“Weird Al” Yankovic
The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic has been a part of my life since middle school. I first heard him at my cousin’s house, where he put in the cassette tape of Off the Deep End and from the mockery that was the opener “Smells Like Nirvana,” I was hooked. From then on, every album was a must-have. From Alapalooza to his latest Straight Outta Lynwood, I had to have each one, and each one added to his increasing credibility as a legit artist and musician, not just “the parody guy.” The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic was hand-selected by “Weird Al” himself and covers his nearly three decades of hits.
Starting off with his take on Queen, “Another One Rides the Bus” is a fairly campy, but endearing track that leads right into his very first polka medley, and the only one on this compilation. Never before have songs like “Every Breath You Take” and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” sounded so good on the accordion. He’s already perfecting his mastery of parodies and the first disc is just starting!
“Yoda,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Fat,” and “Eat It” are some of his best earlier parodies, but they are nicely segregated by originals like one of my personal favorites “Dare to Be Stupid” and the Gordon Lightfoot-esque “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.”
The first disc ends where my obsession began, with “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Bedrock Anthem,” and the heartbreakingly hilarious “You Don’t Love Me Anymore.”
The second disc continues to prove that Yankovic deserves some sort of lifetime award for the way that he can take any genre and make it his own. He takes on rap (“Amish Paradise,” “White & Nerdy,” “It’s All About the Pentiums”), rock (“Gump,” “Canadian Idiot”) cheesy-pop (the Backstreet Boys parody “eBay”) and even Santa (“The Night Santa Went Crazy (Extra Gory Version)) with a mastery that is unmatched. Add in the marathon narratives “Albuquerque” and the R. Kelly influenced “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” and you have the best collection of “Weird Al” hits, mainly because he picked them out himself.
For anyone who doubts that “Weird Al” should be in the Hall of Fame, my plea is for you to listen to this double-disc set. Thirty-eight tracks and over 150 minutes of music played in chronological order prove that not only can he write some classic originals, but he can do a spot-on parody of almost any artist in any genre. He has single-handedly taken every nuance and pop culture reference and made them timeless. “Weird Al’s” longevity proves that he is no novelty act. He is one of the most talented artists of my generation.
“Weird Al” Yankovic: www.weirdal.com