October 23, 2006
Weird Al still has it
If you grew up in the '80's and listened to music, you knew all the popular artists and the couple of hit songs they released each year, and you probably liked a few of them. Then there were Weird Al Yankovic's parodies of those same songs, by all the different artists, and even if you didn't love the original, you pretty much had to admit that Weird Al's versions were at least as good or better. His best videos made parodies not only of the original songs, but the whole ridiculous MTV-generated celebrity culture.
His first singles, "My Bologna" ("My Sharona") and "Another One Rides the Bus" ("Another One Bites the Dust") came out in 1980. His newest album, Straight Outta Lynwood, came out in September, and last week it was in the Top 10 (his highest chart position ever!) His latest single, "White & Nerdy" is hilarious [video]. How has Weird Al lasted all these years, never varying his basic formula, and never wearing out his welcome?
Slate has a great article about the improbable 25+ year career of Weird Al Yankovic that says everything I have to say about him and his role in popular culture. Weird Al's unique and seemingly everlasting importance in music is best described by Chamillionaire, whose song "Ridin'" he parodies in "White & Nerdy": "It's one thing to go platinum. Where do you go from there? Then Weird Al calls."
The Boston Globe also did an adoring piece on Weird Al over the weekend, describing him a "sort of cultural Geiger counter."
Here's one of the most bizarre things on his MySpace page [sound on]: a photo of Weird Al done up as a thoughtful acoustic singer-songwriter:
Doesn't this freak you out?
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