Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ranking Al: An Introduction

I've had this idea kicking around in my head for some time, and since I'm a fan of wasting time on big blog projects, and since a lot of the medicinal haze is gone and I can concentrate a bit more, I thought I'd finally start this.

Back in November, Roger shared both his and his daughter's lists of favorite "Weird Al" Yankovic videos. I was excited about this; Weird Al is one of those formative things in my DNA, like Disney and the Muppets and Legos and Marvel Comics and G.I. Joe. And like all of those things, I've lived through times when I was mercilessly ridiculed for my love of all things Al, or found kindred spirits who loved him like I did (or at least suddenly liked one of his recent hits). So seeing someone young appreciate this guy that I've loved since I was a kid was pretty cool. I was thinking of making my own list of my favorite Weird Al songs.

But then it started to become something bigger in my head... I was impressed by Tosy and Cosh's multi-year project to rank every U2 song. He finished that project in September. I also loved having discussions with Nathan about Weird Al's albums last year when he did several posts about each of Weird Al's albums. Then I ran across Roger's ranking of every Beatles song. And Roger shared with me a fascinating blog discussing all of Elton John's greatest music: the stuff from 1969 through 1977. He also shared this list of every Billy Joel song ranked, which I don't really agree with, but that's a whole other project.

So I finally decided, what the hey, I'm going to rank all of "Weird Al" Yankovic's songs.

So, a couple of criteria and notes here:

:: I'm going to rank every song, but I'm limiting myself only to the stuff that's been commercially released, either on one of Al's albums or compilations or on a soundtrack. I'm not going to track down the myriad songs that weren't officially released. I love "Pac-Man," and I find a lot of that stuff on YouTube, and I'm just focusing on all of the official stuff. It's just easier. I'm lazy and mentally ill.

:: I'm also not counting any of the bits on the UHF soundtrack or "Bite Me," the hidden joke track on Off the Deep End.

:: Nor am I counting his Peter and the Wolf or Carnival of the Animals: Part 2 collaborations with Wendy Carlos. Wonderful album, but it doesn't fit here.

:: There's not set schedule for this; this is going to be a kind of "whenever I have time to do it" sort of endeavor. I've got the whole thing narrowed down to a list of 165 songs, which is a nice, even number. The first post will be the bottom 15, and then I'll do 10 at a time from there, probably, because I don't know how long these things will end up being.

One caveat: I understand it's hard to be objective on a list. I always have problems with the idea of "best" lists, because my instinct is to do a "favorites" list. I'm going to try to be a little more objective, but I have to admit, a lot of the rankings are probably just going to come down to my personal taste. I also recognize that, since Al does so many parodies, there are a lot of times when I'll especially like a song because I like the original so much. I'll try to be more objective there, too. Sometimes the parody is tired and Al has nothing else to add. Sometimes his lyrics rise above someone else's mediocre song. And sometimes his new lyrics add something to the song that wasn't there before (self-awareness, usually) and the whole thing transcends the idea of parody. That's the magic of Al for me. So I hope I can share that here.

Coming soon.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I am excited. The Daughter will be excited.