of that godawful movie in rhyming couplets.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
"Amish Paradise" is overrated, but it's an incredibly original idea, unlike earlier parodies "Fat" and "Eat It" which every 8-year old had already thought up. This is mainly a balance of strong parodies and weak originals -- I don't like "Phony Calls" even though it has a Simpsons clip in it. Still, "Everything You Know Is Wrong" is a style parody of They Might Be Giants, the greatest group ever, so this album merits a 7.

Gleeman555@aol.com
One of Al's best I think. Amish Paradise is a hoot (did I really say HOOT?!) And Everything you know is wrong is clever. One clunker Syndicate Inc or whatever it is. Oh and The night Santa Went Crazy is hilariouus. 9 out of 10!

bgwardl@flash.net (Charles W. Trowbridge)
I think that not enough people appreciate what Al is doing. Everyone seems to be giving his albums poor ratings. I agree, however, that some of his songs have little to no humor value at all, but he is just having fun and his parodies are pretty freakin' funny just because he is taking a shot at somebody famous.

smjones@gateway.net
If you want to get picky and critical, fine. But I just don't see the point in disecting his work like this. I love Weird Al. I have everyone of his albums except for that peter and the wolf thing. I think we should all just accept it, laugh, and move on.

john_schlegel@hotmail.com
Personally, I think Al really started to go down hill with Alapalooza. Throughout the '90s, he has seemed more overconfident in his age, effortlessly churning out one album after another with a store of boring, overproduced originals and typically fly-by-night parodies. With that, I see his jokes getting more mean-spirited and juvenile (did somebody say "The Night Santa Went Crazy"?). And that brings us here. I bought this album back in '96 because I liked "Gump" and "Amish Paradise" for a little while. But those songs don't have the staying power of "I Lost on Jeopardy" and "One More Minute," and I was quick to trade this into the used record store of disgrace. I feel like I have since forgotten about much of the material. YES, I STILL LIKE WEIRD AL, AND YES, THIS ALBUM DOES HAVE SOME GOOD SONGS ON IT (just not very many). My favorite is probably still "Gump," a light-hearted interpretation of the movie that cans most of that grating Baby-Boomer indulgence that infects the original film. The "Alternative Polka" is exceptionally well done, and I like the remark about "reading crappy magazines" in the U2 parody. And, actually, I think "Remember Larry" is pretty funny the first time around, speaking of contradicting myself for that "mean-spirited and juvenile" remark. But most of the album is piffle--still listenable, granted, but not great. As some have said, "Phony Calls" is crap (probably because the original song is so bad), even if it does contain a quote by the hands-down greatest TV show of all time, The Simpsons (by the way, if you are a real fan, then read my review of Off the Deep End and pick out the glaring Simpsons reference). "Since You've Been Gone" is a desparate attempt to recapture the genius of "You Don't Love Me Anymore"--that "been in a buttload of pain" line is only a total riot because it's so atypical of a once more creative Yankovic. I give this one a 6.

Zappy4Life@aol.com
I was a Weird Al fan back in the day. This was the first cd i ever bought, but now I realize that getting into him was a mistake because the music barely rises a chuckle out of a sane human. What the fuck was I thinking? But he's still better than Linkin Park. But is that really saying much?

Add your thoughts?

Gump CD-single - Scotti 1996
Rating = 4


Do you ever obsess about a noise that your air conditioner is making? No? Then that makes ONE of us! I put a new air conditioner into our downstairs bedroom about a week ago and every little 'pip,' 'rattle,' and 'roll' gives me a headache the size of my upper cortex. How's a man to sleep when his air conditioner isn't emitting a steady low rumble? Especially when he himself put in the new air conditioner and is thus responsible for any errant noises that may occur? If you see me through the window roundabouts 3 AM shaking and beating on the wall, that's my educated effort to make the air conditioner conform to my personal specifications re: what an air conditioner should sound like. But it's not ALL my fault -- in fact, NONE of it is my fault, if I might be less modest for a moment. It's not my fault that the 17-year-old wall sleeve is 45 million square inches bigger than the new air conditioner so I had to cram in a whole bunch of foam rubber to stop it from rattling and bouncing all over creation. It's also not my fault that it came equipped with the worst instructions booklet since God invented India, nor that the thingy frame you're supposed to put around it to seal it to the wall DOESN'T FIT. I mean, essentially it's a good air conditioner, but considering we paid cash money for it expecting a good night's sleep, it's beginning to get REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING listening to the wrongly-sized frame rattling for me to smack it, or -- you know what the worst problem of all with this thing is? See, it's made by Freidrich, who also made our wonderful living room air conditioner so I know they're not idiots, but I don't know what the hell they were thinking when they came up with this one. I noticed a few nights ago what sounded like rain rattling on the air conditioner sleeve. Makes sense - it was raining. Then the next morning, I noticed it again. But it wasn't raining. Sure, it was humid but nothing was actually falling from the sky. Same deal last night - pippity pippity rain noises in the air conditioner, no rain. So I pull out the instruction manual and read about THIS BIT OF GENIUS ENGINEERING: "You may hear a pinging noise caused by water being picked up and thrown against the condenser on rainy days or when humidity is high. This design feature helps remove moisture and improve efficiency."

WOW! THANKS, FRIEDRICH!

So not only does it improve efficiency, but i get to STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT HEARING IT IMPROVE EFFICIENCY!!!!! Thanks for the warning that this might not be the best model for OCD sufferers!

Not only that, but the one we bought for upstairs bedroom is the same kind but bigger, and the sleeve (and old, broken air conditioner to be replaced) is perched way, way up by the ceiling above our circular staircase. In other words, a death trap. And we can't get anyone to help us put it in (for obvious reasons) so it's just sitting in a huge box by the sliding glass door like an ASSHOLE. Basically what I'm getting at is that Summertime can suck my cock with such force that my entire left ball pops out the tip.

On another note, the Gump CD-single is not something you're gonna want to look into buying. The track list could surely not have been put together with ANYBODY'S interest in mind -- look at this:

1. Gump (from Bad Hair Day) (2:10)
2. Spy Hard (Theme From The Motion Picture Spy Hard) (2:49)
3. Since You've Been Gone (from Bad Hair Day) (1:22)
4. Since You've Been Gone (Karaoke Version) (1:22)
5. Callin' In Sick (Instrumental Version of Bad Hair Day track) (3:40)
6. Spy Hard (Theme From The Motion Picture Spy Hard) (Instrumental) (2:49)
7. Spy Hard (Theme From The Motion Picture Spy Hard) (Orchestral Mix) (2:49)

Now let's look at that list a bit more closely:

1. Album Track
2. Movie Theme
3. Album Track
4. #3 (Instrumental)
5. Album Track (Instrumental)
6. #2 (Instrumental)
7. #2 (Instrumental)

So basically, you're buying this for one song - "Spy Hard." And it's not a very good song. Not that you'd expect a very good song to come out of a movie as rotten as Spy Hard starring Leslie Nielsen and Andy Griffith, but it certainly feels like a wasted opportunity for Mr. Yankovic. A James Bond parody! Think of the possibilities! Al did, and although the music certainly does mine the brass-driven minor-key spy intrigue of the best-known Bond themes, the lyrics sound like a first draft. "Facing death everyday/Is a tough job for any man/But his hours are flexible/And he's got a great dental plan." That's the best he could come up with? That and an ending gag ripped off from The Garry Shandling Show? Come on, Al! What happened to that zany brain that once wrote "Gotta boogie on my finger and I can't shake it off!"???

Otherelse, "Gump" recalls some scenes from the film Forrest Gump without inserting any jokes, "Since You've Been Gone" is a doo-wop rewrite of "One More Minute," and "Callin' In Sick," though a neat moody Nirvana-esque tune, wears a little thin without its accompanying lyrics. You know what the best song on here might be, actually? The 'karaoke' version of "Since You've Been Gone" -- without the lame lyrics, it's easier to concentrate on exactly how ridiculous Al's background 'doowop' vocals really are ('ba-doo-ba-doo-doo-ba-dow-yap-yap-dippy-dew-dew" etc), and it ends up a really funny good time of enjoyments!

So I'll close another great, great, GODDAMN what a great review - I'm looking at it thinking, "Holy shit, what a great review!" Then I show it around to people and they agree. And we're all totally like, "Holy shit! What a great review!" I think the best thing about it that's so great is that it tells you what all the songs are and then LASHES through them like so many hot knifes through live flesh. But that's why music criticism is so important; it's like literature. Some day you're going to be looking at a big list of the world's greatest books and right there on the top above Ethan Fromme and The Sun Also Rises you're going to find Mark Prindle's Review of "Weird Al" Yankovic's Gump CD-single, In Book Form". It will be a worldwide sensation and thank god for that because can you imagine if I'd spent all my free time for the past 10 years on something that DOESN'T MATTER and has NO SHELF LIFE? HA! Toil the very thought! Not me - only IMPORTANT groundbreaking literature and science for Ol' Prind! Look, here's a new scientific formula I just made up:

E = MC Hammer

See? Do you see the difference this will make in the science field of tomorrow? The very notion of energy being equal to matter times a hammer times something that starts with a C -- perhaps 'crayons' or a rooster's 'cock-a-doodle-doo'? It's almost enough to give you goose pimples! So get crackin', all you scientists. And also, develop cures for AIDS and cancer because all the people who suffer from them are too lazy and stupid to do it themselves.

Oh come on, I'm just teasing people with AIDS and cancer. Look at them laughing! They think it's hilarious that thing I just said!

Add your thoughts?

Running With Scissors - Volcano/Way Moby 1999.
Rating = 6


And the pain continues. As usual, there are a couple of hilarious parodies ("It's All About The Pentiums" and "Grapefruit Diet"), a few good originals ("Truck Drivin' Man," "My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder," "Your Horoscope For Today," "Albuquerque") and an uproarious polka medley, but there's also a ton of incredibly UNCATCHY songs, and more pointless filler than any man need concoct. For example, isn't the point of Al's career to deflate the seriousness of pop music? If this is the case, why in HELL did he choose to parody shitty songs by Barenaked Ladies and The Offspring? Those bands take music about as seriously as I take your feelings (and they suck, just like you, you fucking pansy!!!)! And sure, I'm all for genre parodies, but could somebody please explain to me where I might find the humor in a Nine Inch Nails homage called "Germs"? There IS none. Just like there's no humor in his Star Wars song set to the "American Pie" music. Oh well. No biggy. At least you finally get to see what Al looks like without his mustache and glasses!!! (Weird!)

By the way, if you like Al, check out Bob Rivers' Twisted Tunes. They're hilarious! Generally (though not always, mind you) much funnier than Al's parodies. Crude too.

Reader Comments

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
I know someone who has connections at Target and was able to obtain (legally, mind you!) the new Weird Al album today, quite a while before it comes out (which is i don't know when). I've got to agree with you that Al's more recent stuff has been pretty ugh, but I heard a few of these tracks over the phone and it sounds like it could be pretty good. At least better than Bad Hair Day!

It has a Barenakedladies parody ("One Week" -> "The Jerry Springer Show") and an Offspring parody ("Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" -> "Pretty Fly (For a Rabbi)"). Granted, these songs are little more than self-parodies themselves, but with Al's touch, who knows?

And the coolest part is a 5 minute long audio version of the new Star Wars in a parody of "Miss American Pie", which sounds as good as-and maybe better than-the classic "Yoda". Imagine this: "My my, this here Annikan guy. Maybe Vader someday later, now he's just a small fry. He left his home and kissed his momma goodbye. Someday he's gonna be a jedi." Hmm...

Anyways, I just heard and felt like telling someone this and seeing as how you might be interested in this Al guy, thought I'd let you in. Tomorrow I'll be hearing the whole thing, so you'll have an advanced review!

(the next day)

=--=8=--=

Just when you thought you really knew what to expect from Weird Al, he goes and puts this out, probably his best album of the Nineties. Most of the material is funny, and even the filler (and yes, there is less filler here than on his other Nineties albums) is entertaining. First of all you have the single-"The Saga Begins"-a parody on "American Pie". It describes the complete story of the new Star Wars and is funny, but not quite as biting as "Yoda".

What else...(bear with me that I don't actually have the album with me or a track listing)...okay, the other parodies are "Pretty Fly For a Rabbi" (a joke on Offspring's "Pretty Fly For a White Guy"), "All About the Pentiums" (joke on Puff Daddy's "All About the Benjamins"), and-the best-"The Jerry Springer Show" (parody on Barenaked Ladies' "One Week"). Oh, they're all sweet-the production is cleaner, the performances are more spirited, and the lines are funnier than before ("Once you start watchin', there's just no stoppin'/your brain shuts down and your IQ's droppin'" from "One Week").

But the originals are good as well. Unlike Bad Hair Day filler like "Callin' in Sick" and "I'm So Sick of You", most of his new stuff is as jucy as a slice of watermelon! "My Girlfriend's in Love with Eddie Vedder" (or a song of similar title) is quite funny, "The Weird Al Show" them is fun and "The Truck Driver Song" (or a song of a similar title) is insane, but he has two great gems in there. The first is "Your Horoscope For Today", a gut-bustingly sarcastic slander at the inane concept behind horoscopes (sorry, but i can't remember any of the lyrics!). The second is a long epic in the style of Frank Zappa's "Yellow Snow" suite called "Albequercy" (I really can't remember how it's spelled) which is very innovative for Al and shows that his stupidity knows no bounds (in a good way!).

So, basically, if you like Weird Al, you'll really like this album. It's a step up from what he's been doing for the past few years and is incredibly, infinitely, and patently "Weird Al". Oh, and how about that new polka song? Any song that fuses the Backstreet Boys, the Spice Girls, Hanson, Marylin Manson, and Chumbawumba all in one definitely deserves some attention!

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
Ladies and gentlemen, the UHF soundtrack has been dethroned. I'm reducing its score to a 9, for one simple reason--Running With Scissors has been released. This is Al's new best album, and I'm not saying that out of "YES!!! A NEW WEIRD AL ALBUM!!!" excitement; this album truly has Al's best parodies and his most well-written original songs. There isn't any crap of "Toothless People" or "She Never Told Me She Was A Mime" proportions here!

Parodies? We have "The Saga Begins," which tears apart Don McLean's "American Pie" and fits in the plot of some movie that was released recently--while the song isn't as joke-heavy as "Yoda," Al's lyrical adaptation of The Phantom Menace is so impressive that it doesn't matter. "Jerry Springer" finds Al with some of the raciest humor he's ever attempted (and it features an argument during the instrumental section between Al and Tress MacNeille!), and "It's All About The Pentiums" invents a new genre, gangsta nerd rap ("I'm down with Bill Gates, I call him Money for short!") and actually makes a Puff Daddy "tune"...heaven help us, LISTENABLE. "Pretty Fly (For A Rabbi)," while an obvious idea, is handled in a genius manner ("How ya' doin, Bernie? OY VEY! OY VEY!") that overshadows the fact that the original Offspring song simply annoys the living crap out of me. The "Zoot Suit Riot" parody "Grapefruit Diet" is a retread of "Fat" but it's a GOOD retread of it.

The originals are the even more amazing side of this album. "Germs" is a paranoid rant against microbes done in the industrial Nine Inch Nails style, "Truck Drivin' Song" doesn't have that great of a TUNE but that's only because it's truck drivin' music and it contains some wonderful subtle humor (I won't spoil it), "Your Horoscope For Today" goes through each zodiac sign and gives a bizarre horoscope for each one ("All your friends are laughing behind your back -- KILL THEM.") over a bouncy ska tune with members of Reel Big Fish handling the horns, and "Albuquerque".........Wow. "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota" is no longer Al's great epic, THIS is. 11 minutes long with lyrics that ramble on and on and go absolutely nowhere, delivering non sequiturs beyond Fred Schneider proportions and making the framework for one of Al's best songs EVER. Complete and utter hilarity, I burst out laughing maybe 15 times over the course of the song.

There's also the bouncy wordy circus-like theme to the failed CBS show "The Weird Al Show" and of course, a brand spankin' new polka! And this time I know most of the songs on it! Not as conceptual as "The Alternative Polka" but more of a back-to-basics polka of the type that Al hasn't attempted since "Polka Party!.

Sorry for the long length but this is one awesome album. Whereas every other album makes me laugh out loud a few times and only makes me smile with a few clever lyrics, this album seriously has some genuine laugh-out-loud moments on it. Maybe the grade that the other guy gave it of an 8 is more accurate for you people since Al isn't for everybody, but I myself would give it the 10--the album is much, much better than Alapalooza and Bad Hair Day, which were both decent in some ways but also disappointing in several other ways. That's 3 years and 3 months well-spent, Al! And let's not forget Jim, Steve, Bermuda, and Ruben either! How come no one else on here mentioned the band?

Actually I can't help but be afraid for the future, since Al either has to 1) Take another 3 years to make an album just as great, or 2) Release another album quickly but then it would be disappointing like Alapalooza. Okay okay, I'll shut up now. 6 paragraphs?!?!? This is a new record for me! Man, I'm long-winded!

nancybelden@hotmail.com
I've been a Weird Al fan since Alapalooza, but this CD was really a disappointment. Like "Jurassic Park", the new single "The Saga Begins" is a parody of a film as well as a classic song. But where "Jurassic Park" had a lot of funny jokes, "The Saga Begins" doesn't. The only funny parody is "All About The Pentiums", and the originals just don't live up to Weird Al's previous work. All in all, I wish I'd waited to buy this CD secondhand. I'd only give it 2 stars.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Wait a sec - this album blows! The entire charm of Weird Al was always that he made fun of things that were so damn serious. But on this one, he tries to make fun of songs that were jokes in the first place!

I'm speaking, of course, of the Barenaked Ladies mockery "Jerry Springer" - the group BNL is actually very good, and occasionally pretty serious, but the song "One Week" not only ass, but the ass of a donkey, which would make it suck an ass's ass. And the Offspring parody - the original of that actually made me chuckle the first time I heard it, and then became tremendously overplayed, so why would I want to hear a take on it that is also a very innacurate parody on the religon of my parents. "Amish Paradise" was funny because the Amish wouldn't ever hear it, but Al needs to be careful not to mock denomonations that actually use technology! What's next - a padory on black people? "Pretty Fly For A Negro"? Please, Al, be more careful in the future.

The Polka is by far the worst of the bunch. Whereas the previous Polkas all contained at least one song that I really liked, this one resorts to including crap like Semisonic and Britney Spears. The Polkas aren't parodies, their simply medleys, so the tunes included should command some sort of respect. But, no - this time around, the song that sounds best is "Backstreet's Back." What does that tell you?

A few original tunes are okay, and "All About The Pentiums" is a hilarious parody on an awful rap that is only worth mentioning for revolving around my first name. I guess the album deserves a five, at most - but I've been really dissapointed by Al since he did his crappy TV show and directed Hansen videos.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
Personally, I think that the "Pretty Fly" and "One Week" parodies are a hell of a lot funnier than the originals-- the Offspring song was nothing but a bunch of obnoxious annoyance, and the BNL song was more random than it actually was funny. I'd only give the album an 8 now, though. It's still much, much better than Alapalooza and Bad Hair Day at any rate, mainly due to the inclusion of songs that are funny.

Ben recently told me online that he listens to Al's polkas for their musical value rather than to poke fun at the original artists, which makes me think that he's....um....kind of missed the point of the medleys. Sure, you could take the stupid argument of "He doesn't parody the lyrics!" but then you'd be taking a really superficial look at the whole medley idea while not noticing at all the obvious fact that the polka medleys have Al parodying the MUSIC, not the LYRICS. And Britney Spears is nowhere to be found inside the medley at all (thank goodness).

Also, those Twisted Tunes, while ocassionally funny, have the problem of either making fun of current topics that make the parodies dated really quickly or basing them on third-grade-level humor (they recently released a Britney Spears parody called "Oops! I Farted Again!"). Bob Rivers has written some good ones, but the parodies get old even more quickly than Al's. Plus, I always see "What If God Smoked Cannibus?" listed as by Al on Napster, which I find kind of weird considering the song is sung by a girl.

jtcable@tir.com (Josh Cable)
Wow, this is his best album ever. I know, because I own all of them. But I'm not about to review them all.

Sadly, the parodies are better than the original songs. There are a few tunes on here that are just dull, but most of the whole album is chock full of awesome stuff. All About The Pentiums is a materpiece, simply for the work that must have been put in. Albuquerque is a real Al opus.

The American Pie thing didn't really make an impression on me, and... hell, half the album isn't really up to par with the other half. But man, that other half is spectacular. This blows Alapalooza and Bad Hair Day out of the water and into the stratosphere, easily.

May I stress that all the songs parodied are a billion times better than the originals. This may be due to Al's actual talent as far as music goes, and it may be due to the fact that music sucks now. I mean, One Week = glurb. BNL is a fucking joke in my town.

Ben Greenstein = fag. YOU ARE A FAG HAHAHAHAHA FAGGOTY FAGBOY. I am a bigger Weird Al fan than you. I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO HIS STUFF SINCE DARE TO BE STUPID.

Uh, anyway. This album, great. I should probably go out and buy it. There's bonus CD ROM info on the disc, too. A 10 minute QT video, for us computer users. Yay.

sean@darkagepictures.com (Sean Harris)
I must say this is tbe best album I've heard of Al's. I always get a twitchy laugh out of hearing mostly any of his work, but nothing TO THIS POINT has made me want to own one of his records. Maybe I'm such a STAR WARS fan that the Saga Begins found a soft spot, but darnit, this whole album is pretty funny. All About the Pentiums is great, as is Jerry Springer, Grapefruit Diet, and the ending 11 minute epic.

Best of all, he did a wonderful parody of "Pretty Fly." I always hated that song. And those bastards Offspring stole the opening sample from Def Leppard. LAME!

jtcable@home.com (Josh Cable)
You'd have to be a fucking loser to think that the Barenaked Ladies were anything other than a Goddamn gut-wrenchingly boring embarrassment to music. Especially if parodying one of their nightmares of music they call "songs" would make a Weird Al album somehow less than good. BNL deserve to be parodied, because they're songs are no longer "hilarious fun joke songs," of which in reality they only have ONE, but instead they are a radio ballad band. BNL is right up there with Korn, Offspring, and Britney Spears.

amcquill@home.com (Sean McQuillan)
Jerry Springer is one of the greatest parodies Weird Al has ever done and he does it with a subject (trash TV) that he has pulled off songs on before. I thought the Saga Begins sucked. Weird Al's done enough Star Wars songs.

creexul@home.com (John Cable)
By the way, that response by "Josh Cable" up there was actually written by me. Just thought I'd clear that up. I'd also like to clear up that the Barenaked Ladies still totally suck wimpy ass dick.

sarnold@eddiedeen.com
Al Rocks!!!!!

polaritybear@earthlink.net (Ian Patrick)
On the subject of his lousy recent parodies:

Al always got his best material from a type of bland, adult-oriented pop that hasn't really existed since the eighties (George Harrison, Dire Straits, etc.) So I don't think his talent has waned, I just think alternative rock and gangsta rap pretty much killed his muse in the early nineties, and the stuff that's taken over since then just dosn't lend itself to parody. I mean, who could extract any real quirkiness from today's self-conciously "edgy", ruthlessly marketed, pre-teen oriented pop music?

TheRubberCow@aol.com
I don't know...I think in a way, grunge is funnier to parody, and sometimes he has done a good job showing what non-fans are really thinking when they hear it, and hopefully pointing out to fans what sucks about it......and I could really see him making some good parodies of this new ultra-angry "nu-metal" tripe.

Add your thoughts?

Poodle Hat - Volcano 2003.
Rating = 7


"Dancing Sal" Floppydic is back in action! I may be at a disadvantage here since I don't listen to the television or watch M-Radio, and as such I'm not as "up to speed" on current pop hits as "Hank's Pal" Diddlydic. Eminem song? Never heard it. But Al's PARODY of it sure sucks, so the song itself can't be much better! "Angry White Boy Polka"? I've only heard five of the 12 songs he plays up in his reliable accordion way. But he does a shittyass version of THOSE five, so the other 7 can't be much better! Backstreet Boys' "Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog"? Know it?! I MORE than know it!!! And "Seer Sucker" Pancreasass's parody of it is even less funny than the original!

But that was just an introductory paragraph. To kinda get me warmed up to say what I have to say. I just arose from napping on the couch with Mr. Henry (my dog Henry, not Shakespearean-trained actor Buck Henry), so my mind is a little sluggish and sloggy. Even with my slow-eye however, I find myself enjoying the latest "Queer Val" Kilmerdic CD quite the large-ish bit. The parodies, as always, are kinda iffy -- "Couch Potato" is absolutely identical to "I Can't Watch This," "Ebay" has no jokes in it, "Sing Us A Song, You're The Spiderman" only entertains me because it makes the worst song ever written by the worst songwriter ever born seem slightly less self-important, and "There's Something Rotten Here - You'd Better Hold Your Nose" is one hell of a good song, which makes me suspect that Nelly's "It's Getting Hot In Here, So Take Off All Your Clothes" is one hell of a good song, but I've never heard it so I'll give every single bit of credit for its hell of a goodness to "James Earl" Jonesmydic. This leaves one uproariously funny parody and six of what I myself consider to be among "Hairy Gal" Vaginalcavity's finest original compositions of every times.

The parody is "A Complicated Song," a bit of "Weird Al" meta-humor in which he takes us into the satirist's studio of the mind and allows us to see his creative juices flowing IN ACTION as he attempts to come up with a winning parody of "Weird Av" Rillavigne's shit shingle "Complicated." Each verse is unrelated to the one before it, except in its attempt to come up with a witty concept to carry throughout the piece. At the end of each verse, Al scratches it as a bad idea ("No no no") -- which is interesting to note because all three are probably the funniest parody verses on the CD, right up with the gross violent silliness for which we generally turn to Bob Rivers' Musical Madness Express Jalopy Pudding Time Band.

Which leaves the six originals, every one of which puts most of his song parodies to shame. They sound like he actually put EFFORT into them for a change! The first is "Hardware Store," a punk-speed gallop of goofiness highlighted by (a) the most complicated vocal arrangements ever heard in a "Giant Bob" Pooppoopdic song and (b) a third verse so rhythmically, thematically and rhymingly perfect (not to mention LONG), it must have taken HOURS to put together. Check the dope beat in just this one section of it: "Trailer hitch demagnetizers, automatic circumcisers/Tennis rackets, angle brackets, Duracells and Energizers/Softfit panels, circuit breakers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers/Calculators, generators, matching salt and pepper shakers" The actual third verse is FOUR TIMES AS LONG. All in the same rhythm, with the same internal and external (?) rhyme schemes and following the same lyrical concept. And he sings it in four-part harmony at about five jillion miles an hour. See? That's what I mean by "putting effort into it for a change!"

The second original is "Party At The Leper Colony," a Bo Diddley chiggly-diggler that compiles quite possibly every single leper joke ever written (thirteen, to be exact -- including the immortal classic "There's a guy in the hot tub, I don't know who/Wait a minute, it looks like Stu." Heee!).

Number three original gee would be "Wanna B Ur Lovr," a long as hell but rewarding as a bank parody of slimy sexist R'n'B, featuring more bad pickup lines than a truck full of nose candy (THIRTY-ONE bad pickup lines as a matter of fact!), ranging from the inappropriate ("My love for you's like diarrhea/I just can't hold it in") to the... just.... ODD ("I'll bet your outfit/Makes a lot of noise in the drier"). A hoot like a red rubber boot!

Original number four isn't really my favorite type of music, what with it featuring piano work by modern singer/songwriter Ben Folds Five. Nothing against Mr. Five, I'm just not the largest fan of piano-style pop. But the lyrics are good enough to win me over. Probably the weakest original on the album, it's still pretty strong, which says a LOT about where "Dangerous Mal" Yinkleyankle's real strengths lie at this point in his ridiculously long career.

But hooee, the final two originals MAKE the album for me personally. First there's "Bob," which at first appears to be a nonsensical stylistic parody of Bob Dylan's early electric work and nonsensical wordplay, but soon reveals itself to be much much MORE. MORE MORE MORE!!!!! Okay, not that much more. But a little bit more. More enough to have made me crack up when I finally caught the joke around the middle of the third verse. And then finally -- what artist would you REALLY not want to do a stylistic parody of? What, did you say Frank Zappa? Too late! "Rob Lowe" Underagegirlonmydic has already done it! The eight and a half minute long "Genius In France" is about the most PERFECT (and practiced) parody of Frank's outrageous Broadway-esque avant-garde songwriting that anyone could be expected to create, from Madonna to Melanie and everybody in between (which would include Meat Loat, Don McLean and that band MAN who write their name like the MAD Magazine logo). And lyrically, now I know it appears to be about Jerry Lewis, but it's not, is it? It's about Frank Zappa, isn't it? Whether it is or not, I bet you it is and I'm going to go on believing that it is because I'm extremely tickled (balls) by the thought of "Near Sighted" Blankenship spending hours and hours and hours arranging a Frank Zappa stylistic parody for the sole purpose of making a joke about how bad Frank Zappa's lyrics are. (The "Oui Oui!" joke seems especially geared towards this purpose.). But that's enough talk about the new "Weird Al" Yankovic album. Why am I sitting here writing a dissertation about the new "Weird Al" Yankovic album?

Oh that's right - because my dissertation on the new "Weird Al" Yankovic album is due tomorrow.

Reader Comments

foxyfi11@hotmail.com
i lover weird al hez brilliant!!! 10/10

rwdgrwnmfan@yahoo.com
I've been a fan of Weird Al since viewing 'UHF' when it first came out. (His commentary on the DVD is almost funnier than the film itself, btw. "Orion...., Orion......, IS BANKRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!") The great songs on 'Strudel Mat' more than make up for the mediocre ones, in my humble oblivion:

'Couch Potato': 4/10 A disappointing opening. I don't mind the song 'Lose Yourself', as it is one of the few memorable Eminem songs, but he would have done better parodying something like Linkin Park's 'Crawling In My Skin'. (With lyrics like "REALITY TV! These shows, they are not real! Beer is how I cope, infusing me with ZEAL!" ect.)

'Hardware Store': 10/10 Hil-AIR-E-ass. A comic masterpiece of epic proportions. Behold the joyous absurdity of being excited about going to buy bolts and screws! Only this guy can make such a thing seem this life-changing and life affirming, to such comedic effect. The whole upbeat nature of the song is great, with the "I'm goin, I'm a goin, I'm goin....to the Hardware Store!!!" And of course there is the infamous 50-words-per-second bridge. I hadn't laughed harder at anything more in my life the first time I heard it. And I didn't start REALLY laughing until about halfway through it, when you'd think he'd stop, but doesn't.

'Trash Day': 8/10 A much better hip hop parody which conjures up memorable images in the entertained brain. Great lines like "Even my dog passed out and needed resuscitatin".

'Party At The Leper Colony': 5/10 It caught my ears at first listen, but I don't think it really stands on two legs after repeated listening.

'Angry White Boy Polka': 7/10 Not the best polka freak-out he's ever done, but I find it entertaining nevertheless. I think it would be cool if he did something like 'The Dark Side of Polka' where he would condense an entire classic rock album into one polka song.

'Wanna B Ur Luvr': 10/10 The second highlight. A perfect addition to the 'Shaft' or 'Purple Rain' soundtracks. It's the STRANGE pick up lines that make this so funny to me.

'A Complicated Song': 10/10 Arguably his best parody ever.

'Why Does This Always Happen to Me?': 8/10 I dig Ben Folds, so the fast piano didn't bother me that much. The lyrics of course are what make the song worthwhile.

'Ode to A Superhero': 1/10 Why now, Mr. Yankovic? Why not 20 years ago about Superman, when a parody of this song might have been funny? Piano Man and Spider Man do seuge together prety well, but if only he had used something more modern. Anyway, nothing much entertaining to me, at least.

'BOB': 10/10 It does not get ANY better than this. I laughed again and again at this BEFORE I even figured out the joke! A perfect bonus track for any Dylan album. Hell, if only Bob had put something THIS clever on 'Self Portrait', his intentional comedy album!

'E-Bay': 7/10 Not very funny, no, but not actually bad either. At least this shows up the Backside Boys by being 100% better than the original.

'Genius in France': 11/10 Genius in Al's brain! The best song on here. I don't know what to say about it. The tempo changes, the uncanny dead ringer impersonation of Frank Zappa, the editing wizardry, the hysterical lryics. "I couldn't pour water out of a boot, with instructions on the heel! Instructions on the HEEEEEEL, instructions on the heel!"

All in all, great stuff. Recommended to all fans of Profiteered Pal Pankyshtick.

Add your thoughts?

Straight Outta Lynwood - Volcano 2006
Rating = 5


I'm very happy for "Weird Al" Yankovic, and how could one not be? At age 47, his latest release has somehow managed to hit the Billboard Top 10, with second single "White & Nerdy" beating out "Eat It" as his highest-charting song EVER! He must be feeling on top of the world, especially given the marketplace death his last album experienced when the Eminem-parody video got SHITCANNED halfway through production. And I capitalize the word "SHITCANNED" because it's a mature literary word and I want to make sure everybody notices and awards me some sort of literature award.

There are, however, two unfortunate things about this CD's success. The first is tragic -- his parents didn't live to see their son achieve the greatest commercial success of his life. The second is more just whiny -- it's his worst album ever, goddammit! What's it doing skyrocketing up the charts!?

No no, let's be fair about this. "Weird Al" Yankovic's livelihood depends on his ability to keep up with the ever-changing world of pop music, so that he might parody and polka-medleyize songs that young people have heard a million times and are sick to death of. This approach fit my glove like a condom when I was eleven years old, because my musical tastes corresponded with that of the mainstream: pop music was simply ROCKIER back then, or at least it seemed so. "The Safety Dance," "Jeopardy," "I Love Rock And Roll," "I Want A New Drug" - these were songs I knew like the back of my hard because I was their audience. And this affinity between me and my friend "Weird Al" Yankovic continued for many, many years and many, many albums. UNTIL....

By 1999, I'd completely stopped watching TV and listening to the radio. So when Running With Scissors came out, I was all like, "'Pretty Fly For A Huh!?' and 'Some U2 Song I've Never Heard What!?' and 'Who the hell are the Barenaked Ladies!?'" This confusion continued through Poodle Hat, which for my money was saved by possibly the greatest bunch of original compositions he's ever written. However, never before have I been able to say about a "Weird Al" album what I am about to say to you right now:

I have never in my life heard a single one of the songs that he parodies on this album.

But wait - before you accuse me of awarding a bum grade due to my own ignorance, let me add one more statement:

I never in my life want to hear a single one of the songs that he parodies on this album.

So feel free to blame America's pop music consumers for bringing such apparently GOD-FUCKING-AWFUL songs to Mr. Yankovic's attention as Usher's "Confessions Part 2," Chamillionaire's "Ridin'," Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud" and R. Kelly's "Trapped In The Drive-Thru." But don't blame me for turning my back on this urban/ballad shit music years ago when the melodies left!

Most of Al's parody lyrics aren't particularly funny this time around either. The video for "White & Nerdy" is one of his most laugh-out-loud hilariousest ever, but the lyrics aren't terribly witty without the visuals. Sure, they rhyme, but the only couplet that actually kinda makes me chuckle is "My rims never spin - to the contrary/You'll find that they're quite stationary." "Do I Creep You Out?" and his Green Day parody, "Canadian Idiot," don't even manage one funny line between them. I guess "Confessions Part III" has a few funny thoughts though ("Remember when I told you that I knew Pauly Shore?/That's a lie, I don't know what I said that for") and... actually, let me start a new paragraph for this one -

"Trapped In The Drive-Thru" is an absolute scream. As I said, I've never heard R. Kelly's apparently 15-minute original, but this 11-minute parody is a masterpiece of absurdist comedy, with Al relating a Godot-esque tale of epic NOTHINGNESS. Never before has so LITTLE happened in 11 minutes of non-stop singing! I feel like quoting the entire lyric to you (it fills up three full pages of the CD booklet!), but instead I'll just share one representative snippet:

"I hopped up and said, 'I don't know, do you wanna get something delivered?'
And she's like, 'Why would I wanna eat liver? I don't even like liver.'
I'm like, 'No, I said delivered.'
She's like, 'I heard you say liver.'
I'm like, 'I should know what I said.'
She's like, 'Whatever... I just don't want any liver.'"

But see... he SINGS it all. In this really melodramatic, emotional sing-speak style. And it goes on and on and on and on, with NOTHING happening! Christ, R. Kelly did this crap and was SERIOUS about it?!?

So that's it for the parodies - mostly unfunny takes on dull ballads, r'n'b and hip-hop. Then there's "Polkarama!," the 13-track medley of which I've heard exactly one song. (Oops!) No matter, as it's completely by-the-numbers; it sounds like Al's getting pretty bored with this tradition. And finally, the six original compositions.

Say! If you like "Weird Al" Yankovic's style parodies, you'll be all over Straight Outta Compton! Al jams his creative fingers into the musical brainstuff of Rage Against The Machine, Sparks, and USA For Africa to craft three hilarious and clever satirical pieces concerning frivolous lawsuits, technophobia and the pettiness of major-label artists who bitch and moan about file sharing.

Then he does a song about a pancreas that sounds like The Beach Boys. And a really, really shitty fratboy piss-pop piece of shit that apparently sounds like a band called Cake. I'm pretty sure I have all their albums, but they SUCK! Probably. I don't really remember.

Here are a few funny lines, in case you don't believe me:

"I sued Coca Cola, yo... 'cause I put my finger down a bottle and it got stuck!/I sued Delta Airlines... 'cause they sold me a ticket to New Jersey - I went there, and it SUCKED!" See, the comedy joke here is that Rage Against The Machine always stood for hands-on revolution and violence in the streets, but Al is using their funk-metal riffs and shouting vocal style to talk NOT about how tough he is, but about how if you fuck with him, he'll SUE yo ass! The coward/asshole's way out of a conflict, in other words.

"'Cause you start out stealing songs, and then you're robbing liquor stores/And selling crack and running over school kids with your car." See, the humorous riddle contained herein is that back in the '80s, rich and famous rock musicians used to regularly come together and record charity songs for needy Africans and poor people and whatnot - but these days, the only people they come together in support of are themselves, with billionaire whiners like Lars Ulrich, Madonna, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz and Eminem all speaking out to the press about this important charity issue.

(re: a new computer virus) "It's gonna melt your face right off of your skull!/And make your iPod only play Jethro Tull!/And tell you knock-knock jokes while you're trying to sleep!" Okay, this one's not as funny as I remembered.

As for "Pancreas," it may sound like Brian Wilson but there's not a single remotely catchy hook anywhere in the song. Check out these lyrics though: "It's yellow and knobby/And fun to talk about/It's got the islets of Langerhans/It's got no purpose/Except producing hormones/And it's one of the body's biggest glands." Isn't that great? Of course it is; it's not by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It's actually a song called "Pancreas" that my high school punk band Iris Daylillies recorded in 1989. So if anybody ever asks you where "Weird Al" Yankovic gets all his ideas, the answer is "He steals them from Christian Burns Smith, who wrote the song 'Pancreas' in 1989."

The bottom line is that somebody needs to start recording catchy, preferably guitar-driven pop songs again, because otherwise how am I supposed to enjoy the future recording endeavors of America's "Weird Al" Yankovic?

Speaking of which, check out this song I made up this morning to the tune of Dead Kennedys' "California Uber Alles"

I am oil baron J.R. Ewing
You never know just who I'm screwing
Soon I will be shot near-dead
Bobby Ewing may come your way
But I wear a big hat today
I will command all your oil
Your kids for me will work and toil!
I'll kick their faces in the soil!

LARRY HAGMAN! YOU'RE ON DALLAS! LARRY HAGMAN - YOUUUU'RE ON DALLAS! YOU'RE ON DALLAS! LARRY HAGMAN! YOU'RE ON DALLAS, LAAAAAAARRY HAGMAAAAAAAAN! OOOOOH OOOOOH OOOOOH OOOOOOOH! (etc, but with a better second verse)"

See, why can't "Weird Al" Yankovic just do hilarious parodies of old punk songs? Hasn't he learned anything from the seemingly endless Grammy wins of Manic Hispanic?

Reader Comments

REEDNO06@uwgb.edu
R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" isn't 15 minutes, it's like 45 minutes! And the music doesn't change at all from what you get here. "Trapped in the Drive-Thru" is one of my favorite Weird Al songs, it's so clever! Especially if you've heard the ridiculous original which this song makes a lot of references to. As for the rest of it…"White and Nerdy" gets played a lot where I live and it's hard not to be sick of it, but the video's great…I don't remember many of the other songs but it seemed pretty solid to me! One of the songs (I think it was "Virus Alert" but I'm not sure) sounded a lot like early Sparks!

Add your thoughts?

Alpocalypse - Volcano/Jive 2011
Rating = 3


"Big Jim" Sassafrass is back at yo' ass for the nine-fo' with an album so po' you'll wanna tho' it on the flo' and kick it out the do'.

"Somebody shoot me, 'cuz I'm bored to tears."

Are you sure that's a lyric, Al? Are you sure you didn't just suck the thought waves out of my head and stick em on your fucken album?

Much has been written about goofy young comics who wish to be taken more seriously as they age (ex. Jerry Lewis, Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Jim Carrey), but that's not the problem here. Al isn't more serious on Alpocalypse; he's simply less funny. Here, check out some of his latest zingers:

from "CNR (Charles Nelson Reilly)": "He could eat more frozen waffles than any other man I know/He fell off the Chrysler Building and barely even stubbed his toe"

from "Skipper Dan": "I should be there on Broadway, knockin' 'em dead in 12 Angry Men/But instead I'm here telling these lame jokes again and again and again and again and again and again and again"

from "Ringtone": "When my phone rings at my work, I look like the biggest jerk/Total strangers wanna smack me around"

from "If That Isn't Love": "And when we're at parties, I don't talk about your spastic bladder/When you're cleanin' the gutters on the roof, I hold the ladder"

from "Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me": "By the way, those jokes from George Carlin aren't really George Carlin/Mr. Rogers didn't fight the Viet Cong/And Bill Gates is never gonna give me something for nothin'/And I highly doubt some dead girl's gonna kill me if I don't pass her letter along."

And these are the NON-PARODY ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS!!!! Meaning he could've written ANYTHING AT ALL. He had no obligation to fit into a pre-established song template -- the sky was the limit -- yet that shit you just read was the funniest he could come up with. Even taking into account that not all of his stylistic parodies are intended to crack up the listener ("Dare to Be Stupid" and "Dog Eat Dog" aren't exactly jokeful, for example) these particular lyrics clearly are meant to be funny but fail because they're worn-out Mad Magazine-grade cliches. Did Al himself find these lines entertaining? If so, why? And if not, why didn't he try a little harder?

Worse yet, they're not even catchy. The Queen/ELO pastiche "Ringtone" has a few cute histrionic moments, but White Stripes garbage rocker "CNR," piano anthem "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me" and sissyass power pop "Skipper Dan" and "If That Isn't Love" are complete wastes of Al's studio time and my ear batteries.

And that's another thing: look at all the things this record has in common with the Dead Milkmen's debut LP Big Lizard In My Back Yard:

1. They both have a song about Charles Nelson Reilly.
2. They both have a Doors parody.

Granted it seemed like more at the time but still, come on. And don't even get me STARTED about the song parodies. Taylor Swift!? A song about Lady Gaga's costumes that isn't a quarter as funny as her actual costumes? And is there seriously a band called "B.O.B. (Featuring Bruno Mars)"!? Alpologists will always argue that it's not Al's fault if his songs stink; he's just keeping up with current trends in music. Fine, but (a) his parody lyrics aren't any wittier than the ones he's parodying, and (b) this still doesn't explain why the quality of his original compositions has nosedove so severely over the past few albums.

You know how many songs I like on this record? TWO. TWO FUCKING GODDAMNED SONGS. The first, "CraigsList," is less a "Doors stylistic parody" than a "cover of 'When The Music's Over' with different lyrics," but it's actually quite whimsical, especially if you've ever had to deal with the cheap pricks who pass for 'buyers' on that site. Hence the verse "You've got a '65 Chevy Malibu/With automatic drive, custom paint job too/Well I'll trade you for my old wheelbarrow/And a slightly used sombrero/I'll even through in a stapler if you insist." Yes, I laughed! And I laughed doubly in the middle when Al dramatically read an "Open Letter to a Starbucks Cashier" where Jim Morrison would've recited an "Awful Poem about Indians or a Horse."

My second fave might surprise you, but Al's parody of T.I.'s "Whatever you Like" (incredibly entitled "Whatever You Like") is not just catchy as dirt but also absolutely hilarious in its Recession-times timeliness; sample lines include "My chick can have whatever she wants/(At Walmart) she can pick out anything she wants"; "You like my Hyundai? See my Hyundai? I can take you to see your cousin Phil next Sunday/But that's kinda far and I'm not made of cash/Do you think you could chip in for gas?"; and "Yo, my wallet's fat/And full of ones/It's all about the Washingtons" Hilarious? Hil yes, hellarious! But did he seriously blow his ENTIRE SENSE OF HUMOR on two songs!?!?!?

Al needs to do something different; he absolutely must get out of this predictable crap-pop rut he's fallen into. He wrote a children's book recently (presumably targeting an older demographic than his listeners), but musically he hasn't stepped out of his comfort zone since the days of Music From "UHF" and Peter And The Wolf. Why does he even call himself "Weird Al" at this point? With his smooth voice, slick music and unmustachioed face, there's nothing weird about him!

Here then are some ideas for what he should call himself from now on:

"Bland Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Badisucknow
"Second-Rate Bob" Rivers
"Ol' Shavedy" La-de-da
"Pointless Al" Bum
"Big Jim" Sassafrass
"Weird Al Yanko" Vic Tayback
"Ron Charl" Keith'n'mick
Alfred "Packer" Yankovic, The Funnyman Who Eats People
"The Thurman Munson of Song Parody"
"Weird Al" Child Murderer

One final note: even though I absolutely loathe the song in which it appears, the following lyric sounds EXACTLY like something I would write:

"You're so beautiful, you make a glorious sunset look like a big fat turd."

Please note I didn't say I'm PROUD that it sounds like something I would write.

Reader Comments

Billy Barron
Well, I think it's the Alpocalypse of his career. Starting with Alapalooza, he's gradually going down hill. On Lynwood, we were down to one great song (White & Nerdy), one decent song (I'll Sue Ya) and the masterpiece of ennui (Trapped). Now this album is down to one decent song (Whatever) that doesn't make Al's Top 50. The rest sucks HARD!!!!! FYI: If I didn't completely hate the Doors, maybe that song would be okay too.

asdasd asdasd
I was surprised to see you gave this album such a low score. For me Alpocalypse was a return to form after the disappointing Straight Outta Lynwood. I enjoy most of the tracks on here, although few could be considered standouts in Al's oeuvre. The most funny songs would have to be Party In The CIA (blithely describing torturing suspects), If That Isn't Love (again playing with the juxtaposition of a sincere sounding love song and ridiculous lyrics), and Whatever You Like.

Personally, my favorite track is Skipper Dan. I love the mixture of comedy and sadness, and the song happens to be about a subject I really relate to. Even though this is a completely typical Weird Al album, this one song which is really about failed dreams is different for Al - somehow managing to be both serious and funny.

Alvar Aleket
Hey man, haven't heard the whole album yet, just heard the parody of Lady Gaga but was looking forward to know what you think about the album and you're way off in your judgement, there's a lot of parodies of 'Born This Way' everywhere but Weird Al's is the funniest out there, so you know, he's not really making fun of her but the people who don't understand her.

And I don't know why are you so exquisite with his humor, I haven't laughed at any of your reviews since I read Honkin' On Bobo. And that sucks because even though you disliked a lot of what the 90's had to bring to the table you could at least make accurate jokes about what was going on, now you just seem to hate everything that comes out now or has any relation to today's music. I mean man, I'm sorry rock is not mainstream anymore but if you're gonna live in your bubble of the past you could at least not be so hard on music you don't understand. For example, Lady Gaga is making a pretty respectful pop career, and I've heard her three studio albums and I think it's better than a lot of things you put 7s or 8s and all you could say in your minireview is that she's like Pink and her lyrics are 'modern attitude shit', this is not even accurate or has any relation to reality. Pink is not the best songwritter or performer out now so if you think you're having an good barometer of what's going on now , you're wrong. I keep reading you because I trust your musical judgement. But I think you should give today's music a chance if you at least don't wanna look like an old man ranting about why some old band you love isn't making it big now, I mean, that's not Weird Al or Lady Gaga's fault and her last album is better than the whole U2 discography you managed to give more thoughtful reviews.

Derek Zender
(this is in response to Alvar Alket)

It seems like the whole focus of your response was to defend lady gaga (only mentioned in 1 sentence in the review) rather than to offer any commentary on this album (though I can't blame you, as there's nothing more to be said about Alpocalypse that Mark hasn't already said).

but seriously, FUCK YOU and your silly, patronizing argument that haters "don't understand her" (which apparently MUST be the reason why, can't possibly be because her music and antics are boring and stupid). And what does age have to do with anything? I'm right in the target demographic for "today's music" and even I can see that it's mostly worthless and far inferior to the music of 20 or 30 years ago.

Alvar Aleket
(In response to Derek Zender)

Oh my god, really?

I'll tell you why you hate Lady Gaga, because it is "uncool" for people who do have knowledge in music to like today's pop. Also, to avoid being called gay.

So for example a person into classic rock with friends into it, too, would get strange looks from them if that person likes Lady Gaga. Also, since Lady Gaga defends gay rights and is listened by a lot of the gay population, liking her would be like putting yourself into that position, gay. So having those 2 strong reasons to not like Lady Gaga you can make up 53785718905137 of excuses to say she's shit.

I tell you, you are wrong, I've taken the work to listen to her three studio albums, song by song, and it is more worthwhile than bands Mark gives the green light, first of all, you can't seriously enjoy any song in the planet if you, while listening, have subconscious thoughts you will be called gay or idiot by your friends or people who know you, so when you're able to get those prejudices out of you and appreciate her art, you can have a worthy say.

And it is so true, because I know a lot of rockers and people who don't like her that don't listen to her because "it is gay", so you, or them are not giving her a chance because of that. Also, because it is cool to hate pop. Even Mark said it with Madonna, who is an analog to Lady Gaga today said he could never imagine himself doing Madonna reviews. Because it is soooooo cool to hate commercial music, because is so worthless, WTF? Those people don't know how many albums sold Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Radiohead even King Crimson! Yesterday's rock was today's pop.

Lady Gaga's music, and some artists now, put an effort into writing the songs, for example 'The Edge Of Glory' by Lady Gaga is pretty far superior tu U2's 'Beautiful Day', a hell of a lot of artists in the past made simple music, pop, 20 or 30 years ago, The Ramones for instance, no one blames them for it. Simple music can be good, pop music can be good, if it's catchy, melodic, has good lyrics, good beats, good musical interpretation, I mean, do you think I'm brainless because I can like pop? WTF? Not everytime I need to listen a song that talks about serious issues or has a 3 minutes solo, even though Lady Gaga actually is doing it besides simple music, I can like both, and I can say I'm not prejudiced towards pop, I know that since 2000's the music industry has reached new lows, but I think it's recovering now, rock is really dead in the mainstream but there are new artists, pop artists, Mark and you should give a chance, and Lady Gaga, if you really pay attention, is doing a good job.

Now back to Weird Al, I watched his video in his VEVO channel for 'Perform This Way' and I really laughed, more than I did to other parodies to 'Born This Way', he hasn't lost his touch, when I read Mark's review, all he could say is "A song about Lady Gaga's costumes that isn't a quarter as funny as her actual costumes?"

No Mark, it's not about the costumes, but the laughable reaction to her performance. I just think that Mark's hate to new music has gone too far that he doesn't pay attention to what he's reviewing, or that he's so willing to hate it that he actually does and that makes his reviews fall in quality.

Other than that, the 'fuck you' wasn't needed to get across your point, cheers and relax! It's not nice to go insulting people on the internet just because you don't agree with them, makes you look like a dummie.

Andrew Moncrieff
In response to Alvar Aleket:

"I'll tell you why you hate Lady Gaga, because it is "uncool" for people who do have knowledge in music to like today's pop. Also, to avoid being called gay."

No, no, no. Seriously, I hated the bitch before when she was called Madonna. Dressing up and piggybacking on the hot trends doesn't make you clever, a trendsetter or an artist or, indeed, any of the things Lady GaGa thinks of herself as. She's just a big attention whore. I don't care for Al's parody of her, because let's face it he hasn't been funny since his parents died, which sucks really. Hopefully he's got enough money to retire now. But someone should stick it to Gaga, because she is a talentless and ugly individual with nothing to say. Oh, and your invocation of cool and uncool to attack people who disagree with you? Well, that's pretty lame. And yes, if you like Gaga and you're not a teenage girl, you're probably a gay pedophile.

Add your thoughts?


If you'd like to buy some Weird Al Yankovic CDs, you're welcome to do so by clicking this link! I'm not stopping you!


Back to Mark Prindle's Record Review Guide. No nerds allowed.