The first LP that I bought with my own money was “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Dare To Be Stupid. I was a “Close, Personal Friend of Al” (the name of his fan club, showing an incredible amount of marketing prowess). And I’ve seen Weird Al play more than any other rock star or band.
A lot of people underestimate Weird Al because he does parodies and humorous material. “Not a real musician,” many claim. And yet, to capture the sound of the bands he is making fun of, he and his co-artists actually have to be masters of mimicry.
Who else can claim to perfectly capture Madonna’s sound, and Don McLean’s, and Coolio’s, and Lady Gaga’s?
The list is nearly endless and very impressive to behold, taking into account his 40+ years of music-making.
I’ve seen enough behind-the-scenes interviews and read enough books on him to know what a hard worker and perfectionist he is. He doesn’t do anything halfway.
One day before a performance, he learned that both of his parents had died from being unable to escape from a gas leak. He went on stage and did the whole set. This level of dedication to his fans is practically unequalled.
Folx who only know him casually often don’t realize that he has four main kinds of works: parodies of existing songs, new work, polka medleys of popular rock or alternative tunes, and songs done in the style of someone specific, while not being a parody of that particular band’s work.
Here are my favorites from each of these categories
(I’ve included the video link to each)
- Parody. Word Crimes, from the Mandatory Fun album, a parody of Parody of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams. Completely disregarding the topic of the original while keeping the musicality to a “t,” Word Crimes looks at dorky language usage, from knowing the difference between “doing good and doing well,” to the overuse of “literally”: