10 great Weird Al songs that aren’t parodies
“Weird Al” Yankovic is best known for his parodies, but don’t sleep on his original songs, which may send up a particular style, but aren’t based on any one song.
My top 10 list goes like this:
10. “Gotta Boogie” (Weird Al Yankovic)
As Yankovic starts off repeating the title over and over, you think that’s the joke: a generic beat and the words “Gotta boogie,” ad nauseum. Then he completes the sentence: “Gotta boogie on my finger and I can’t shake it off.” Simple. Juvenile. Hilarious.
9. “Hardware Store” (Running with Scissors)
No one sings as passionately about the mundane as Yankovic. I’m the least handy person I know, but even I get excited about the hardware store opening he’s celebrating here.
8. “Everything You Know is Wrong” (Bad Hair Day)
Not the first, or even the most absurd, of Yankovic’s songs piling one ridiculous line or concept upon another, this one gets the edge because the chorus almost sounds like it could mean something.
7. “Jackson Park Express” (Mandatory Fun)
A lengthy epic about a missed connection, the extreme and extremely awkward declarations of love become even funnier when you realize they’re being communicated through simple gestures and expressions in what is almost certainly a one-sided conversation.
6. “Dare to Be Stupid” (Dare to Be Stupid)
Yankovic imparts the exact opposite of all the cliched advice we’ve ever heard (“It’s time to let your babies grow up to be cowboys, it’s time to let the bedbugs bite”) in an energetic Devo-style song, whose title does a decent job of summing up his M.O. And then he just throws in more stuff from the parking lot behind let field: “Mashed potatoes can be your friends.”
5. “One More Minute” (Dare to Be Stupid)
It wasn’t until I was 14 that I got the off-color joke in this song I’d been listening to since kindergarten. I mainly appreciated it (and still do) for the litany of things Yankovic would rather do than spend “one more minute” with the woman leaving him in this ’50s doo-wop send-up (“I’d rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station, with my tongue…”).
4. “Good Enough for Now” (Polka Party!)
Yankovic hedges his compliments in this sincere-sounding country love song until breaking into the chorus: “You’re sort of everything I ever wanted. You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow. You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of. Well, not really, but you’re good enough for now.”
3. “Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me” (Alpocalypse)
This song sums up every complaint you’ve ever had about email (“And Bill Gates is never gonna give me something for nothing, and I highly doubt some dead girl’s gonna kill me if I don’t pass your letter along”) in a tempo-changing, piano-laden number reminiscent of a Meatloaf power ballad.
2. “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” (UHF)
Among the mountains of information retained in my head that will almost surely never prove useful in life are the lyrics to this nearly seven-minute travelogue about a family on their way to the titular tourist trap.
1. “Don’t Download This Song” (Straight Outta Lynwood)
This song brilliantly points out the absurdity of extreme arguments against music piracy (“Cause you start out stealing songs, then you’re robbing liquor stores, and sellin’ crack, and running over school kids with your car”) in the style of a star-studded jam reminiscent of “We Are the World” (“Don’t take away money from artists just like me. How else can I afford another solid-gold Humvee?”).