Friday, July 18, 2014

Weird Al's Weird Blitz

How do you like Weird Al Yankovic?


Oh, Al: in my eyes you'll forever be preserved in the pastel-hued amber of 1984.
If you’re a guy in my demographic (straight, Canadian, on the cusp of fifty, too clever by half for most of that time) you like him just fine — happy to have him around, adding his goofy-gas to the pop zeitgeist; a living, breathing, accordion-playing Alfred E. Neuman.

Not that I've bought any of his albums — catching his parodies on the Dr. Demento Show or MTV was exposure enough for my taste. Mind you, I’m the father of daughters — parents of sons usually acquire a disc or two (or more) by the ten-year birthday celebration. I imagine these parents feel a tad more conflicted about the wavy-haired joker, much the way I’m ambivalent about Hairspray! The Musical.

Anyway, the video for “Tacky” just came out. I giggled, of course, and came this close to sharing it on a couple of platforms, before stopping myself and thinking, I know at least a dozen people who are going to do this: what do I add to any of that? Then he followed that video up with two more in the span of days, plus of course the brand new album. And now I’m wondering why in the world have his people taken this route of sudden saturation? And why an album? With some performers, there’s an inherent appeal to the structure of an album: 45-to-90 minutes of music, thematic explorations, altered movements that cohere in resolution, etc. Weird Al has at times indulged in that, but he’s chiefly the master of the one-off. I’d think that puts him in an ideal position to exploit the new media for all they’re worth.

I’ll be curious to see how the album fares. Are today’s ten-year-old boys buying anybody’s CDs? No, of course not. But how about their parents?

Addendum: Al responds directly to "Why an album?" with typically disarming candor.

11 comments:

paul bowman said...

I was tempted to pass along the Royals sendup on Facebook, and, like you, resisted without much effort. But that was the one that made me think, 'God for him.' Not so much with the Blurred Lines recast — 'shared' with me by my mom, no less. I guess I owe Yankovic a 'Good one, Al' on that count, but really there can be little delight in a parody of overgrown teenager Thicke singing about the desirability of his dick. (Though I note possibly table-turning cleverness in advice to 'hire a cunning linguist' snuck in there.) The original is the bad joke in this case, Al, I want to say.

Darrell Reimer said...

Al never tripped over a bad pun he wouldn't steal. But "cunning linguist"? That's so old, I'll be sneezing all night.

Joel said...

Boy, Weird Al has been around forever, hasn't he? I remember first discovering him as an adolescent when I myself was not too much older than the proverbial ten your old boy you mention.

My reaction to Weird Al then was probably about my reaction to him now. The first minute is always: "Wow, this guy is brilliant", the second minute is "Okay, I'm sick of this now."

Exactly why I get sick of Weird Al so quickly I don't think I can put a finger on exactly. He definitely has a genius of sorts with his word play. But I just get a headache after listening to too much of him.

paul bowman said...

Ha, yes. Bound to be.

I'm not sure what I meant by 'table-turning' there. Must have been late. Obviously indignant at the thought of that prick Thicke, anyway.

Darrell Reimer said...

Joel - spend a weekend in a van driving a ten-year-old to his basketball tournament, and that two-minute response of yours will get a royal work-out.

Speaking of "royal," his "Foil" is the perfect execution of his shtick -- shifting gear from lame puns to absurdist comedy. And all in about 2 minutes. It's like he knows what you're thinking...

Darrell Reimer said...

Paul - it's been curious to watch the pile-on Thicke has been receiving, no? I can't recall another such flame-out with the public since the days of Milli-Vanilli. I'd like to feel somewhat heartened by the wisdom of the mob, but mostly I'm just wondering, "What's really going on?"

paul bowman said...

You know, it says something that I know about this at all. I'd never heard of Thicke until last year, with Blurred Lines crossing over from “entertainment” to the politics-&-outrages headlines where I tend to notice things. If I coincide with the mob in feeling some hostility toward him (that is, beyond sardonic name-calling above), for my part it's in that he conveniently (especially conveniently as he's a fellow white male) stands for a class of cartoonishly aggressive & sexual showmen (& women), not in that I suppose he's the worst of the lot.

Just googled “Robin Thicke” and got a first-page hit for the Forbes site's “The Shocking Downfall of Robin Thicke”, contributed by a guy who looks like he might be in high school yet. “Today,” our correspondent concludes his history of the rise & decline, “Robin Thicke is almost unilaterally disliked.” Might be my cue to apologize to Al for the diss here and go share his video.

Darrell Reimer said...

Now let's not be hasty. Our people invented "schandenfreude," after all.

paul bowman said...

Hey, outrage is just good clean fun.

paul bowman said...

Did you hear me? I said Fun! Damn it!

Darrell Reimer said...

Oy vey...