He’s back! And this time, he’s still weird. Duh.
For those just joining us: last week saw the daily release of eight new videos from the great “Weird Al” Yankovic, whose three-decade music-parody career is cherished by my generation and responsible for inspiring roughly 104% of all internet musical humorists. These and a few other tracks are now available on his latest album, Mandatory Fun, which is on my want-list for immediate purchase as soon as I dig up some spending money.
For those who need to complete their “Weird Al” viewing marathon, the eight videos were released across eight different outlets in the following order (links to the original sources also included — readers in other countries may need to seek alternative outlets):
Day 1: “Tacky“ — A parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, featuring guest dancers Aisha Tyler, Jack Black, Margaret Cho, 30 Rock‘s Kristen Schaal, and Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet. Maybe now our local radio stations can play this on endless rotation instead of the original, which I stopped liking after my 400th hearing.
Day 2: “Word Crimes“ — A parody of Robin Thicke’s atrocious “Blurred Lines”. So far this is the most popular and is generating lots of heated online debates about how the English language should work. I’m not planning a dissertation or rebuttal of my own. My short, simple position: I like communicating using a codified system with set rules that everyone at least tries to follow instead of opting for lazy ways out, but I’m not bludgeoning others over their own discrepancies until and unless someone pays me to do it.
Day 3: “Foil“ — A parody of Lorde’s “Royals”, with guest comedians Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon, and Robert Ben Garant. You have to, have to, HAVE TO watch the entire video for full impact. This is my favorite of all eight and reminds me the most of classic “Weird Al” from my youth. (My deep, dark secret: I think some “Weird Al” albums are better than others. Don’t tell!)
Day 4: “Handy“ — A parody of “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. I always feel left out when he parodies top-40 tracks I hadn’t already heard first. Having now compared the two, “Weird Al” wins.
Day 5: “Sports Song“ — A general, deadly accurate parody of school-pride fight songs. As someone who quit band after junior high and has never been a sports fan, I can report this sounds exactly like every pep rally I was ever required to attend. After watching this, I spent hours having flashbacks to teen apathy and butt-numbing bleachers.
Day 6: “First World Problems“ — A general, purported parody of the Pixies that sounds less and less like them as it goes. As Pixies homages go, intentional or otherwise, I prefer Sugar’s “A Good Idea”, but the idea of a “Weird Al” Pixies shout-out was pretty cool in and of itself.
Day 7: “Lame Claim to Fame“ — Plain comedy, no parody. One of those “Weird Al” album tracks that are never released as singles and end up forgotten after a year or two. (Mild conflict-of-interest disclaimer about the song’s targets: not all autograph collectors are like this!)
Day 8: “Mission Statement“ — A general parody of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Peter, Paul, Mary, and friends. This one induced too many flashbacks to my 21st-century adulthood.