Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ranking Al: #80-71

There's a bunch of polkas on this one... as much as I love Weird Al's polkas, I guess I consider a bunch of them to be middle-range.

80. "Polka Party!"
(Medley; from Polka Party!, 1986)
Weird trivia: this is Al's shortest polka, running a mere 3:15. It feels a little slight, but I think there was definitely some burn out after doing an album every year for four years straight. Here's the list of songs featured.

79. "Canadian Idiot"
(Parody of "American Idiot" by Green Day; from Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006)
Energetic and cute spoof on the stereotypical American view of Canada. More funny "this is what Americans think Canadians are like" jokes than in seven seasons of How I Met Your Mother.

78. "Foil"
(Parody of "Royals" by Lorde; from Mandatory Fun, 2014)
I've heard a number of covers of "Royals" over the last couple of years, and this one falls at the lower end of the spectrum for me. There's just something about the way this song is mixed that grates on me a little bit, and I think the parody lyrics are a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel. I'm trying to keep the songs separate from the music videos, but this one is really enhanced by a funny video with a few cameos.

77. "The Hot Rocks Polka"
(Medley; from UHF, 1989)
Fantastic idea to do a polka of nothing but Rolling Stones songs, but I think the idea is more fun than the actual execution. Here are the songs used. I love the banjo on "Brown Sugar." The "Miss You" section always makes me laugh out loud, and the opening riff of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" played on an accordion is hysterical.

76. "The Alternative Polka"
(Medley; from Bad Hair Day, 1996)
A surprising number of the songs in here just take me back to early mornings commuting to work when I was 18/19. Here's the list. Sorry to let the nostalgia take over the entry a little, but I can't deny it's there. Al is a master accordionist in this one, especially during "You Oughta Know," and some of the snippets styled the way Al styles them sound better to me than the originals. God, "Black Hole Sun" was a drag. I always found it funny how he censors the lyrics (with wacky sound effects) for Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," but then sings "Am I paranoid, or am I just stoned?" for the big close out from Green Day's "Basket Case." The "am I just stoned?" lyric was always censored on the radio (and on MTV, I believe) with "yeah yeah yeah" back then.

75. "Confessions Part III"
(Parody of "Confessions Part II" by Usher; from Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006)
Al's continuation of Usher's song has a lot of trivial, strange, and even disturbing confessions, unloading secrets like faking illness to skip the office picnic and not sharing the Rice Krispies. Great production; turn it up and this one really fills the room in a satisfying way.

74. "My Bologna"
(Parody of "My Sharona" by The Knack; from "Weird Al" Yankovic, 1983)
When I was a kid, my Dad accused me of somehow adding in the belch myself. Hey, burping at will was a legit skill for a 10 year-old, Dad! The original song is one of those great pop anthems simply on the strength of how dumb and easy to enjoy it is (that's a compliment, I promise), but Al's version speeds it up and, of course, replaces the guitar lead with accordion to hilarious effect.

73. "Polkas on 45"
(Medley; from "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D, 1984)
The first of Al's polkas. It sounds a little thin, but only because Al doesn't have the fuller sound yet that he would use on later albums and polkas. I do love the bit where it slows down and he does a sort of lounge-y take on "Hot Blooded" and "Every Breath You Take." Here's the full list of songs used.

72. "Word Crimes"
(Parody of "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring TI and Pharrell Williams; from Mandatory Fun, 2014)
It's so nice to get that music away from the misogyny of the original song... I have an English degree and I love language, so I enjoyed this one. It kind of sounds like a song an English teacher would use in a second grade class. But it came out into a world where little grammar martinets get off on correcting your grammar in the most attention-getting way all over the internet, so I maybe shouldn't have been surprised when the song sparked a small but intense debate on Tumblr about whether the song is supposed to be about grammar, or puncturing the attitude of people who want to correct your grammar in order to lord over you how much more conscientious they are about their spelling. (Or worse, the people who think typos only happen to dumb people and use that as a sign of their own intelligence.) Is Al parodying a tiresome attitude, or displaying it? Does it really matter? It kind of works either way. Certainly I've had people see a typo or a transposition and make fun of me, but I've also had people just point it out so that I can fix a potentially embarrassing error, one friend to another, doing me a solid. I guess it just depends on whether or not you're an asshole.

71. "It's All About the Pentiums"
(Parody of "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)" by Puff Daddy; from Running with Scissors, 1999)
Oh, 1999. The time of constant floods of AOL disc junk mail, when your company's IT guy thought he was the rock star of the office and dorky white guys treated processing power like it was the secret code to crack life itself. Huh, no wonder The Matrix was so popular. Call it the Dilbert Era. This song really takes me back to that weird, weird time. I don't have anything truly profound to say about it, but I do always love the way Al can make your average dork look like a guy who thinks he's a hotshot, something he'd do to much better effect in "White & Nerdy."

Until next time!


Roger Owen Green said...

We all LOVE Word Crimes in this house, and for me, it's as much about my utter disdain for the "original" and the great visuals of dancing punctuation marks. I LOVE the polka line for You Oughta Know! Pentium suffers from the fact that the technology got dated.

SamuraiFrog said...

That's why I like Pentiums more for the attitude it displays rather than the tech jokes. One of my great secret shames--although I guess I can blame this on my ADHD, too--is that even though my Dad has been working with computers since 1980, I don't really understand how they work at all, so a lot of tech jokes just go right over my head.