I leave the country for a couple of weeks and… Weird Al has a number one album?! What is the world coming to? Well genius marketing by Weird Al with his eight videos in eight days push to release it sure has a lot to do with it. I crack up at Word Crimes and may someday like Tacky (right now my brain has overheard that Happy song to the point where it’s just too much too soon).
Maybe it’s harder to parody when pop stars are smaller than they used to be? Weird Al did parody a Lady Gaga song; it’s not bad but for someone who has recently refreshed his memory of Al’s whole career — Al’s parody of Lady Gaga is more similar to his parody of Madonna than… well you get the point.
But he’s had a string of songs over the last decade that are more broadly aimed at problems; annoyances of society; technology run amok.
The problem with email
The problem with cell phones
The problem with the war on terror (it’s subtext!)
The problem with Craigslist (not so much problem as useful service for buying and selling goods and services)
I don’t know how much credit is given to him, but Weird Al basically inspired a whole musical subgenre, Nerdcore, with his parodies of rap music that focused on suburban, middle class, well nerdy, subjects.
He’s had three fairly large hit songs parodying rap songs and his last one, White & Nerdy was a top ten hit, a Platinum single according to the RIAA.
All About the Pentiums
White & Nerdy
This is turning into a whole week of Weird Al posts I guess. There’s a whole string of parodies Al did in the nineties where he took a popular song and then made fun not just the song and the band but a whole bunch of other pop culture stuff. More of a blender, shotgun approach.
Smells Like Nirvana parodies the ur grunge song but also the whole grunge movement.
Bedrock Anthem parodies a couple of Red Hot Chili Pepper songs in the course of its affection for the television show The Flintstones.
Gump parodies not only the Presidents of the United States’ hit song Lump but the movie Forrest Gump which is already a maelstrom of pop culture Zeliging.
The Saga Begins saddles up Don McLean’s American Pie for a roll through the first Star Wars prequel.
UPDATE: Really if you’re posting about Weird Al and Star Wars I think you’re legally required to mention Yoda. Hopefully this update will keep me out of nerd jail.
I had forgotten how Michael Jackson MADE Weird Al. If Michael Jackson hadn’t gotten to be such a huge pop star — in a way I’m not sure anyone growing up in the 21st Century will understand – – than Weird Al might not have broken as big as he did in parodying two of Jackson’s hit songs: Beat It and Bad.
Both songs from Al are pretty funny actually although fully appreciating the original is probably necessary to really laugh at the parody.
Brothers from another mother? Weird Al in a fat suit and Eddie Murphy in a fat suit for The Nutty Professor.