The Genius of Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic wins a Nobel PrizeI wish there were a Nobel Prize in Music. I would nominate Weird Al Yankovic. He is without a doubt one of the greatest musicians of our time. Since the 1970s, he has been parodying hit artists with a lyrical genius that no one else can match. As a comedy artist, Weird Al often gets overlooked. But in terms of record sales and staying power, he’s up there with Michael Jackson, The Beatles and Madonna.

Growing Up with Weird Al

Weird Al had a big influence on my own musical upbringing. I remember hearing his “Even Worse” album as a kid. I loved the song “La Bamba” at the time, so I fell in love with his parody, “Lasagna”. Though it’s no longer my favorite song of his, it opened the door to my own Weird Al Yankovic fandom. Soon I was watching UHF on repeat. Then, when Weird Al parodied Nirvana with his song “Smells Like Nirvana”, I learned about 90s Grunge. Soon I was listening to the original songs, and a whole world of music appreciation opened up to me. By the late 1990s, Weird Al was parodying the hit songs that I already knew, but I still appreciated his work nonetheless.

Listening to Weird Al Nowadays

As I’ve gotten older, my music tastes have become somewhat set in stone. Now when I hear a new Weird Al parody, I often have to go track down the original song just to understand the parody. For example, I had never heard of Iggy Azalea until I heard Al’s new song, “Handy”. On the other hand, I had heard way too much of Lorde, who gets a lot of play on the alternative stations even though she’s more of a pop star. Just the other night, I heard Lorde’s “Royals” playing for the umpteenth million time. But instead of being annoyed, I was amused. All I could hear Weird Al’s bizarre parody lyrics about sandwich wraps at Illuminati conspiracies. That to me is the real magic behind Weird Al. He makes crappy songs good and good songs even better.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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2 Responses

  1. May 16, 2015

    […] wooden shacks. They were very hot, and I couldn’t sleep. So I stayed up drinking and singing Weird Al songs until my friends were thoroughly […]

  2. February 12, 2017

    […] “Weird Al” Yankovic is a national treasure. For over 30 years, he’s made humorous parodies of pop hits. From Michael Jackson to Nirvana to Lady Gaga, Weird Al’s career has changed with the times. But while he’s had an enduring music career, Weird Al also made a movie. His 1989 film, “UHF”, followed a man who inherited a struggling TV station, bringing it to profitability with such hits as “Bowling for Burgers”, “Conan the Librarian”, “Underwater Bingo for Teens” and “The Volcano Worshippers’ Hour”. It was bizarre stuff back in ’89, but modern entertainment seems to have caught up, featuring more low-budget unscripted TV shows. For better or worse, I see a Weird Al influence on modern TV, enough that I can argue that “Weird Al” Yankovic invented reality TV. […]

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