"Weird Al" Yankovic

Alpocalypse Now… and Then Page 12

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"Weird Al" Yankovic - Alpocalypse Now… and Then Page 12
By Vish KhannaReleased on June 21, 2011, Alpocaypse features previously released Internet Leaks gems like the White Stripes-aping tribute to Charles Nelson Reilly, "CNR," and the out-of-nowhere Doors homage "Craigslist" (featuring the Doors' Ray Manzarek approximating his part on "When the Music's Over"), as well as strong new songs like "TMZ," a parody of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me," a Gaga-inspired polka medley of contemporary songs called "Polka Face," and the deceptively bouncy, post-9/11 mockery, "Party in the CIA," based on "Party in the USA" by Miley Cirus.

I don't know if the actual Alpocalypse is coming but I'm pretty sure we're closer to it now than we've ever been," Yankovic says of the album's doomsday title and artwork. "I figured that I might as well do my apocalypse-themed album before the actual apocalypse because I really don't think people are gonna be buying CDs at the end of the world. Getting in a few sales under the wire, y'know? But I wasn't consciously trying to tap into people's fears. It's actually an idea I had in my notebook for several years and I just thought it was a funny album title and I had that visual of me being one of the four horsemen, and I just thought that'd be funny." It is notable that so many songs from the new album have been released already, in some cases for a couple of years. "Including the Lady Gaga parody, it's literally half the album," Yankovic agrees. "Some people have complained that it's only half-new, but I was always very up-front about that when I put out Internet Leaks. Like, 'This is a preview of my new album. I'm putting this out early so you don't have to wait two or three years for these cuts.' It shouldn't have been a surprise. But that is a problem because I am straddling two worlds. I would love to take more advantage of digital distribution because that allows me to put out things very, very quickly and, especially because I'm doing topical and timely humour, that's of the essence. But at the same time, I do love physical media; I love LPs, I love CDs, I love a product you can hold in your hand and say, 'This is my new album.' There's a charm and romance to that and it's difficult for me. I think we're going more towards straight digital distribution. I think the CD's gonna go away but it's gonna be with us for a while longer, but in the meantime, it's this transitional period where it's in 'the cloud,' like music just kinda exists, y'know?"

Yankovic plans to film his two appearances at Toronto's Massey Hall in July 2011 for a forthcoming TV special. "I played Massey Hall before and it was one of my favourite gigs and I love Toronto — Toronto's one of my favourite cities in the world. My manager gave me a list of three venues in the U.S. and Canada where they were considering shooting the live show and one of them was Massey Hall. It was my first choice and we just made it happen. It's gonna be the Alpocalypse show and we're playing a week's worth of shows ahead of time to warm up and be ready for Massey Hall."


The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic
Even Worse (1988, Scotti Brothers)
Written off after poorly received albums, Yankovic hit back with a vengeance, crafting funny parodies of songs by friends like Michael Jackson and George Harrison, not to mention crafty originals like "Melanie," "Twister," and "Good Old Days." His gift for perceiving cultural trends, capturing their essence, and mocking the hell out of them shines here and its corresponding videos.

Off the Deep End
(1992, Scotti Brothers/Volcano)
A curiously compelling document of the musical sea change that was the early 1990s, where bubblegum pop, cheesy rap, and hair metal gave way to the rise of subversive, challenging punk and a grittier lo-fi aesthetic across all genres. "Weird Al" taps into the teenage girl hysteria for NKOTB and MC Hammer while saluting Generation X's flannel, freak flag and the angst-y sarcasm it represents. If the era's co-existing chart toppers seem absurd in retrospect, it's that much funnier filtered through Off the Deep End.

Straight Outta Lynwood
(2006, Volcano)
Whether it's the hot raps or eagle-eye lyrics about nerds and their proclivities, "White & Nerdy" is the undeniable display of Yankovic's ridiculous artistic range. And then, what of the Pet Sounds-styled paean to the "Pancreas?" Lynwood is Yankovic's highest charting album to date and with good reason. The "Trapped in the Drive-Thru" R. Kelly rip is side-splittingly funny, no to mention "Don't Download This Song," a mock "We Are the World" charity song dedicated to the faltering music industry. Just priceless.

Listen to the Exclaim! Weird al playlist at rdio.



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I think that "Dare to be Stupid" is a highly underrated album and easily belongs on the list of essential Weird Al records.
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When I saw Weird Al perform at the Del Mar Fair earlier this month, I met Tad Dowd after the show (and before Jay Levey came to escort him backstage to the aftershow). Al is really good about staying in touch with people who were important to him when he was starting out.
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I love being a Nameless Poseur. You might want to consider editing "Don MacLean" to "Don McLean." Just a suggestion.
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I agree about Dare to Be Stupid. It was a close one there for a while but I wanted to pick Even Worse and then felt weird choosing two outta three records from the 80s. Wanted to spread it out a bit. Plus EW, OtDE, and SoL are all amazing. I stand by my Essential picks.
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What a thrill to find such a great and detailed piece
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Excellent article. Well researched and informative.
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Even Worse came out before UHF. If anything, it was a return after the lackluster sales of Polka Party (unfortunate, because that one is even more underrated than Dare to be Stupid, Dog Eat Dog is one of his best).
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Well you could have picked the 2009 Compilation "The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic you know.. :D
I'd pick that, Alpocalypse and Poodle Hat as my Essentials
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Great article. As noted above, the author misspelled "McLean", but also misspelled "Popeil" by adding an "m". Anyway, loved the article! Al's pal and former producer Rick Derringer (who also played the lead guitar for the studio recording of "Eat It") is now touring with Ringo's All Starr band. Pretty impressive. I wanna add that some years back, VH-1 had people vote for their favorite video moment. Jim West blowing up in the "Eat It" video was one of the choices. I, of course voted for that. Never found out the results, but I thought it was a great moment in video history. Thanks for sharing this article.
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without Weird Al, the world would suck a little harder....
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Al receives his first music lesson on October 22, 1967, the day before his seventh birthday.

59-67 = 8 years !!!!
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i appreciate the effort that went into compiling all the info that went into this piece, but i have to say that the writing itself made me wince.

i'm also surprised that this website doesn't offer any indications as to how long their articles actually are.
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Who edited this article??! While this is very thorough and well-researched, there are spelling mistakes and several run-on sentences. It goes in order until the last page. After mentioning Al's 2011 work, it jumps to mentions of 1988 and 1992.
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One fairly major project that seems to be left out is "Al's Brain." Otherwise a great piece.
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Al's Brain! Good point!
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Like many others out there, "Weird Al" got me through a lot of bad times, and has indeed, made my world so much better. I couldn't imagine life being brilliant, without him around.
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Wait, you seriously want us to tell you how long each article is in advance?!
Wow, someone's really been spoiled by "This Song's Just Six Words Long."
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uh...the references to 1988 and 1992 appear to be the author's top three picks, after the proper article had concluded. Kinda like a sidebar.
Well done, Vish. Excellent piece.
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My parents drove by my elementary school during recess when I was in 4th grade just to show me that they had just purchased "IN-3D" on vinyl for me, which had just come out. I was beyond excited.
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Don't forget that he appeared in an episode of Johnny Bravo!
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He who is tired of Weird Al, is tired of life.
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Ugh, please learn how to use tense before becoming a journalist. Thanks.
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This is awesome :) all the details I ever wanted to know about Al's journey to success, without having to pick up a book. :)
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Hey Nameless Poseur, how should I be using tense?
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Nameless Poseur........ stop being a cynic and just appreciate the article for what it is will you
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Well, let me say, 2 boys in the 80's~~ saw vidioes from Wierd Al and they were hooked. What does a Mother know?? HMM Accordian?? Yeah, my Dad thrust one on me!Hey, Cindy here play this. He was a car salesman. HMMMMM?? must have been his tip??WELL!! I impressed myself, aS i PLAYED!(caps lock)Okay, reply because we want( or I do) to see you on the sunshine coast of Gibsons! BC!
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Saw Al in concert in Birmingham, England. It was his first show on his first European Tour ever. It was amazing! As a kid growing up in Kansas City in the 80's, I'd always wanted to hear Weird Al first hand. I was happy I did, and my son got to experience it too. The lady at the ticket booth never took my tickets so I still have them as a keepsake.
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Nameless Poseur or one of you, your Al messing about!
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qeer
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i love chicken and weird al
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i was here
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Article Published In Jul 11 Issue