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weird al

The success of Weird Al in the record industry is fully seen with his 2006 release of Straight Outta Lynwood which features some of the best Al songs since Bad Hair Day and its collection of hits. The album is, for the most part, the most solid experience we’ve seen in years and this all comes to a head with the albums first single “White and Nerdy“; which screamed up considerable buzz for both Al and the album showing the world that he’s still got it.

While it takes time to usually issue an album of parodies, so the dated tracks like “Canadian Idiot“; spoofing Green Day’s title track from their Grammy-award winning album can be excused for being a bit late to the scene, but the content in the songs makes up for their tardiness. The thought of launching a pre-emptive strike against our neighbors to the north should put a smile on any American’s face.

After some problems with licensing of the initial single “Your Pitiful“; the release of the CD was pushed back to omit the song (which was subsequently only released online). Several of the songs popped up before the CD’s release in addition to the aforementioned single. “Weasel Stomping Day“; was shown on Robot Chicken as a music video, which is subsequently included on the second disc of the CD/DVD set. The “We Are the World“;-inspired “Don’t Download This Song“; puts Al’s tongue firmly in cheek and calls out to all the P2P downloaders around the world to not download the freely released MP3 from

With the standard mix of original content and parodies, Straight Outta Lynwood makes up a careful balance, and nearly every song has something to offer the listen and entice them back for a second listen. The only weak point of the original material is the second track “Pancreas“; which is an ode to the digestive organ in the body. “I’ll Sue Ya’“;, while an original track, is clearly influenced by the abusive cords and lyrics of the newly reassembled Rage Against the Machine. The song really comes into its own with the provided video which makes the lyrics stand out as visuals course across the screen.

The main stand out on the album is the 11-minute “Trapped in the Drive Thru“; parodying R. Kelly’s similarly titled “Trapped in the Closet“;, which takes us through one couples journey to just get something to eat and what the lack of onions can do to a man.

Lynwood offers the listener six animated videos at the time of purchase for “Don’t Download this Song,”; “I’ll Sue Ya,”; “Virus Alert,”; “Close But No Cigar,”; “Pancreas,”; and “Weasel Stomping Day.”; Each video is animated by a different artists with the likes of Seth Green & Matt Senreich (Robot Chicken), John K (Ren and Stimpy), and Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton. The DVD also includes karaoke versions of each of the album’s songs and a Dolby 5.1 mix of all the songs for your listening enjoyment.

In the end Lynwood is Al’s biggest commercial hit thus far in his long and illustrious career and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With so much material just ripe for the parody treatment, one can only hope that services like MySpace, allowing the artist to better connect with their fans, only fuels the fire more and we’re treated to more songs in the shortest amount of time possible.

Weird Al Yankovic, the Prince of Parody, returns with his latest studio album, Poodle Hat, and it sure to please any Al fan as well as anyone who loves a good laugh. Poodle Hat is filled with 12 tracks that poke fun at everything from constipation to the selling of pure crap on online auction site eBay. While some of the songs Al chooses to parody are rather old (the Backstreet Boys namely) they never fail to hit their mark and bring a smile to your face. Be warned, listening to this CD in the car is liable to cause an accident.

If more than anything Al’s last three CDs have been his best, in my opinion. While the stuff from the 1980s was more heavy on parody, Bad Hair Day, Running with Scissors, and Poodle Hat have opened the door wider to Al’s original works. With songs like the 11 minute “Albuquerque” (which Editor entopia_john can do from memory) and “Hardware Store” we begin to see, not only does Yankovic have the ability to make fun of other people, he can write some independently funny stuff as well.

The disc starts off with the highly publicized “Couch Potato” which parodies Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” from his 2002 hit, 8 Mile. While Em gave instructions to not record the song as a single, or release a video, he did allow Al to include it on his CD. Some tend to believe this is for the better as “Couch Potato” doesn’t compare to the likes of “Amish Paradise” or “The Saga Begins.” What really stands out are the Avril Lavigne parody “A Complicated Song” and Nelly stab “Trash Day.” Both feature laugh-out-loud new lyrics which really show how talented Al is as a song writer. “Ode to a Superhero,” set to the tune of “Piano Man” reflects on the recent blockbuster Spider-Man and features some genuinely funny lyrics.

Some might be disappointed with Poodle Hat’s polka entitled “Angry White Boy Polka” as Al takes to singing songs from the likes of Disturbed, Papa Roach, and The Vines. Maybe nothing can stand up against Bad Hair Day’s awesome “The Alternative Polka.” Rounding out the last of the parodies is the previously mentioned Backstreet Boys inspired “eBay” which may contain some of the album’s funniest lyrics.

All in all the disc offers a wide variety of humor including “Bob” which is a song made up entirely of palindromes. People out there believe writing a song with lots of “power” in the lyrics is true workmanship, try writing a song where every line is the same backwards and forwards.

If you actually decide to purchase the CD you get some extra content hosted by Al who greets, and thanks, you for not downloading it off the internet. While Poodle Hat may not be on the same level as a classic like Bad Hair Day it still offers the intriguingly witty humor and general “poking-fun-at” we have come to know and love from Weird Al and we couldn’t ask for anything else.