I think Weird Al was probably the first artist that was “mine.” Didn’t get it from my parents. Found it organically from watching a ton of MTV at a young age. And AL dominated MTV in that era.
The first concert I ever went to was Weird Al on the Running With Scissors tour. I will never forget it because I was in like 8th or 9th grade. I went with just me and my friends (my parents dropped us off…dunno where they went, but they didn’t have tickets……they also showed up right as the show ended). There was some fucking radio contest to open for Weird Al. And the guy who won was some kind of schlock comedian doing material that was 1) very un-Weird Al, 2) really raunch for the audience, and 3) not funny.
He actually got yanked off the stage about 5 min or so into his set. They like cut the lights on him and yanked him off.
I was really scared it would ruin the show. That people would hate it as a result.
Nope. Al has a way of bringing everyone together. Was a fucking fantastic show. Crowd singing along. The whole thing.
…So in honor of Al, you get my list
I am a big fan of last tracks on an album. I think artists generally try to go nuts, really stretch out. Al has a TON of them. On paper, Genius in France feels like straight forward Al. An 8 minute style parody of one of his favorite artists, Frank Zappa. But two things make this one of my favorites. First, Al has THE BEST fucking band. I am impressed with them ever time I have seen them live (5 times at this writing). It really shows with this track. The musicianship is off the fuckin chain. They know all the Zappa tricks, and some how organically shove them in. Probably doesn’t hurt to have a little Dweezil thrown in. Resulting in an 8 min overstuffed po-boy of glory. Second, this is extremely silly. Its all that favorite Al surreal, and turn of phrase jokes thrown into the Zappa template. The result is chaos, and its lovely.
This song is like a comfortable shoe. its a great time every time.
The hidden masterpiece on Mandatory Fun. It hits too close to home. I have a rule in my writing, fucking ban buzzwords. I hate them, you hate them. Fuckin Al takes them and, because he’s a fucking genius, uses them to their final purpose. I have heard criticisms of Al before that he never has anything to “say” in his songs. That they are just silly for being silly.
CLEARLY, those people aren’t listening hard enough. Who speakings in all the corporatese? Boomers. Boomers who were once hippies, preaching free love. Now they have all gone corporate and do everything in their power to squeeze whatever life the planet has left in it so they can pay for heating on their exterior pool while they listen to the Grateful Dead and pretend they still care about the world. What is the best way to get at them? Oh, feed them their bullshit through the sound of one of their favorite bands. CSN (and sometimes Y).
Masterpiece. And the video is dope to.
If you know me, you knew this was coming. DEVO is one of my favorite bands, so naturally, this was coming. The Al mirror is absolute, and when he reflects it on you, you feel it. This has everything. Steady drum beats, basic computer graphics, an interociter, Bob. Most beautiful thing he ever heard is what Mark Mothersbaugh said. This is probably the AL song that gets the most playtime for me. Shows up on the most playlists. Mainly because its basically an addendum to DEVO’s catalogue. Its two things coming together great.
Also, only the fucking 80s would have a robot fight to this song.
Every artist has this song. Dark Star. Freebird. Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA. The song the hardcore fans want to here. Now, MANY Al fans will disagree with me and say shit like Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota or Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung or Nature Trail to Hell (which I do think is an underrated masterpiece).
Anyway, I think its actually this one. No parody here. No pastiche. Its almost 12 minutes of one ranting story. I would also argue this is Al’s funniest song. This is the one I always fuckin laugh at. “Well, to cut a long story short, he got away with my snorkel/But I made a solemn vow right then and there that I would not rest/I would not sleep for an instant until the one-nostrilled man was brought to justice/But first, I decided to buy some donuts”
God damn fantastic. I have only seen him play it live once, but it was incredible. The band just keeps DRIVING this insane story of insanity and sauerkraut.
And it would be my favorite Al song….if it wasn’t for.
The legend. The masterpiece. I have heard people say this is a They Might Be Giants style parody. I don’t think that does this song enough justice. Its a masterpiece of fuckin quality. I am SHOCKED that this isn’t covered by every punk rock band on the planet. It should be.
Another one where Al kind of lets his perspective fly under the radar here. This idea of just accepting the fact that you are just wrong. I like it. I like it alot. I also had a Mormon friend of mine who explained to me that their idea of heaven is tiered. And pretty much everyone goes there unless you decide to like start your own version of LDS. So I asked him, “Wait, so if I do nothing, I get the noisy room next to the ice machine in heaven? I’ll take it.”
I like this image. Maybe I will see Al in his Nehru jacket there. Would be nice.
Al will stand the test of time. The man is a powerhouse talent. I highly anticipate the next Al project. Whatever it may be. Thank you Al for giving me a little joy in these dark dark times.