Artist: “Weird Al” Yankovic
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Like most “Weird Al” fans, I eagerly anticipated the new album. I checked out the Internet Leaks that Al released before the album came out. I was surprised by the controversy around Al’s parody of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (which turned out to have nothing to do with Lady Gaga herself). My enthusiasm was tempered somewhat, however, by the fact that the last couple of albums haven’t been that great (Running With Scissors being the last album where I love every song on it). Thankfully, this album fully restores my enjoyment of the glory that is “Weird Al.”
The album opens strongly with the aforementioned Lady Gaga parody (“Perform This Way”) and “CNR,” one of the Internet Leaks. The video for “Perform This Way” makes the song so much better, though seeing Al’s face on those models’ bodies is rather disturbing. “CNR” is a style parody of the White Stripes about “facts” about Charles Nelson Reilly similar to the Chuck Norris “facts” meme. One of the things that I find most impressive about Al and his band is their ability to sound like practically anyone. Lady Gaga and the White Stripes couldn’t be more different, but the band performs both effortlessly.
One thing I fully expected was that I wouldn’t know many of the original songs on which the parodies were based. This has always been true of “Weird Al’s” music. What I realized this time, however, is that I didn’t know the songs because I’m too old. When I was listening to Al as a kid, I didn’t know the originals because they were before my time. This is especially true of the polkas. On this album’s polka, “Polka Face,” I have only heard five of the songs, and most of those I’ve only heard in pieces. Of the actual parodies, the only one I knew beforehand was “Born This Way.” Interestingly, however, I think this contributed to my overall enjoyment of the parodies. Not knowing the originals, I can simply enjoy Al’s take on them without the annoying pop vocals that pass for singing these days (yeah, I know, I’m showing my age — get off my lawn!).
Where Al really shines on this album has to be his originals. Most people who have heard of “Weird Al” probably don’t even know he writes originals (of course, most of them probably think he wrote at least one song he didn’t actually write…). Some of my favorite songs, however, are his originals, and this album has some great ones. I’ve already mentioned his spot-on style parody of the White Stripes, but the band also performs style parodies of The Doors (“Craigslist,” with Ray Manzarek actually playing the keyboard) and Queen (“Ringtone”). It’s one thing to sound just like an original track and sing a parody to that melody; it’s a whole other layer of impressive to create an original track that captures a band’s style so well. That “Weird Al” and his band can do both is a testament to their brilliance and probably goes a long way to explaining their longevity.
- Perform This Way (Parody Of ”Born This Way” By Lady Gaga) (2:54)
- CNR (3:21)
- TMZ (Parody Of ”You Belong With Me” By Taylor Swift) (3:39)
- Skipper Dan (4:01)
- Polka Face (4:47)
- Craigslist (4:53)
- Party In The CIA (Parody Of ”Party In The U.S.A.” By Miley Cyrus) (2:56)
- Ringtone (3:24)
- Another Tattoo (Parody Of ”Nothin’ On You” By B.o.B. Featuring Bruno Mars) (2:49)
- If That Isn’t Love (3:48)
- Whatever You Like (Parody Of ”Whatever You Like” By T.I.) (3:41)
- Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me (5:42