Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ranking Al #165-151

Alright, let's finally get this list started.

165. "Gotta Boogie"
(Original; from "Weird Al" Yankovic, 1983)
As much as I hate for the bottom song on my list to be an original, I just can't escape the fact that this is my least favorite song in Weird Al's entire library. The joke is too juvenile for me--a guy's got a "boogie" on his finger, and the song has a boogie beat, and as surprisingly fun as it is to hear boogie music done on an accordion, it's just a nothing of a song. The definition of filler.

164. "I Was Only Kidding"
(Style parody of Tonio K.; from Off the Deep End, 1992)
I find very few things tiresome about Weird Al, but at the top of that very short list is songs like this, where he gets angry and sarcastic about relationships. I'm probably taking it too seriously, and the jerk in the song does get his comeuppance in the end, but I just find it tasking. What this also comes down to is the music itself, which I don't much care for. Not my kind of stuff. I do love that Al does these style parodies, where he showcases his musical tastes by writing a song in the style of another artist or a group. I haven't heard much by Tonio K., but it really just sounds like he's not for me.

163. "Young, Dumb & Ugly"
(Style parody of AC/DC; from Alapalooza, 1993)
As Al's style parodies go, this is one of the times where he didn't nail it. It's meant to be in the style of AC/DC, but I don't think you'd get that just from listening to it. Al doesn't capture the sound that made AC/DC special, particularly in the Bon Scott and very, very early Brian Johnson era. He doesn't even try to nail Angus Young's signature guitar style, which is too bad, because I think he could. He's a very talented mimic. One of Al's strengths--one of the things that elevates him from "just a parody artist"--is his ability to deconstruct and reconstruct so many musical styles. But this one just sounds like a generic heavy metal song, with Al's vocals particularly strained.

162. "Toothless People"
(Parody of "Ruthless People" by Mick Jagger; from Polka Party!, 1986)
Not much going for this one, but to be fair, the original song just isn't very good. Didn't even crack the Top 40. In fact, the song was such a non-hit that Al almost didn't record the parody, but felt it would be insulting to Mick Jagger after having asked his permission. Nothing much to say about it, except that my Dad sure thought it was funny back then. (My Dad was the only person in my life who really thought Weird Al was as funny as I did, and listening to Al with him is part of my warmer childhood memories.)

Aside: anybody else here like the movie Ruthless People? One of my favorite comedies, but no one seems to remember it much these days.

161. "She Never Told Me She Was a Mime"
(Original; from Alapalooza, 1993)
This one starts off kind of dull and then fades into the background. It's just filler built around the premise of mimes being annoying, but I don't hate mimes like most people seem to, so I never really found this one funny.

160. "Stuck in a Close with Vanna White"
(Original; from Even Worse, 1988)
Same criticisms as the previous entry, minus the stuff about mimes. It's just silly, but not in a good way.

159. "Alimony"
(Parody of Billy Idol's cover of "Mony, Mony" by Tommy James & the Shondells; from Even Worse, 1988)
Al's vocal performance on this song is great, but I've never cared for either version of "Mony, Mony," and this version--in which a guy complains about the debt slavery he's in because he owes so much alimony--has really lost its humor in a world where MRAs misogynists make the same arguments with passionate seriousness.

158. "Girls Just Want to Have Lunch"
(Parody of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper; from Dare to Be Stupid, 1985)
Al's label demanded he record a parody of the Cyndi Lauper hit, and you can hear in the final product that he did so quite begrudgingly. It's a joyless parody, purposely sung in an annoying vocal style, and the lyrics are kind of mean-spirited. Al himself hates this song, so I feel like that's a blessing to shove it near the bottom of this list.

157. "Good Enough for Now"
(Original; from Polka Party!, 1986)
This sort of falls into that "Al says horrible stuff about women and even though it's part of the joke that the song's narrator is horrible, Aaron is still uncomfortable with it" category. Al does nail the country love song sound, complete with its often bizarre, honest lyrics. One line does genuinely make me laugh: "You're sort of everything I ever wanted."

156. "Addicted to Spuds"
(Parody of "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer; from Polka Party!, 1986)
Another so-so parody of a so-so song, this one focused on a guy who can't get enough of potatoes and the foods made from them.

155. "She Drives Like Crazy"
(Parody of "She Drive Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals; from UHF, 1989)
The original song was inescapable for several months--my Dad particularly dug it--so I guess it was inevitable that Al would do a parody. It doesn't really add anything, though, except for the very, very tired comedy trope of the terrible woman driver. (Pretty much the only time I thought that kind of thing was funny was when Bob Newhart did it.) I hate the original, and except for Al's falsetto delivery, nothing much is interesting about this one.

Aside: I do enjoy Kermit the Frog's version of the song, but it's impossible for me to not like Kermit singing anything.)

Note: we've now passed the songs that I will flip past every time I listen to their respective albums. While the next few aren't favorites, they don't actively irritate me.

154. "I'll Sue Ya"
(Style parody of Rage Against the Machine; from Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006)
Al gets the sound of Rage Against the Machine right, and it's a funny idea to juxtapose that music with a song about frivolous lawsuits, but I think it's funnier in concept than in execution.

Aside: I tend to bristle when people bring up the woman that sued McDonald's over the hot coffee in 1992 as an example of a frivolous lawsuit. That coffee was 190 degrees; she had third degree burns and then lost 20% of her body weight while spending eight days in the hospital getting skin grafts. She was partially disabled for a couple of years. That doesn't sound frivolous to me.

153. "Phony Calls"
(Parody of "Waterfalls" by TLC; from Bad Hair Day, 1996)
It replicates the sound of TLC's smash hit. Unfortunately, I've never cared for TLC. And I don't think prank phone calls are that funny, so this doesn't really do much for me.

152. "I'm So Sick of You"
(Style parody of Elvis Costello; from Bad Hair Day, 1996)
Weird Al finds the trope of a man stuck in a terrible, hate-filled relationship incredibly funny. It works in this song, though, because he gets the sound of early post-punk Elvis Costello exactly right (a sound I love), and this is pretty much as nasty as Elvis Costello generally is to me.

151. "The White Stuff"
(Parody of "The Right Stuff" by New Kids on the Block; from Off the Deep End, 1992)
The original song was pretty prevalent among my generation--my cousin loved them in a big way--and I admit, "The Right Stuff" has a weirdly addicting beat. I prefer Al's version, because you don't have to listen to any of those kids singing. This one's more cute than anything--a man extolling his love of Oreo cookies--but it's cute in a nice way.

Boy, can you tell that Polka Party! and Off the Deep End are my least favorite Weird Al albums?

Until next time.


Roger Owen Green said...

I don't like prank phone calls either, but I found Phony Calls much more tolerable than the TLC reference because of one Bart Simpson, back in the day when I was actually watching that program.

I'm So Sick of You just lies there.

Roger Owen Green said...

I liked Ruthless People when I saw it in 1986, but I haven't seen it since, so I have no idea how it holds up.

Roger Owen Green said...

Some of these I had never heard. 162, 160, 159, 158, 157, 156, 151. Thanks. will link to the series!

SamuraiFrog said...

Thanks! I'm glad you're interested; this is as much an excuse for me to listen to Weird Al's entire catalog again as it is a chance to share my thoughts.