Whether you appreciate Weird Al’s spin on your favorite songs or not, you have to admit the man’s got talent. Not only is he a clever comedian writer, but his knack for sounding like the artists he’s imitating is unparalleled. Although it’s impossible to just pick only ten songs as most endearing, I have narrowed the list down to the most memorable top ten songs by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.
10.Smells Like Nirvana
Coming in at number ten is his Kurt Cobain parody of “Smells like Teen Spirit.” Cobain’s classic unintelligible lyrics to this song made it an easy target for Weird Al’s lyrical twist of “now I’m mumbling /and I’m screaming/ and I don’t know what I’m singing.”
9.When I was your age
Isn’t it always ridiculous what our grandparents come up with to tell us of the “hard life” lived before our modern conveniences? Well, this is Weird Al’s version of how it used to be. My favorite verse is the highly exaggerated, “there were seventy three of us living in a cardboard box/ all I got for Christmas was a lousy bag of rocks/ every night for dinner we had a big ol’ chunk of dirt/ if we were really good we didn’t get dessert/ when I was your age.” Only caution: Better use the bathroom before listening to this one.
With “Slim Shady’s” supposed reign on making fun of other singers in his songs, it is no surprise that Al Yankovic decided to turn the tables on this “Lose Yourself” remake. Not so subtly you get the sense that Eminem’s world revolves around TV. But more than the hilarity of the lyrics is the fact that Weird Al can rap so convincingly like Eminem and rhyme with even more flair. The chorus blares: “You’re gonna lose your mind watchin’ TV they told me, they’d scold me/ but I’d still tune in every show (show)/ My cable gets C-SPAN, TV-Land, and HBO; The Travel Channel, Discovery, and Lifetime (yo)/ (You’re gonna).” You’ll be amazed at the white rapper talent on this one.
7. A Complicated Song
I think it’s pretty obvious when Weird Al is merely parodying a song because he likes it or because he loathed the singer and their over-played music enough to make a new statement. One listen to “A Complicated Song” (gee I wonder what song he might be making fun of) and you’ll see what I mean. In keeping with his witty style, Weird Al gives each chorus a new set of distresses. The first verse explains how miserable it is to be “so constipated,” while the second chorus bewails a near incestuous union to his cousin with “how was I supposed to know we were both related?” And as if this were not enough to get you rolling, the song goes from lewd to obscure with the final chorus declaring, “Why’d I have to go and get myself all mutilated?…Life without a head kind of gets me irritated.” Obviously he didn’t respect Avril enough to give her new version a cohesive plot. You can’t miss this one.
6.Since you’ve been gone
This song is vintage Al. He is the master of “hate” songs in the guise of love songs. The lyrics go through a myriad of unpleasant, physically excruciating things (e.g. “I’m feeling like I stuck my hand inside a blender and turned it on/ I’ve been in a butt load of pain since you’ve been gone”) that are likened to his emotional state since his ‘love’ has left him. The punch line doesn’t come until the very last line of the song where he announces, “I feel almost as bad as I did when you were still here.” Nothing like mocking traditional love songs in captivating a cappella.
5. Trash Day
Nelly’s summer hit is turned into garbage…or rather is revived into something worth listening to with this Al-worthy tune. With a vibrating “So Rotten Here!/ you better hold your nose” and amusing lines like “it’s so messy can’t find my toenail clippers/ it’s so bad the roach’s wearing slippers” this is a masterpiece. The real guffaw is in the gentle, sultry female voice answering him with “Hey you disgusting slob/ you better take the trash out.”
4.The Saga Begins
This song isn’t necessarily funny, but Al’s retelling of the first Star Wars episode to the legendary tune of “American Pie” is adept. How can you not sing along with “My, my this here Anakin guy/ maybe Vader one day later/ now he’s just a small fry”?
If this song doesn’t show his vocal agility, I don’t know what does. He not only can imitate white rappers, grunge rockers, and do a ‘tender’ “hate/love” song voice, but he is stunning as a one-man boy band. His vocal agility shines in “Ebay” as he sings the harmonies of all the Backstreet boys. Instead of “I want it that way” he sings “I bought it on ebay,” but that is the only difference separating the songs. I love the exuberance of his “I’m highest bidder!” exclamation in the middle. The other noteworthy part is at the very end…his fade out sound keeps going for a minute after the song is over. What talent!
The cellulite version of Michael’s “I’m Bad,” Weird Al’s performance in this video was his most memorable. He’s in a massive ‘fat’ suit as he exploits his lyrical talent with some Jackson zest. The image of Weird Al just “rolling around” in a very convincing obese ensemble and pronouncing that his shadow weighs 42 lbs is absurdity at its finest.
And heading the list is the ‘religious’ side of “Gangsta’s Paradise.” I’d be the first one to admit how sacrilegious this would be to a genuine Amish person, but as they will never hear this song it seems irrelevant. Besides the song is so ludicrous that no one could possibly mistaken it for a true reflection of this oft-misunderstood sect; I mean who would believe they sold quilts at discount prices? But with a line like “I’m the pioust guy the little Amletts want to be like,” how could this not be number one?