Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Jive
Genre(s): Comedy, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Comedy/Spoken, Comedy Rock, Novelty, Song Parody
Like a Top 40 Henny Youngman, "Weird Al" Yankovic's appeal seems to be as much about his semiheroic refusal to hang it the fuck up, already, as it is about his records - which, love 'em or hate 'em, never lack for targets. His latest batch of fish in a barrel sends up the paparazzi ("You just picked up some transvestite/Seconds later, it's up on the website," he chirps on "TMZ," a remake of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me"), online commerce (the Doors-biting "Craigslist") and Lady Gaga ("Perform This Way"). The jokes don't always relieve the earworm annoyingness of the Xeroxed tunes.
If there's one thing that's harder than writing a good song, it's writing a good parody song. Think about it – when was the last time you heard a good parody? One that didn't resort to stereotypes, crass rhymes or predictable jibes, whilst remaining genuinely funny. My guess is that it's been a while. If a song did come to mind, then I wouldn't be surprised if that song was performed by “Weird Al” Yankovic, for Yankovic is something of a legend when it comes to musical parodies.
From its smattering of cute original songs to its wealth of brilliant parodies, Weird Al’s Alpocalypse fits the Yankovic album template splendidly, offering a great gut busters-to-groaners ratio, and featuring one of the best pop-in-a-polka-style medleys in the man’s catalog, “Polka Face. ” The inspired medley covers everyone from Kesha (“Tik Tok”) to Owl City (“Fireflies”) at breakneck speed, but the highlight has to be Al’s take on Kid Cudi (“Day ‘N’ Nite”) where backpacker lyrics (“The lonely stoner seems to free himself at night”) meets babushka music. “Party in the C.
Like his previous 12 studio albums, Weird Al Yankovic’s Alpocalypse mixes several parodies of topical pop with some originals and polka. As always, the album highlights his gift for lyrics that are simultaneously incisive and absurdly hilarious. Weird Al’s humorous lyrical revisions are his bread and butter, obviously, but not all of his parodies are simple, straightforward re-writes.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or not, the release of a new Weird Al album is an important thing. The man has observed, deconstructed, composed, performed, and recorded music in every popular genre of the last three decades. What other artist can say that? He is an all-seeing pop culture overlord. Al knows us better than we know ourselves.
Weird Al’s first new album since 2006 was ushered in on a cloud (well, a very vaporous, bloggy cloud) of hubbub surrounding its lead single, “Perform This Way,” a spoof of Lady Gaga’s ubiquitous “Born This Way.” Apparently, Lady G.’s management put the kibosh on the single without consulting their client, causing some rolled eyes and indignation among Al’s loyal fans, who have come to expect good-humored endorsements from the subjects he lampoons. But when the entrails-wearing singer heard the track for herself, she personally gave it the thumbs-up. It’s one of five good-enough parodies here, along with mild skewerings of Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, T.I., and Miley Cyrus.