Thursday, July 24, 2014

Every "Weird Al" Yankovic Polka

Every polka except "Now That's What I Call Polka" (1984-2011)

"Now That's What I Call Polka" (2014)

Some of My Favourite "Weird Al" Yankovic Songs

In honour of "Weird Al" Yankovic's (possibly) last album, here are some of my favourite songs of his from the rest of his catalogue.

"One More Minute" from Dare to Be Stupid (1985)

Yankovic's juxtaposition of smooth 50s balladry with the persona of a psychotic spurned lover produced his first really great song. He made good use of the same kind of lyrical dissonance throughout his career - see ahead.

"Dog Eat Dog" from Polka Party (1986)

I can't honestly say this is actually one of my favourites, but I put it here because a) it's a style parody of Talking Heads that's better than most of what the band itself was putting out at the time and b) the absolutely hilarious bridge that brilliantly twists "Once in a Lifetime" to Yankovic's purpose.

"You Make Me" from Even Worse (1988)

There's no official video for this one, but the surreal visuals are best left to the imagination. "When I'm with you I don't know whether I should study neurosurgery or go and see the Care Bears movie". Enough said.

"Good Old Days" from Even Worse (1988)

Another one from the "violence is funny" pile.

"When I Was Your Age" from Off the Deep End (1992)

More horrific nostalgia, but this time from a victim's point of view.

"You Don't Love Me Anymore" from Off the Deep End (1992)

A better violent breakup song than "One More Minute".

"Harvey the Wonder Hamster" from Alapalooza (1993)

When I looked for a video, I was disappointed to find out that Harvey was real and the song dated back to Al TV in the 80s. I wanted Yankovic to have written a 24 second song about a hamster just because. But it's still a 24 second song about a hamster.

"Amish Paradise" from Bad Hair Day (1996)

Leave it to Weird Al to go to the trouble of writing a song that ridicules a culture that will never hear it.

"The Night Santa Went Crazy" from Bad Hair Day (1996)


"Albuquerque" from Running with Scissors (1999)

If you have to ask...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Faith No More - Be Aggressive (live)

Roddy Bottum wrote these lyrics about sucking cock just to see if Mike Patton would sing them (Bottum is gay, Patton is not).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bob Mould - Workbook 25

In late 1988, following the dissolution of Husker Du in one of the most acrimonious breakups of the decade, Bob Mould settled into a house in the country and went about making a clean break from the past. He decided the best way to do that was to turn the amps down closer to 1 than 11 and record an album more muted and contemplative than probably even he would have thought himself capable ofa few years earlier.

For Workbook, Mould relied heavily on the 12 string acoustic guitar he starting playing towards the end of Husker Du, replaced his Flying V with a Stratocaster and added strings to his arsenal. Where Husker Du filled its songs with blankets of distortion and rapid drum fills, Workbook is spacious and unhurried.

Of course, none of this is to say that Workbook is the work of a man at peace with himself. In fact, the album's duality lies in the fact that Mould had anger and resentment to spare. There are times when those emotions take centre stage. "Lonely Afternoon" is as indignant as it is introspective, propelled by multi-tracked vocals that complement the notion of a man at war with himself. Mould was Kurt Cobain's first choice to produce Nevermind, and Cobain had clearly taken cues from Mould's self-directed anger. "Poison Years", a merciless attack on Grant Hart, throws subtlety out the window; "treason is the reason for my poison years". For the most part, though, the album benefits from restraint and balance. When the intentionally jarring rocker "Whichever the Wind Blows" comes along to close the album, it feels as though Mould has earned the right to cut loose.

Workbook 25 celebrates the you-know-what anniversary of the album by giving it decent remaster and a bonus track ("All Those People Know") and pairing it with a recording of a concert from May 1989, a month after the album's original release. The set includes every song from Workbook as well as "All Those People Know", and a cover of Richard Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" and closes with solo acoustic versions of Husker Du's "Hardly Getting Over It", "Celebrated Summer" and "Makes No Sense At All". The stark, vulnerable rendition of "Hardly Getting Over It" is the highlight for me. The reissue also comes with extended liner notes, including contemporary reviews and an essay by Michael Azzerad to which this review owes credit for some of the details of the album's back story.

Sex, War & Robots