Music, Quick Lists — July 17, 2014 10:57 am

Our Top Weird Al Song Picks

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With “Weird Al”’s new album coming out, and considering how we met, we decided to share our top “Weird Al” songs, in no particular order.  Although, the numbering system we arbitrarily use could confuse readers into thinking they are in a particular order.  Don’t over think it.

10 – Trash Day


Linz:
The summer that Poodle Hat was released, Lee and I spent the majority our time together. As we cruised around my hometown in his giant truck, we needed some music to show just how badass we were. What was in Lee’s 5 CD changer? Poodle Hat, of course. What’s the most gangster song on there? You know it’s “Trash Day”, a parody of “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. Would I feel this way about “Trash Day” if I didn’t have these good memories attached to it? Maybe not. But the visual of roaches wearing slippers and Al proclaiming “Hey, I think them rat’s gettin’ big” makes me giggle still over a decade later. If I listen to anything from Poodle Hat, it’s “Trash Day”. Unless Lee tricks me into listening to “Party at the Leper Colony”.

9 – Another Tattoo


Lee:  When pulling up “Weird Al” on the mp3 player (yes, I have a device dedicated to only playing music in 2014), “Another Tattoo” is usually the first song I play.  The tune is almost trance-like and the lyrics are so strong that it’s easily to visualize all the sight-gags while listening.  The filler “hey” and “haha” that sprinkle the background really add another dimension to playing a silly song with a totally straight face.  That’s the kind of humor that made the classic TV series Police Squad so entertaining.

8 – Frank’s 2000” TV


Linz:
My first “Weird Al” album was Alapalooza. I don’t believe I skipped any song when listening to it back then, but I’d definitely go back and re-listen to “Frank’s 2000” TV” over and over again. When I have a “Weird Al” song stuck in my head, it’s usually this. The melody is catchy and the style in which Al sings the lyrics makes it easy to sing along with. “Frank’s 2000” TV” is a style parody of REM, specifically “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” and “Near Wild Heaven”, but as I’m not big into REM that isn’t the reason I’m drawn to this song. I’m simple—I just thought watching Robert De Niro’s mole at 10 feet wide was hilarious.

7 – Theme From Rocky XIII (The Rye Or The Kaiser)


Lee:  The genius of this song is it’s ability to accurately predict the future of the Rocky films.  The lyrics for this 1984 song describe a hypothetical Rocky movie in which the champ has moved on from boxing and works at a restaurant.  After a sixteen year hiatus, the Rocky franchise hit the big screen one more time with an actual movie that depicted the champ having moved on from boxing to work at his restaurant.  Maybe it took twenty-two years for the joke to really take hold, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

6 – Dog Eat Dog


Linz:
In the late 1990s, when I was buying “Weird Al”’s back catalog whenever I found any CDs and had money on me to purchase it (what was life before debit and credit cards?), I really clung to Polka Party. The album didn’t include many hits, although some people (named Lee) actually like “Living With a Hernia” for some reason. The songs that are good on Polka Party are really, really good just as the songs that are bad are really, really bad (“Don’t Wear Those Shoes”? Really?). And I’ve grown to appreciate “Dog Eat Dog” more and more as I get further into my adult life. I’ve always worked in offices and find the doughnut and coffee culture fascinating. Wait. No, depressing.

5 – Hardware Store


Lee:  Arguably the strongest original tune from 2003’s Poodle Hat, “Hardware Store” quickly became a fan favorite.  The breakdown with a ridiculous amount of vocal tracks solidified this as one of Yankovic’s most technically creative originals.  Unfortunately, the complicated structure of the song means it may never be performed live.  He teased fans in concert by announcing, “This next song is called ‘Hardware Store’”, only to let them down and play something else.

4 – One of Those Days


Linz:
When Lee and I were discussing our favorites, “One Of Those Days” ended up on both of our long lists. The beauty of “One of Those Days”, also from Polka Party, is its slow progression into the absurd. Getting to work late, getting yelled at by the boss, losing socks and wallets—all totally plausible and all totally factors in one having “One of Those Days”. From there it goes to disaster (“I just wrapped my Cadillac around a tree”) to frivolity (“There’s not even anything good on TV”). Al continues to amp up the absurdity and the mundane until the world just blows up because dang it, this one dude was having “One of Those Days”. Because it’s so strange yet accessible, our 12-year-old selves latched onto the message. And since in many ways we’re still like our 12-year-old selves, we still carry this as one of our favorites.

3 – Gump


Lee:  “Gump” is one of those great all-around parodies, with lyrics that call out the absurd situations in Forrest Gump.  By the time Yankovic’s song was released, the movie was just starting to feel over-hyped.  The video was a big hit with the AOL Keyword crowd in 1996, but received very little play on MTV at the time.  On a recent viewing of the film, I realized just how well the song held up over the years despite not having a reference to Gump teaching Elvis how to dance.

2 – The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota


Linz:
Back before Al regularly put long, sprawling narrative songs on his albums, 1989’s “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” was the only thing we had—it was our green golf ball joke. Imagine our minds exploding when we learned that The Biggest Ball of Twine was real and that it was in Minnesota. It wouldn’t be until a decade later, on 1999’s Running With Scissors, that we’d get another long song with “Albuquerque”. The appeal of these seemingly unending songs is a built-in endurance test. The song starts out humorous enough, then gets kind of mundane. Then you realize the song is still going. You wait, and wait… and it’s still going. Suddenly, you start giggling. How much longer can this go on? Just long enough for it to loop back around and be funny again.

1 – Skipper Dan


Lee:  Some consider it an anthem for their failed attempts at a career in the creative arts.  Others laugh at it from behind their shiny executive desk.  Either way, this is hands down my favorite “Weird Al” song.  It’s not filled to the brim with LOL-jokes; the humor is actually pretty subtle.  At the same time, the narrator of the lyrics seems downright depressed.  The “funny but sad” lyrics are part of the appeal for bands with a similar nerdy fan base, such as They Might Be Giants.  If “Weird Al” were to ever release an album of straight-up alternative music, “Skipper Dan” is probably the closest glimpse to what we would hear.  After performing “Eat It” for thirty years, one can’t help but wonder if the lyrics were inspired from “Weird Al”‘s own experience.

 

What are some of your favorite “Weird Al” tunes? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

 

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