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"Weird Al" Yankovic - Alpocalypse

Released: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 / Reviewed:
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"Weird Al" Yankovic
Alpocalypse

Ratings

Initial Thoughts:
I've been a fan of Weird Al since I first heard "Smells Like Nirvana" when I was a kid. Since then, he's had several albums come out, each with their own unique parodies of popular music from varying styles (check out "The Essential Weird Al Collection for a compilation of the most popular ones). This particular album has made waves because it contains a Lady Gaga parody of "Born This Way" that almost never was. Admittedly, I've never heard the original by Gaga (by intention, I assure you), but I am aware of the parody's content and of the general antics of Gaga, so I am intrigued. I also look forward to hearing what else is in store, along with original tracks by Weird Al.

1) Perform This Way - This song is great right from "Ever since I hatched." Great way to kick things off. And there's even a music video for it!

2) CNR - An original song here with a strong rock presence to it that is a "style parody" of The White Stripes. About a superhuman feats that former game show host Charles Nelson Reilly could accomplish (similar to Chuck Norris facts), it's not bad, but I got lost within it. I'd give it another shot, though. By the way, this also has a music video, including an alternate version where you can have yourself embedded within it and share with others.

3) TMZ - Set to the same melody as Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me," this track takes on the media's fascination with stalking celebrities in hopes to catch them doing something scandalous. Another great one here.

4) Skipper Dan - This original song is a bit sad overall, telling the tale of a failed actor who now works as a tour guide on a "Jungle Cruise" ride at an amusement park. Definitely done well.

5) Polka Face - The obligatory polka track covering a compilation of songs, this one takes on "Poker Face" (duh), along with many, many other popular songs. Some that I was able to identify were Flo Rida's "Right Round," Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." The rest of them sounded vaguely familiar but I wasn't really sure what they were or who performed them, since I don't listen to the radio at all these days -- primarily to avoid these very songs. This track as a whole is something of a novelty to maybe listen to while hearing the whole album, but it's not something I'd probably like to hear otherwise.

6) Craigslist - While not a direct parody of a specific song, this track is a "style parody" of The Doors. The music and vocals sound very similar as Weird Al sings about various items for sale on the website. I couldn't help but be reminded of one of my favorite similar songs by Weird Al, "Ebay." There's also a music video for this song as well that further takes The Doors parody into the visual realm. The song is alright, but not something that sticks out to me amongst his other work.

7) Party in the CIA - Chances are that, by the title of this track, you already knew that this is a parody of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A.." The song had me laughing out loud even before the chorus hit. I'd definitely recommend hearing this one, given how prevalent the original song was. This is one of the best of Weird Al and I could see this become a classic. It may be a bit too late after the original's relevance to exploit this parody, but it's still great stuff.

8) Ringtone - Another "style parody" here, this time of Queen, and also with its own music video. It has humorous lyrical content about an embarrasing ringtone, but it's another "album-only" style listen for me.

9) Another Tattoo - This is yet another fantastic track that is about a guy addicted to body art. It follows the format of the original, B.o.B.'s "Nothin' On You," with Weird Al pulling double duty to also do Bruno Mars on the hook. Great stuff here again.

10) If That Isn't Love - I read online that this is a "style parody" of Hanson. It's reminiscent of "You Don't Love Me Anymore," though I get the Hanson comparison. It's definitely lyrically funny, about someone that mistakes their inconsiderate actions as acts of love.

11) Whatever You Like - With a parody of T.I.'s 2008 mega-hit "Whatever You Like," this track takes on the same title and, rather than gloat over how much he can spend on his woman, Weird Al takes the exact opposite approach and boasts about his generosity amidst his poverty. It's another great take on a familiar song.

12) Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me - A "style parody" of the work of Jim Steinman, this is a great original track about junk email. If you take a look at some of the popular music that Jim Steinman has been responsible for producing, this song takes on a while new meaning. It's quite an amazing feat that it sounds like several of Jim's songs all at once, and works really well in that vein. A nice way to close this one out.


Final Thoughts:
It's necessary to state that five of these tracks have already been available since last year as part of an online album release entitled "Internet Leaks." However, the album was only available digitally, whereas they're inclusion here makes them part of a hard-copy format when purchases in stores. Granted, these days everything ends up in digital form in one way or another (iPods and such).
Still, it is a good overall album that deserves checking out. There is also a "Deluxe Version" that includes the music videos for ten of the twelve tracks on here ("Polka Face" understandably doesn't get a video, and "Perform This Way" had its music video released a day before this album).
Whichever of the two options you decide on, this is definitely an album worth picking up and a welcome deviation from the other music found these days. Do yourself a favor and get this album.