I’ve been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic for years. From Eat It, to Amish Paradise, to White & Nerdy, I love all of his songs and always eagerly await his next works. This week, Al has released a new album: Mandatory Fun. In addition, he’s releasing eight videos
The day before the album’s release, Al released Tacky, a parody of Pharrell’s "Happy." Instead of singing about how happy he was, Al sang about rude behavior ("are you pregnant girl, or just really fat?") and extremely questionable fashion choices (the image of Jack Black twerking while wearing a sequined fanny pack has been burned in my brain). It’s a hilarious look at the behavior that some people think is completely appropriate.
The next day, Word Crimes came out. If Tacky addressed violations of good taste, Word Crimes (which parodies "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke) tackled those to whom proper grammar is a foreign language. Not only does the song complain about the use of numb3rs in words, but it also warns against u using single letters to represent words. Its also quite insistent on the use of it’s versus its. (For the record, I made those "grammar mistakes" on purpose. It was hard for me to do that even for the sake of a pun.) Anyone who has ever edited someone’s writing or who has had the misfortune to read something from this kind of writer will find Word Crimes cathartic. Plus, you’ve just got to love a song that works the word "nomenclature" in.
Yesterday, the third video, Foil was released. This song (a parody of "Royals" by Lorde) proclaims the uses of aluminum foil to preserve food. However, it quickly descends into paranoid ravings about the Illuminati and the uses of tin foil to construct mind reading blocking helmets.
Though I don’t (as of this writing) know what other videos will be released, I’ve already purchased and listened to the album in full. Here are some quick impressions of the rest of the songs:
- Handy – Parodying "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea – This is a delightful song about the many things that your local handyman can repair.
- Lame Claim to Fame – Did you know that my aunt once dated a guy who was in charge of the rolling bolder scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark? While that is actually a true story, this the kind statement that people will recite to make themselves seem more important. This song is all about these "claims to fame."
- Sports Song – Go team! Which one? It doesn’t really matter. This "generic football fight song" is purposefully vague as to which team or even which sport we’re cheering on. All we know is that our team will beat the other team because we’re so good and they aren’t.
- My Own Eyes – There are many things that you see through the years that you wish you hadn’t. This song, in the style of the Foo Fighters, names a few things that Al has allegedly seen over the years. If only half of these are true, it might offer an insight into how his mind can be so brilliant and twisted at the same time.
- NOW That’s What I Call Polka! – Sometimes Weird Al will alter a song completely in parody. Other times, he simply sings the songs as they are, albeit in polka form. This medley combines songs such as Wrecking Ball, Gangnam Style, and Call Me Maybe. If you are thinking that you can’t possibly sing some of those as polka songs, then you obviously don’t know Weird Al Yankovic.
- Mission Statement – Sung like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, this song will be the anthem of any cubicle resident who has had to contend with managerial speak. This song achieves synergy through vertical integration of its operational assets in a holistic fashion.
- Inactive – A parody of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons. This song tells the tale of a couch potato who doesn’t like to move.
- First World Problems – In the style of Pixies, Al tells the woeful tale of someone who has varied problems in his life. One wonders how this person copes with a house too large for Wi-Fi to work in his kitchen, a fridge that can’t fit all the food he bought, a gardener whose name he can’t remember, and a shower that loses hot water after only an hour. Truly this person suffers more than anyone else on this planet!
- Jackson Park Express – Sung in the style of Cat Stevens, Jackson Park Express in the inner monologue of someone who spies a woman he fancies while riding a train. With any other singer, this might result in a touching love story. With Weird Al, though, we get a different kind of "touching." As in he’s touched in the head in an extremely creepy way. Of course, it’s Weird Al so he somehow makes creepy and disturbing entertaining.
The entire album is packed with wonderful songs. I can’t wait to see which of them are featured in the next five music videos.
You can see all of the music videos (even the ones uploaded after I posted this) and get links to purchase the album on WeirdAl.com.
NOTE: The album image above comes from a screen capture I took of my phone as it played the album on Amazon Music.