“Weird Al” Yankovic – Alpocalypse – Review

weirdal200“Weird Al” Yankovic

Alpocalypse (Volcano/Jive)
by Scott Hefflon

Don’t shoot the messenger, as they say. It’s not Weird Al‘s fault Alpocalypse is lame, it’s that mainstream pop music is terrible, and has been for years. In spite of its clever title, “Polka Face” is the first polka medley I haven’t played again and again, nearly peeing myself laughing, until I had it memorized. While there are a few sharp barbs at the idiocy of the genre (the quick stirring of “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain, “Replay” by Iyaz, “Down” by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne, and “Break Your Heart” by Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris nails the numbing repetitiveness and interchangeability of the songs, and thanks to Wikipedia for the cut ‘n’ paste of the silly-named “artists” who performed these turds), most of the medley is simply an upbeat blend of songs most humans would volunteer for unnecessary dental procedures rather than ever have to hear again. And, ironically, these songs already play in the dentist’s office. Modern day soft rock for the braindead. The “artists” just wear more bling.

Another serious fault with the release is that anyone who got the Internet Leaks EP already has almost all the good songs on Alpocalypse. They got “Craigslist,” too. Sure, having Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek play the stoner drone is cool, but a Doors style parody is sure gonna lose most of Red Bull nation. “Whatever You Like” (parody of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”) was hilarious, “Skipper Dan” (style parody of Weezer) was funny (and timely, as many people with real skills are doing embarrassingly stupid jobs to put food on the table), “CNR” (style parody of The White Stripes) was fun to hear, even if the topic is kinda dumb, and “Ringtone” (style parody of Queen) is a timely topic, plus the song borrows heavily from “Having a Good Time,” which is the best song you’ll ever look totally gay rockin’ out to.

To get all up in there… Opener and single “Perform This Way” is a parody of “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. There’s an interesting story about how the song almost didn’t get on the album cuz Lady Gaga’s manager is a douche. Read details elsewhere. I just want to give the finger to any and all non-creative types who stand in the way of creative types making, like, creative stuff. Dicks. The song is fun, and anyone who misses all “Weird Al”‘s Madonna parodies will enjoy it.

“TMZ” is based on “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift, which is one of the reasons it sucks, and the other is that it’s about stupid celebrities and stupid people’s obsession with all the details of their trainwreck lives. Artists and skilled craftsmen (craftspeople?) have skills, and can be famous, sure. Celebrities are often famous without any real skills, yet the masses are simply fascinated by how outlandish and ridiculous they are, and they want to watch them make idiots of themselves until they die. Which seems to take a lot longer than you’d think. Natural selection, where are you?!?

“Party in the CIA” is a parody of “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. Yeah, it’s as awful as it sounds. “Another Tattoo” is a parody of “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars. It’s great. The sweet, soaring melody and countering stutter of “Nut-nut-nut-nothin’ on you, babe” makes the original as well as the parody impossible to ignore. I sure wish I hated that song more than I do. And the subject matter? Lemme put it this way: If you’ve ever met some knob with a lot of tattoos, they’ll talk your ear off about the meaning and history of them all, one at a time. A quick and casual utterance of appreciation made in passing suddenly becomes Their Statement of Purpose in Life Through Other People’s Art, as Jabbed Into My Skin by Some Hairy Dude I’d Just Met. And ladies? If I coulda gotten away with saying “Nice tits, wanna fuck?” I would’ve. I don’t care what your tats mean to you, or the stories behind them. I have thoughts. I sometimes share them with others if they seem interested. Then I move on. You have tats that express something about you, to you, and maybe others. You’re stuck with those statements for a while. Good luck with that. You’ll run out of skin long before I run of out funny or mind-bending shit I evidently said a while back that I never even bothered to jot down.

“If That Isn’t Love” is a style parody of Hanson. Nuff said. Closer “Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me” is a style parody of Jim Steinman (the guy who wrote most of Meatloaf’s stuff, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at All” and others), and it’s worth tracking down now, right now. The subject is obvious, and “Weird Al” is in top lyrical form here. As great as Straight Outta Lynwood‘s closer, the gospel/”We Are the World” style parody “Don’t Download This Song.”

So yeah, OK, there are a few real gems here, most of which I’ve had for a couple years cuz I got the Internet Leaks EP. As an album, it’s the first time I’ve ever been really bummed when first hearing a “Weird Al” album. Seeing as they only come out every three to five years now cuz pop culture doesn’t have many new, amazing break-throughs, that’s quite some time to wait to be reminded how simply terrible pop music has become. That snarled yet again, “Weird Al” continues to find the best tunes in today’s pop wasteland and mix lyrically topical parodies of them amidst nostalgic style parodies, all emitting clever wordplay, “what did he just say?!?” gasps, and assorted silliness.