The Weird As All Fuck ROSSMAN
People often ask me if I think that I am the greatest man ever born onto God's green Earth. I say, "Yes, of course," but then I remember that there is another... One who's glory dwarfs even my own, just like I dwarf that midget who passes out shopping carts at the local Wal-Mart (Hey, Frank, we still on for Bocci Ball this Saturday?). Yes, the man who makes me look like a relative child, who outshines me in every possible way that a demi-god can, is none other than Mr. "Weird Al" Yankovic. And for this review, and this review only, I promise I won't wear those shoes. Just for you, Al.
For those of you too stupid to know, "Weird Al" is a master musician who plays the accordion (and likes to polka [who doesn't?!]). He tickles those keys and presses those bellows like a demon behind the wheel. He makes that accordion sing for him like a fat chick being pleasured by Pavarotti. He makes that accordion his bitch. But that's not all -- see, Al is most famous for making parodies of other people's songs (he's done Michael Jackson, Madonna, Nelly, and even the great Billy Ray Cyrus... I mean he's made parodies of their stuff... though I really can't speak for him on whether he's done other things as well). He'll make up some new song about a television show, or food, or some fucked up romance and masterfully insert his own lyrics into the original tune, just with more accordion.
Now all you naysayers out there are all just shaking your heads, saying shit like, "That's just sad. That guy's got no real talent! He just rips off other people's crap and calls it his own." First of all, shaaaaaaaaaaaame on you! You just made Al cry. Al's like the nicest guy in the entire music recording industry. How dare you make him shed tears! Second of all, let's see YOU try and make a parody of a popular song, and actually make it BETTER than the original. Yes, I said it, most of Al's parodies are greater than the original songs that they mock. "Smells Like Nirvana," "Amish Paradise," "Couch Potato," and "Word Crimes" are prime examples. But that's not all! Also included on each of Al's albums are numerous "Al Originals"! Songs he wrote from scratch in the style of a certain genre or artist. It's these songs that rock me the most. Yeah, that's right, I said that too. I claim that "Weird Al" rocks. Think of the lyrics to "You Don't Love Me Anymore," "I'm So Sick Of You," and "Good Old Days." Seriously, like, right now. Think of them. Brilliant. They're sick and twisted, and inspired. If only Al wrote the lyrics to every song ever made. The world would be a beautiful place. Full of Twinkie-weiner sandwiches.
My love affair with all things "Al" began when I was like 6 or 7 years-old, and I first heard "Gotta Boogie." I swear to Satan that I never laughed any harder. I still laugh when I hear that ditty! And the video for "I Love Rocky Road" was so awesome that it actually made me think that Joan Jett ripped HIM off (Back off! Like I said, I was 7!). Soon after, my older brother told me the best possible news that a young, TV-addicted, Twinkie-junky like myself could possibly want to hear, "Weird Al is coming out with a new album." I think I shit myself when I was told.
Not only did In 3D surpass my every dream and desire to make me laugh and rock me at the same time, but it also got all of America to realize how utterly wicked-awesome the greatest accordion player in the Universe truly was. "Eat It" blew them all away. The video was at the top of the MTV charts for months (back when MTV made it a point to show more than five and a half minutes of videos a day). It made the world beg for more. Well, at least it made me and my friends beg for more. And Al was listening.
In about 32 years, Al has released 14 full albums, one of the Greatest Movies Ever Made, a TV Show that actually made me giggle like a school girl getting licked on her rosy cheeks by puppies made of rainbows (a rarity these days), and numerous "Al TV" specials on MTV and VH1 (which have to be the main source of entertainment for God and all his buddies up in Heaven). And it doesn't appear that Al is planning on calling it quits anytime soon. Which is good, 'cause if he did hang up his white-boy fro the cops would have to shoot me down with elephant tranqs after I went on my cross-town rampage flipping cars and kicking homeless guys in the junk out of exasperated fury. Al better wait till I'm old and feeble before he announces his retirement just to save the lives of untold numbers of street bums. There, I've given him fair warning.
As for Al's albums, I'd like to take a minute to look at them all. Each one has at the very least one song that just speaks to me like no other artist has yet been able to do with any of their comparable work (well, except for Gamma Ray's "Man on a Mission," but that's a gimme)... Except for Alapalooza. Seriously, Al, did you just shit that CD out on a dare?
- First up we have Al's self titled debut: "Weird Al" Yankovic. Like I said before, this is the one that started it all, for both Al and for me. "Rocky Road" and "Happy Birthday" are classics, and the low budget, accordion-filled videos for "Road" and "Ricky" were like nothing anybody had ever seen on MTV at the time. They actually entertained and they knew they were cheezy. They thrived on their cheeziness. They were glorious for it. And the amount of accordion in this album has sadly never been matched since.
- Then came "Weird Al" In 3D. This is the album that launched Al into the stratosphere. It came out right behind the gloved one's Thriller album, and its first release, "Eat It," made a mockery of Jackson's "tough" street-cred song and video for "Beat It." Yeah, it was hard to take Michael Jackson serious as a tough gang member in the first place, and Al just made it tougher. Holy shit, that "alien looking through the window" scene in the video makes me pee my pants just thinking about it. I have got to start wearing adult diapers.
Also on In 3D were the unbeatable "Theme from Rocky XIII" and the start of the tradition of the polka medley (wherein Al would mash together a dozen popular songs into one strange, but undeniably incredible experience).
- A little bit more than a year after In 3D came Al's 3rd album, Dare to be Stupid. And it was good. Not as good as 3D, but that's a tough game to follow in somebody else's moccasins.. Wait, what? Anyway, Dare brought to us one of Al's greatest parodies of all time, "Yoda." Y-O-D-A Ya-hoe-da. The perfect combination of parody and characterization... Yeah, I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. Words just come out.
Also included on Dare to be Stupid was the title track "Dare to be Stupid." It is a style-parody of all Devo songs, and it blows away anything the pyramid-hat-wearing dorks ever did on their own. And lest we forget about "Like a Surgeon" which has one of the funniest music videos ever made as its claim to fame.
- Next was Polka Party. Now, lots of people get down on Al over this album saying that it was rushed and not a great seller so soon after Dare, but I couldn't disagree more. True, it didn't sell well, but I honestly believe that this is one of the curly-haired one's best collections of songs he's done. Just think, it's got "Dog Eat Dog," "Good Enough For Now," and the holiday favorite, "Christmas At Ground Zero" on it. Plus the video for "Living With a Hernia" is probably the best goddamn impersonation of another celebrity that the boy has ever attempted. So just BACK OFF!
- A year and a half later came Even Worse. Al picked on Michael Jackson again, and people started to wonder if that was his "thing." But I knew better. "Fat" was a great song making fun of fat people. The best in fact. Plus "You Make Me" and "Good Old Days" let the world in on Al's more sensitive side. Babba Booie! Babba Booie!
- The summer of 1989 gave the world many good things: Tim Burton's Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and most importantly UHF. Al's first (and sadly, only) feature film. Also, along with the movie UHF came the album UHF. Both were funny, though the movie had Stanley Spadowski in it, which made it that much more funny. Funny "ha ha," and not funny "weird," like in "Weird Al." Anyway, the final song on the album UHF, "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," proved that Al was among the finest lyrical storytellers ever born. He's up there with that guy who wrote that long song about that girl he knew in high school, but then left and lived his life, always wondering if she was the one for him, but then he met her again like 20 years later in a grocery store or something and she was all fat and shit, and the guy was like "Whoa! Dodged the bullet on that one!" Al's as good as that guy.
- Then there was a big gap. Al was disappointed by the low box office results for UHF and he wisely waited for the next big musical thing before even attempting another album. What he ultimately waited for was the start of the grunge revolution, and more specifically, the debut of a little alternative rock group from Seattle named Nirvana. "Smells Like Nirvana," from the 1992 released Off The Deep End, was the kick to the crotch that Al and his fans needed. It had rips on Milli Vanilli, MC Hammer, and that "Rico Suave" guy. Plus it had what I consider to be the greatest anti-love song ever written, the aptly named "You Don't Love Me Anymore." I remember pissing Just Kidding off back in high school when I was able to recite the whole thing to her when it came on the radio... Hmmm, in hind sight she really only got upset when I spoke the line "I lost a little bit of self esteem; That time that you made it with the whole hockey team..." Kind of makes me wonder.
- Alapalooza never really happened. Seriously, Al, what were you thinking? This is my only gripe with the years and years of great entertainment you gave us, and so as such, this shouldn't hurt you too bad; but it was a disappointing CD to me. The "Jurassic Park" track was okay and the claymation video was pretty fun, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers parody about The Flintstones was *meh* at best, "Grapefruit Diet" was just a bad remake of "Fat," and "Waffle King" and "Talk Soup" I always skip whenever I listen to Al's tracks on random. "Traffic Jam" is the only good song here. But that's okay, 'cause soon Al went and gave us:
- Bad Hair Day. And all was forgiven. The main release on this puppy was a parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," which took itself waaaaaay too seriously, and was just easy pickens for Al to make his "Amish Paradise." "Amish" was one of the funniest videos ever produced; but it's still below "Fish Heads," though that's only because that video had talking fish heads in it. Eat them up, yum. "Everything You Know Is Wrong," "I'm So Sick Of You," "Gump," "I Remember Larry," and the new holiday favorite, "The Night Santa Went Crazy" all contribute to making Hair Day Al's (arguably) best CD evah. The "rated R" version of "Night" is even better than the album version, FYI.
- Al once again had a LOT to live up to after his last album, and he did fairly well with '99's Running With Scissors. Yeah, "The Saga Begins" was kind of weak (it was no "Yoda"), but I think that's only because the movie it was singing about blew the big one -- it was no fault of the song's lyrics themselves (which are very clever and parody one of the greatest songs ever written: "American Pie"). "It's All About the Pentiums" is now the national anthem for computer geeks everywhere, and "Albuquerque" is the longest, most bizarre, story-song every produced. The first time I heard it I had no idea if it was ever going to end or get to a point. Yet the whole point of the song turned out to be much deeper than I thought possible. It brought new meaning to my pathetic, miserable life. And it was good.
- And that leads us right to Poodle Hat. Very entertaining. It makes good songs of some of the most overplayed, over-hyped pieces of shit that the radio shat out in recent years. "Ebay" actually makes me like a Backstreet Boys melody, "Couch Potato" makes me not hate Eminem as much as he really deserves, and "Complicated Song" makes Avril Levine's prototype hummable. Toss in "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" and you have yourself a dem fine album. A dem fine album, indeed.
- Then along came Straight Outta Lynwood. There is so much love and pure musical madness on this album. Let me count the ways and songs that make this collection of Al so great: "White & Nerdy," "Don't Download This Song," "Confessions Part III," "I'll Sue Ya," and arguably his best polka medley up till this point, "Polkarama!" As much as other people love it though, I just can't re-listen to "Trapped in the Drive-Thru." It's just too mundane for me (even though that's exactly what it's going for). Still, Lynwood is an ALmost perfect ALbum... Did you see what I did there?
- Al tried something new for he next album, Alpocalypse. He released all of his non-parody songs early online, and then the actual parodies with the completed album (since Al waited about 5 years after Lynwood to make any new mocku-song due to waiting for "the next big thing").
That next big thing happened to be Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," which Al renamed "Perform This Way." While I think the song is funny and all, it's no "Smells Like Nirvana" life-changing parody. Anyway, "Skipper Dan" is one of my all-time favorite songs (by Al or anybody else), and it is the best soul-crushing, dreams-don't-always-come-true ditty that the world has ever been given as a gift from a loving god. "TMZ," "Party in the CIA," "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me" (which I hoped some people I know would listen to and get the hint), and "Whatever You Like" rounded out this album making it very listenable and all around quite stupendous.... Except for "Ringtone," Al's worst song ever. I deleted it from my iTunes account after I listened to it once. It's just awful.
- This leads us to Al's most recent release, Mandatory Fun. This title is of course a military slogan for the grunts when they're required to participate in not-so-much fun events where there's usually heavy lifting, sweating, and brown-nosing to the higher ranks, but it's also in reference to Al's record contract wherein this was the last required album that he owed them. Fun only just came out today (7/15/2014), but I've already put together my own opinion of the whole thing because I'm awesome and I can do that.
"Tacky," "Word Crimes," and "Foil" are great parody works (with "Foil" starting out pretty lame and low key, but turning into one of Al's greatest double-take songs to date), and
"My Own Eyes," "First World Problems," and "Jackson Park Express" are brilliant Al-originals, but by far the greatest track on the album is "NOW That's What I Call Polka!" It is truly the epitome of polka medley if I've ever heard it. "Mission Statement" is funny for only 30 seconds before you realize that all Al's doing is reading a list of all the made-up words that companies poop all over their websites trying to sound legit. His take on Iggy Azalea's awful song "Fancy," known as "Handy," is uninspired and boring. It's sad in a way, since Al could have really dug his teeth into mocking the shitty stylings of this truly terrible songstress, but oh well. He's still making unforgettable tracks after over 30 years, almost always outliving the careers of those he parodies.
While Al has said that Fun is probably his last conventional album, he's made it clear that he believes the future of the recording industry will be in releasing singles as they're complete (and in his benefit, when they're at their most relevant in regards to his parodies). I'm perfectly fine with this way of thinking since it probably just means more Al sooner rather than later. Booyah!
So, Al's albums are (mostly) all great, but his concerts are even better. The man knows how to put on a fucking show, let me tell you. He's so full of energy even at his age (he's older than me, and I got no energy, so that's a compliment). He's constantly running around the stage and the audience, changing costumes between each song, doing elaborate dance sequences and yodeling with his band, and in between each major set he plays a bunch of his "celebrity interviews" on a huge hanging screen in which he asks people like Ozzy Osbourne if he just cut the cheese, and Celine Dion if she'll stop stalking him... And the celebrities are always open and completely honest with him. I guess it's because (like I said earlier) Al is the nicest guy in real life. He'll probably disapprove of my shitty page and my review of him just because I fucking curse like a sailor with the clap. I understand, and that's why I love the guy so damn much. In fact, I was kind of ticked when I found out that he got married for the sole reason that I was planning on having him marry my sister, Jaime, so that I could then have them breed "Little Al Juniors" in order for the man's legend to continue far past our little insignificant point in history.
All good things must come to an end, but let's all hope that Al continues singing and accordioning much longer than even the Stones or Paul McCartney. He lives clean, so there's a good chance in that. But let's hope that his band continues with him; they're the perfect combination. But I hope they stick together mostly 'cause I like saying "Jon 'Bermuda' Schwartz." It's fun!