Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mandatory Fun

I've been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic since the song "Eat It" back in 1984.  He was my favourite musician for most of the '80s and '90s.  My interest in him waned as I got older and my interests expanded into more serious music, but he's always had a special place in my heart.  I follow him on Twitter, and when he started marketing his latest album, "Mandatory Fun," I found myself getting excited for one of his albums for the first time in a long time.  The last album of his that I bought was "Poodle Hat" in 2003, and I planned on buying this one when it came out.  That proved easier said than done.  You see, Al did such a good job marketing this album that, combined with his huge Twitter following that he's built up in recent years, "Mandatory Fun" is his first ever #1 album.  The stores in Lethbridge sold out within hours of getting the album in stock, and I had to get them to special order one in for me.  It arrived yesterday, and now I have it, and I'm going to talk about it track-by-track now.

As some of you may already know, he released eight new music videos in eight days when the album came out.  I'll either embed or link these videos.

1) Handy

Of the five parodies on the album, this is the only one that is for a song that I've never heard before by an artist that I've never heard of.  The song it parodies is "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea.  Musically, I'm not a big fan of this song, but that's Iggy's fault, not Al's.  Lyrically, there's nothing really special.  The humor comes in the contrast between the original song - a girl singing about how fashionable she is - and the parody - a middle-aged man singing about what a good craftsman he is.

Lyric of choice: 

Let me be your stripper.
Takin' off lacquer?
No one does it quicker.

2) Lame Claim To Fame

The low point of the album happens pretty early on with this song, and it's all up hill from here.  This original song is a blue-collar schmuck bragging about uninspiring brushes with celebrities.

Lyric of choice:

Once at a party, my dentist accidentally sneezed on Russell Crowe.

3) Foil

Bonus points for having Patton Oswalt guest star in the video.  This song is a parody of "Royals" by Lorde, who is a musician that I kind of like, albeit more for her songs that aren't "Royals."  I like this song because of the swift descent from a song about using aluminium foil to wrap your food to a song about the Illuminati.

Lyric of choice:

Stick it in your cooler
Eat it when you're ready
Then maybe you'll choose
A refreshing herbal tea.
Oh, by the way, I've cracked the code
I figured out these shadow organizations
And the Illuminati know
That they're finally primed for world domination.

4) Sports Song

This is what happens when you get a nerd to write a sports anthem: non-poetic, to the point lyrics, inappropriately large words, and the constant reminder that the metaphors are to be taken in a figurative sense  The marching song about a nameless, generic sports team is a nice send-up of school spirit, reducing the chorus to an overly-simplistic mindless repetition of "We're great and you suck!"

Lyric of choice:

We're really, really great
In contrast, you really suck.
Okay, full disclosure, we're not that great
But suck!

5) Word Crimes

I love this song.  This song makes me so happy.  I used to have an online persona named Captain Grammer (ironic misspelling was on purpose) who went around thoroughly correcting what other people posted and thoroughly ignoring all requests to f*** off.  It's a parody of "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, and it successfully takes the catchy tune and removes all Thicke's rapey lyrics and replaces them with chastisements over grammar, spelling, and word usage.  And yet still has some sexual innuendo (ie. cunning linguist).

Lyric of choice:

You should never
Write words using numbers
Unless you're seven, or your name is Prince.

6) My Own Eyes

There's no official video for this one, but you can at least hear the song in that video I embedded.  This song, one of Al's originals, is the heaviest song on the album.  It's in my top three for favourite songs on the album.  It's about the things he's seen in his life that he wishes he could forget.  These things are, of course, quite absurd.

Lyric of Choice:

My neighbor's kids sold weapons-grade plutonium
And frosty, ice-cold lemonade.
They took MasterCard and sometimes human organs in trade
That's how we paid.
I have to say that it was really darn good lemonade.

7) Now That's What I Call Polka!

Every "Weird Al" album, with the exception of his first one, has a polka on it, which is a medley of pop songs that he never got around to making a parody of set to goofy polka music.  These polkas are always one of the highlights of the album.  This polka includes the following songs:

"Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus
"Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People
"Best Song Ever" by One Direction
"Gangnam Style" by PSY
"Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
"Scream & Shout" by & Britney Spears
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye
"Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha
"Sexy And I Know It" by LMFAO
"Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
"Get Lucky" by Daft Punk

8) Mission Statement

This song, with an extremely catchy melody, is made up of nothing but corporate jargon, and brilliantly illustrates how meaningless all of that lingo is.  As someone who studied management and briefly worked in that world, this song amuses me to no end.

Lyric of Choice:

We must all efficiently
Operationalize  our strategies
Invest in world-class technology
And leverage our core competencies
In order to holistically adminstrate
Exceptional synergy.

9) Inactive

This might be my favourite song on the album, largely because it's a parody of a song that I like quite a bit.  In fact, both this song and the original ("Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons) will be on Mike Mix 2014.  "Inactive" is simply about a guy who just sits in his basement all day watching TV and eating Cheetos.  By the way, watch the video for "Radioactive" that I linked to.

Lyric of Choice:

I'm waking up in Cheeto dust
My belly's covered with pizza crust
I'm using my inhaler now..*wheezing*

10) First World Problems

This song isn't a parody, but it's done in the style of The Pixies.  The lyrics are inspired by the first world problems Internet meme, which makes fun of privileged people complaining about their soft, cushy lifestyles.

Lyric of Choice:

I bought too many groceries for my refrigerator.

11) Tacky

"Tacky" is a parody of Pharell Williams' infectiously upbeat song "Happy".  This song is about all things tacky.  Tacky in fashion, and tacky in social situations.

Lyric of Choice:

I'll get drunk at the bank and take off my shirt at least
Because I'm tacky
I would live tweet a funeral, take selfies with the deceased
Because I'm tacky

12) Jackson Park Express

This marathon of a song is about love on the bus.  The POV character of the song sees a girl he's attracted to on the bus, and most of the song is him making up detailed, often bizarre dialogue based on reading way too much into innocent body language.  It's quite absurd, and had me laughing out loud at times.

Lyric of Choice:

I gave her a penetrating stare, which could only mean
"You are the answer, my answer to everything
Which is why I'll probably do very poorly
On the written part of my driver's test"

And that's the album, which I am, overall, very pleased with.  Now, I'm going to end this without saying much more because I've been trying to write this while at work on a busy night, and it has taken me the entire shift to make it to the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hyper Shoe

Hyper Shoe
A red high-heel shoe has always been hyperferrianism's avatar