Weird Al Yankovic
By Ellen Eldridge
Weird Al Yankovic pissed me off when I was very young. He mocked Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” with a disgusting jab-in-the-gut called “Eat It.” At the time, I didn’t get it; I didn’t understand parody or even sarcasm. As an adult, well-versed at sarcasm, I can appreciate the power of what Weird Al has done for many celebrities. He both chides them and ignites them.
On the latest release, Alpocalypse, Yankovic stabs wildly at Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Craigslist. Enthusiastic in his approach, he criticizes society with such zest. Taking on Taylor Swift, Weird Al criticizes TMZ and the rising amount of publicity celebrities have to contend with. “Every celebrity knows their gunna be on TMZ.”
Yankovic has the power and ability to introduce different audiences to the wide range of popular music. His humor makes those who wouldn’t otherwise listen to Mylie Cyrus (“Party in the C.I.A.”) or T.I. (“Whatever You Like” Yankovic didn’t even have to change the title to mock this one!) stop and listen – over and over again. Perhaps, this is why Weird Al has amused for decades and will, hopefully, continue to bring to light the idiosyncrasies in the music we listen to. Seriously, his skill and truth-in-jest roasting makes some of these artists more famous than they otherwise would’ve been. Recall, the jab at Nirvana with Yankovic’s critique, “I guess it pays to rehearse.”
The closing track, like his patented polkas, comes from the warped mind of Weird Al himself. “Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me” could be this generation’s next mellow ballad, but a closer inspection of the lyrics will expose the frustration we all experience from spam mail, chain letters, and jokes that just aren’t funny. As a harmonious group of background singers repeat the song title, Al asks, “Now I gotta insist, take me off of your list” beautifully in simplicity and brutal honesty.
Check out Alpocalypse because you know you want to laugh again.