Today, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun, goes on sale. Sadly, after more than 30 years in the music business, the album is probably his last. That's not to say that Al is going to quit the parody game. But now that his contract with Sony has ended, he's more likely to release individual songs straight to the web.
For Weird Al fans, this is both good and bad. Obviously, being able to quickly put out a parody without having to wait on a cumbersome studio will be helpful. After all, wouldn't his new "Blurred Lines" parody, "Word Crimes," have packed a better comedic punch if it had come out last year instead of today?
That said, without having to worry about filling tracks on an album, there may be less incentive for Al to create his bizarre, non-direct parodies that fans know and love. Hopefully he manages to strike a balance. But in honor of his new album, I've decided to showcase some relatively obscure Al songs. Sure, everyone knows popular songs like "White & Nerdy," "Fat," and "Eat It." But some of Yankovic’s funniest work never received radio play, which is a good thing, considering some of the psychotic lyrics might have caught Tipper Gore's attention.
Maybe if you're an album-owning fan, these won't seem unfamiliar. But for the rest of you, enjoy.
Keep in mind, these are not official videos, which should be obvious.
"Albuquerque" - Running with Scissors - (1999)
At 11 minutes and 22 seconds, this song isn't for every one. But if you enjoy listening to Weird Al spout random nonsense (which I assume you do), then you can do a lot worse than this track.
"Christmas At Ground Zero" - Polka Party! - (1986)
Originally released as a b-side to Al's "One of Those Days," single, "Christmas At Ground Zero" manages to combine the festive sounds of a 1960s holiday song with the existential threat of a cold-war-induced nuclear holocaust. That might not sound like it works, but it does!
"Happy Birthday" - "Weird Al" Yankovic - (1983)
This song off of Al's 1983 self-titled album wishes you a "happy birthday" while simultaneously reminding you that there's not a hell of a lot to be happy about in this cold, unforgiving universe.
"Polkas On 45" - In 3-D - (1984)
When it comes to Weird Al Polka medleys, there are a ton to choose from. But I'm going to go with the original, "Polkas On 45." There's just something about hearing "Hey Joe" played on an accordion that never gets old. It probably has something to do with Weird Al screaming "gonna shoot my old lady" like a maniac.
"One of Those Days" - Polka Party! - (1986)
Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind of day where your alarm clock doesn't go off and you're late for work, or a group of Nazis ties you up and covers you with ants? We've all been there, and Al manages to perfectly encapsulate the experience in this song.
"Bite Me" (Hidden Song) - Off the Deep End - (1992)
To be honest, this song is pointless and stupid on its own. But in context, it's hilarious. It appeared as a hidden track on Al's Off the Deep End album, and was a parody of a hidden track ("Endless, Nameless") on Nirvana's Nevermind album. And to this day, I still remember it scaring the shit out of me back in 1992, when it randomly started playing ten minutes after I thought the album had ended. Nice one, Al.
"Good Old Days" - Even Worse - (1988)
What if Charlie Manson and James Taylor collaborated on a song? Weird Al gave that scenario a lot of thought, and came up with "Good Old Days." It starts off as a folksy, nostalgia-laden tune, but quickly degenerates into bloody mayhem. If you're a fan of Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy," or you just like the idea of shaving off your high-school sweetheart's hair and leaving her in the desert, you'll enjoy this song.