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Social craze: The return of Weird Al Yankovic

Written by elliegrounds

Having watched links to serial parody-maker “Weird Al” Yankovic’s #8videos8days, a viral video marketing campaign for his new album Mandatory Fun, overpopulate my Faceboo

Having watched links to serial parody-maker “Weird Al” Yankovic’s #8videos8days, a viral video marketing campaign for his new album Mandatory Fun, overpopulate my Facebook and Twitter feeds over the past week, I was determined not to get sucked in.

But as my list of things I actually needed to get done grew and my strength against the power of the Internet inevitably weakened (as it always does), I succumbed to the power of (as his Twitter page says) “you know… the Eat It guy,” and clicked.

Sucked into the craze

The first video I stumbled across was Handy, and boy do I wish it hadn’t been. This jack-of-all-trades-inspired tale of a local hero and handyman set to the tune of Iggy Azaelea’s Fancy certainly ain’t your best work, Al. The visual editing is reminiscent of something I would have done on Microsoft Paint as a 12-year-old. Was this done on purpose? Who’s to say.

At one point “Weird Al” appears to be doing his handyman thing in front of the famous Sunset Boulevard palm trees, but not the actual Sunset Boulevard palm trees – something more akin to one of those dodgy Mac Photo Booth backgrounds. You know, like the one that makes you look like you’re on a roller coaster. The awful autotuned chorus and epileptic fit-inducing visuals aside…

Nope, I’ve got nothing. Nothing is going to save this song.

Falling back in love

My feelings towards “Weird Al” at this point probably would’ve been dramatically different if I had actually watched the first video, well, first. Tacky, his loving satire of the infectious and possibly most overplayed song of all time – Pharrell Williams’ Happy – is everything good I remember about Yankovic’s previous work and more.

Moving on from the fact the song’s title is one of my favourite insults of all time, this video does everything right: hilarious cultural references, gloriously awkward interpretations of the Happy dance and cameos by fabulous celebrity friends, including Jack Black, Eric Stonestreet and Kristen Schaal. Any song that manages to slam Comic Sans, Kanye West and personalised license plates in three minutes is sure to be a hit.

Bye bye, Thicke

Word Crimes, a pleasantly educational take on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, is a big up-yours to whoever said learning can’t be fun. News flash: it can! Parents are urged to cancel their child’s English tutoring and just play them this video. In under four minutes they’ll have a better grasp of syntax, grammar and punctuation than any school education could ever provide them with, as long as they’re young enough to not pick up on the very obvious sexual innuendos. “Weird Al” Yankovic has a big dictionary. He really, really does.

Best for last

Foil (based on Lorde’s Royals) is a call-to-action to always choose aluminium foil over cling wrap that somehow segues into a verse about the Illuminati and the conspiracy theory behind the moon landing. First World Problems isn’t much in the musical department, but reminds us that our barista not putting a design in the foam of our vanilla latte probably isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Sports Song is a marching-band anthem of “Weird Al” trash-talking enemy sports teams, complete with the eloquent chorus, “We’re great and you suck.”

Mission Statement is a Crosby, Stills & Nash inspired song about all the ridiculous gobbledegook you’ve always heard thrown around the office and never understood. Let’s face it: anyone who thinks they know what “holistically administrate exceptional synergy” means is lying, and “Weird Al” is calling them out.

Finally, saving the best until last, Lame Claim To Fame features an overalls-wearing, cowbell-banging Yankovic belting out his mediocre connections to celebrities. The video is a stop-motion animation of his scrapbook of lame claims to fame, including the fact that Paul Giamatti’s plumber knows him by name. Now that’s impressive.

And the result of all this? A number one album on iTunes. You go, “Weird Al.”

What do you think of Weird Al Yankovic? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Peter Taylor / Flickr