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Polka Power Digitized for Your Protection
October 3, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Something to make the inner geek that is inside your inner geek do the boogie-woogie: "Weird Al" Yankovic announces that thanks to digital distribution, he will begin releasing songs as he records them, while the parodied song is still fresh in the public's mind, instead of waiting for an album release every three to four years. The first one will come out on October 7. iTunes will have first dibs on the new singles for the first 14 days, after which they'll go to other online music retailers. (via /.)
posted by WCityMike (73 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Too bad there aren't any popular songs left that are even good enough to parody. DON'T DO "I Kissed a Girl", AL, PLEASE!
posted by wendell at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2008


Weird Al, I'll always love you. Even though I made the mistake of letting a friend buy Poodle Hat and then the futher error of copying it, I know you're better than that.

I'm not saying I'll buy the single. But I might preview it.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2008


I have to admit, "You're Pitiful" cracked me up. Plus, don't forget Al also does stylistic stuff where it's a parody of a genre but not necessarily a particular song (i.e. "Generic Blues", etc.).
posted by WCityMike at 12:19 PM on October 3, 2008


"I Kissed a Girl"

Guaranteed: he will replace "kissed" with "missed" and write a song about missing his favorite TV show because the Tivo failed.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2008


wendell: "Too bad there aren't any popular songs left that are even good enough to parody. DON'T DO "I Kissed a Girl", AL, PLEASE!"

To me, the Jill Sobule song plays in my head every time I hear that song title.

posted by WCityMike at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2008


stylistic stuff where it's a parody of a genre but not necessarily a particular song

Pastiche.

What happened to "Don't download this song," huh?!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2008


A queercore band playing "I Kissed a Girl" might be interesting.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2008


Luncheon at The Brick
(What)
Luncheon at The Brick
(What)
With Maggie, Ed and Chris
Yeah, Maggie, Ed and Chris
(Bow)
Luncheon at The Briiiiick
Luncheon at The Briiiiick
With Ruth-Anne, Maurice an' Chris
I'm havin' luncheon at The Brick
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:38 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does this mean I have to start listening to the radio so I'll understand what Weird Al is parodying?

It's like high school all over again.
posted by designbot at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ambrosia Voyeur: "Pastiche."

AGH! THANK YOU! That was gonna drive me nuts.
posted by WCityMike at 12:46 PM on October 3, 2008


This is the best news I've heard in a long while.
posted by Lokisbane at 12:46 PM on October 3, 2008


Prediction: the song is about the $700B Wall Street bailout.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2008


Even though I made the mistake of letting a friend buy Poodle Hat and then the futher error of copying it, I know you're better than that.

I'm hopin you saw no error in actually listening to Poodle Hat, because "Genius In France" is probably the greatest song Weird Al has ever recorded.
posted by Spatch at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2008


I'll give Weird Al this: if you had told me in 1983, as I sat in front of the television eagerly awaiting his performance of "Eat It" on Solid Gold, that people would still be listening to his music and talking about him in any way (aside from wondering what happened to that one-hit-wonder) a full twenty-five years later...I would have bet you a large sum of money that were you wrong. And I would have lost.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Genius In France" is probably the greatest song Weird Al has ever recorded.

Ah, I'd forgotten about that. It is a good'un.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2008


stylistic stuff where it's a parody of a genre but not necessarily a particular song

Pastiche.


I have here a nut made from a cashew, a walnut, a pine nut and an almond.

a Pastichio.
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is the talent of Weird Al that I now hear old top-of-the-pops songs in muzak, and my mind superimposes his lyrics over the real ones.
posted by Phalene at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2008


Weird Al is more talented than most people realize, but the process of coming up with 16 or so songs good enough for a CD has to do something to eliminate the weaker ones. I guess we'll see how this works for him, won't we?
posted by tommasz at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2008


I've never really found Weird Al that funny; a little too Grade-9 obvious, starting with his name. And as he didn't come around until I was well out of Grade 9, there's no nostalgia factor, just a bunch of mostly obvious parodies which at best would function well in an audio version of Mad Magazine (which I stopped reading "seriously" around the end of Grade 7).

That said, I've only really heard the hits, so please do direct me to album cut masterpieces if you feel a need to change my mind.
posted by philip-random at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2008


It is the talent of Weird Al that I now hear old top-of-the-pops songs in muzak, and my mind superimposes his lyrics over the real ones.

Yeah but get a little drunk, go dancing and try to sing along to the club's blaring "I Love Rock'n'Roll" and see how awesome you look then...

COME AND HAVE A TRIPLE SCOOP WITH ME

what
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:14 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Y'all know you would buy "I Kissed a Squirrel" in a heartbeat.
posted by smackfu at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


philip-random: "That said, I've only really heard the hits, so please do direct me to album cut masterpieces if you feel a need to change my mind."

On Running with Scissors, "Albuquerque." Stream-of-consciousness and just ... glorious in its utter what-the-fuck-edness.
posted by WCityMike at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2008


Philip-random,


Dare To Be Stupid

It's the Devoist Devo thing that ever devo'ed a Devo while also being an original (not parody) song.
posted by The Whelk at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Y'all know you would buy "I Kissed a Squirrel" in a heartbeat.

I can already hear it in his voice. No, really. It's a problem. Thanks for that.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:19 PM on October 3, 2008


Only transsexual nazi eskimos think Weird Al is relevant anymore.
posted by carsonb at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2008


Would it be terminally uncool to point out that Weird Al's rap parodies always have mad flow?
posted by rusty at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, don't forget "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," at least partially for the shout-out to diet chocolate soda.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2008


Ah, Weird Al. Our seven year old loves, loves, loves "And the Saga Begins," his Star Wars-meets-American Pie anthem. And it's hard not to laugh at "White and Nerdy," which is both clever and funny. But maybe a quick to market strategy isn't in his best interest as an artist.
posted by mosk at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2008


okay, philip-random, I'll bite. I like him best when he's absurd, dark, or showing his own fandom for groups I, too, love. Some of his best songs, imo:

You Make Me (Oingo Boingo)
Everything You Know Is Wrong (TMBG)
Genius In France (Frank Zappa)
Livin' in the Fridge (Livin' on the Edge)
Albuquerque
Christmas at Ground Zero
Good Old Days
I Think I'm A Clone Now (I Think We're Alone Now)
Lasagne (La Bamba)
Rye or the Kaiser (Eye of the Tiger)
Pretty Fly for a Rabbi (Pretty Fly For a White Guy)
Smells Like Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit)
This Song is Just Six Words Long (I've Got My Mind Set On You)

...and maybe his greatest contribution to my life, Bob, which helps me remember a whole list of palindromes!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:28 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


A mere three days ago, the wife and I were visiting the Japanese garden in Ft. Worth, singing "I kissed a koi, and I liked it".

Pity she doesn't normally go for the parodies.

The taste of its slimy fish-lips.
posted by owtytrof at 1:28 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Weird Al misfires as often as anyone, usually when I think he's just entertaining himself... but the man really is brilliant. He usually impresses me most when he's doing two things at once, at least one of them a pitch-perfect parody, whether it's hitting all the details of two different epics or doing something so difficult, lyrically, that it still blows my mind every time I watch it.

Which I just watched again... that's Rubik's cube blindfolded songwriting right there.
posted by rokusan at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2008


Damn you, Ambrosia Voyeur, and your infernal typing while I am typing. Please learn to coordinate! :)

Me, I'll learn to preview.
posted by rokusan at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2008


Oh. "Bob." How did I forget? I'm sorry, Poodle Hat, for all the mean, untrue things I said about you. Forgive me, baby, please.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:32 PM on October 3, 2008


Thanks for all the tips. If nothing else, they somehow lead me to this shocking revelation shocking revelation. I now know where Death Cab For Cutie got their name.
posted by philip-random at 1:37 PM on October 3, 2008


Weird Al's original songs are definitely underappreciated. I get "Hardware Store" stuck in my head whenever I g to Home Depot, and I get the theme to "Fun Zone" stuck in my head during every other minute of my life.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:55 PM on October 3, 2008


I love Weird Al, but what's strange is that it's not really his parodies that do it for me anymore. I mean, there isn't anything wrong with them, but lately I'm finding that his real genius is in doing an homage to a style rather than a specific work. Bob is a good example: done in the style of Dylan and made up completely of palindromes.

You listen to this stuff and you have to admire the craft that goes into it, it's not just done for the funny, it done to prove that you can take all these dissimilar things, combine them in a pleasing way, that in and of itself has artistic merit, that just also happens to be really fucking hilarious.
posted by quin at 1:56 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


okay, top marks for Bob. But would I have noticed they were all palindromes if it hadn't been pointed out? Would it matter?
posted by philip-random at 2:04 PM on October 3, 2008


I think a great many people recognize the final palindrome "go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog," and so might "get" that the song is all palindromes at the very end, which is probably intentional. I myself didn't get that the title was hinting at the gimmick until at least five listens, and didn't see the video for another couple years.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2008


I love Weird Al, but what's strange is that it's not really his parodies that do it for me anymore. I mean, there isn't anything wrong with them, but lately I'm finding that his real genius is in doing an homage to a style rather than a specific work. Bob is a good example: done in the style of Dylan and made up completely of palindromes.

You listen to this stuff and you have to admire the craft that goes into it, it's not just done for the funny, it done to prove that you can take all these dissimilar things, combine them in a pleasing way, that in and of itself has artistic merit, that just also happens to be really fucking hilarious


Yep. What has always amazed me about Weird Al - and his musicians also get a ton of credit for this - is that every musical genre he takes on, he nails it. You just don't see artists that can so easily jump from rap, to heavy metal, to country, to bubblegum pop music, and throw in some polka here and there. And all excellently executed. (The polka medley on each album is worth the price of the whole thing right there, at least to me.)
posted by azpenguin at 3:05 PM on October 3, 2008


I agree with others about the original songs being sadly overlooked. One of my favorite parodies is Velvet Elvis, a Police-flavored medley about that tackiest of paintings.
posted by O9scar at 3:10 PM on October 3, 2008


Ah, Weird Al. I love him, but I'll never forgive him for "Alternative Polka," which has been stuck in my head for approximately two months.
posted by quatsch at 3:12 PM on October 3, 2008


I recently went to a Weird Al concert with a couple of friends. It was the closest to being at a Con that I've ever been at outside. I didn't know that geeks ever gathered under the day star.

Yeah, I'm white and nerdy, but the one that sticks in my head is his version of "What's Love Got to Do With It?" from one of the polka medlies.
posted by QIbHom at 3:47 PM on October 3, 2008


I'm goin' to the Hardware Store!

I've listened to it a hundred times, and I'm always blown away by what a perfect, perfect pastiche of They Might Be Giants's style "Everything You Know is Wrong" is. He manages to pack in dozens of different stylistic elements, lyrical and musical, from a bunch of different TMBG songs. (Of course there's the natural affinity of both acts playing the accordion. It's obviously an enormous mash note to TMBG. I'd love to know what the TMBG guys think of it.

"King of Suede" is a darn good pastiche of the Police, too.
posted by straight at 3:52 PM on October 3, 2008


It's the Devoist Devo thing that ever devo'ed a Devo while also being an original (not parody) song.

Either Mothersbaugh or Casale, maybe both, called it "the ultimate Devo song" and were sort of jovially pissed they hadn't written it. If I were making a Devo compilation for someone, I'd put it on.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:11 PM on October 3, 2008


Also, Al was a pretty early Devo fan, and included Jocko Homo in his very first polka medley.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:17 PM on October 3, 2008


I've had the pleasure of meeting Weird Al a number of times, and I have to say that he's seemed to me to be a genuinely nice human being. Which is more than I can say for a lot of people who've had careers in show biz as long as his. Good for him!
posted by MythMaker at 4:28 PM on October 3, 2008


straight, Everything You Know Is Wrong is SUPER dear to me, as a deeply geeked TMBG fan, and you will know what I mean when I say that what gets me grinning and almost teary with fanlove every single time is the accordion just going "bomp bomp!" between verses.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:32 PM on October 3, 2008


omg i just said a weird al song was "dear" to me in public and i'm a 27 year old woman. end me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:34 PM on October 3, 2008


My first introduction to a lot of good music was through Polkas on 45. Now, 20-some years later, if I'm humming Jocko Homo, Should I Stay or Should I Go, or Smoke on the Water, I'm usually humming the Polkas on 45 versions. I only admit this anonymously on the internet.
posted by Drab_Parts at 5:19 PM on October 3, 2008


It could be worse. I will forever have Weird Al's version of "I Touch Myself" (from "Polka Your Eyes Out") stuck in my mind.
posted by smackfu at 5:51 PM on October 3, 2008


I kissed a girl

The only parody that makes sense, changing genre, meaning, and gender with ease.
posted by The Whelk at 5:55 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll give Weird Al this: if you had told me in 1983, as I sat in front of the television eagerly awaiting his performance of "Eat It" on Solid Gold, that people would still be listening to his music and talking about him in any way (aside from wondering what happened to that one-hit-wonder) a full twenty-five years later...I would have bet you a large sum of money that were you wrong. And I would have lost.

Nah. I've never been a serious fan, but I've come to respect him a great deal. His jokes are pretty predictable, and he's totally a dork, but he's a talented musician and works very hard, and he's had the same band since '82, a great group, btw. He's also the only one who's done what he's done for this long. Everyone who's ever seen MTV knows who he is, and most other people recognize him. Also, he's not pretentious and seems to be in it for the love of playing music. He just figured out how to have fun with it and still get the endless gig. More power to him.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:57 PM on October 3, 2008


I owe Weird Al for introducing me to contemporary music, or what was contemporary music at the time (circa 1991-1993). I have no idea how I discovered him, but I did, and through him discovered Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Queen.

I agree that his style parodies are where he shines. Dare To Be Stupid is amazing, Close But No Cigar is a spitting image of a Cake song, and Mr. Popeil could pass for a B-52's song any day.

I also really love It's All About the Pentiums.

Also, on preview, what Drab_Parts said...
posted by gc at 6:01 PM on October 3, 2008


I hadn't realized until this thread that Everything You Know is Wrong was ripping off TMBG. Now that song makes a whole lot more sense and I'm questioning my TMBG fandom.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:08 PM on October 3, 2008


Never question TMBG fanboyism. They are a pure force of pleasure in the world. The fact that Weird Al did a perfect love-note-parody-mimic-homage does not diminish them. It makes them STRONGER.

okay the kids stuff is bordering on self-parody but "Oh No No I never go to work" is stripped down joy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 PM on October 3, 2008


TMBG show story, running into my High School English Teacher at the free concert in Central Park a month after I graduated. ...and then running into her kids at the TMBG show at the Beacon Theater.
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM on October 3, 2008


"Genius in France" must be a pretty accurate Zappa pastiche, because I can't make it through half of it--just like the real thing.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 7:43 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fluent in Javascript as well as Klingon
posted by nudar at 8:30 PM on October 3, 2008


Smart Dalek, I LOL'd.
posted by JHarris at 8:36 PM on October 3, 2008


TMBG derail: the kids stuff is awesome! My not quite 2 year old daughter loves to sing C is for Conifer. We spend a lot of time pointing out tree types while driving as a result. Well, that and I'm a bit of a tree nerd.

I remember a TMGB show in, hmm, 93 I think. It was part of a very weird tour/festival. X, Helmet, Belly, Best Kissers in the World (maybe Everclear?) and TMBG. I have no idea why TMBG was with those other bands, but it made for an odd crowd mix. They stopped in the middle of Birdhouse In Your Soul and lectured the audience because of Pogo mosh pit that they disapproved of.

And yes, Weird Al is cool.
posted by afflatus at 9:30 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate the way the current Weird Al looks. Bring back the glasses and stache dude.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:36 PM on October 3, 2008


I humble myself before the genius that is Weird Al, and I submit, for your consideration as proof of his supreme geeky genius, Pancreas. Who else but Al could out-Brian-Wilson Brian Wilson? And bonus- you learn about your pancreas.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:36 PM on October 3, 2008


Come on. Trapped in the Drivethru is fucking GENIUS.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:14 AM on October 4, 2008


Whelk: now I'm wondering how Stephin Merritt would do with that.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:27 AM on October 4, 2008


Can't forget Germs, possibly the best Nine Inch Nails song ever. Just, uh, ignore the video portion.
posted by whitelight at 1:34 AM on October 4, 2008


Never question TMBG fanboyism. They are a pure force of pleasure in the world. The fact that Weird Al did a perfect love-note-parody-mimic-homage does not diminish them. It makes them STRONGER.
I'd never question whether I ought to be devoted to TMBG. I was questioning whether I deserved to call myself a proper TMBG fan for not having recognized what I now realize is a very clever tribute to them. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 1:19 PM on October 4, 2008


"I Kissed a Girl" is probably the worst song I've heard in a long time. A song like that needs to either be highly emotional or highly sensual, and it fails hard at both.
posted by Target Practice at 2:42 AM on October 5, 2008


Or have a good beat.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on October 5, 2008


Wow, Weird Al poked fun at TMBG? Consider mind blown.

He's a clever guy, and smarter than he lets on: he skipped 2nd grade and was valedictorian in high school.
posted by spamguy at 7:08 AM on October 6, 2008


I imagine that Weird Al is a little like Mozart listening to Allegri's Miserere. He understands pop music so well that he has categories for all the different elements in a song and can recognize that a song uses this drum beat, that guitar sound, these harmonies, this sort of bridge into the chorus, that way of shaping the phrases when you sing. And then he can either reproduce them entirely in a parody song, or grab handfuls of them from a bunch of songs and mash them together into a style parody.

(Which is not to denigrate pop music any more than Mozart recognizing the pitches, intervals, and patterns in Allegri's piece denigrates classical music.)
posted by straight at 12:50 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's available on iTunes and YouTube... seems a bit lazy, although I suppose the source material is sort of garbage anyhow. The Hyundai/Sunday rhyme is cute, at least.

Plus, I'd like to point out that White Castle isn't cheap anymore. Fifty-nine cents for a slider? Are you kidding me?
posted by uncleozzy at 6:54 AM on October 8, 2008


(Although I just realized I've heard that rhyme before, which is maybe why I like it.)
posted by uncleozzy at 7:35 AM on October 8, 2008


"This song is just six words long" is seven words! Wtf?!
posted by Pronoiac at 2:36 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


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