“Weird Al” Yankovic first debuted his new “Polka Face” covers medley live last year, and now, 15 months later, we move from shaky concert footage to off-the-wall music video. Now, normally Al’s polkas get music videos for his concerts consisting of the original video clips synced to his medley (like this one), so this marks his polka-video debut.
No question, music-comedy pioneer “Weird Al” Yankovic is known for his parodies and, to a lesser extent, his original musical numbers. But he performs a third, perhaps underappreciated, category of song: the cover. Every album includes a “polka” medley which, though not labeled as such, fits the dictionary definition of a cover: same lyrics, different music. His latest, Alpocalypse, includes another instant classic: Polka Face.
Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
Last night’s Glee would fall into the category of “a very special episode,” except that the show often takes on issues typically relegated to after-school specials. Still, as the title promises, “Blame it on the Alcohol” features the glee club from McKinley High dealing with that particular temptation in exaggerated ways. Responding to increased incidents of public drunkenness from students, Principal Figgins assigns the club to perform an anti-drinking number during a school assembly. Meanwhile, Rachel’s parents leave town and, looking to “live a little,” she throws one of those wild teenage parties that usually only happens in TV shows (and where most of the actors are well past their teenage years).
Recently we’ve seen quite a few Roots posts (1, 2, 3). We’ve also seen some Jimmy Fallon. We haven’t yet posted the two together though (funny, given that they hang out five nights a week). Well now we can. They’ve even brought along Justin Timberlake, the best third wheel ever.
The trio (Timberlake, Fallon, Roots) takes us through a four-minute medley of rap hits from yesterday and today on last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It starts with the Sugarhill Gang and ends with Jay-Z (“Empire State of Mind”). In between they tackle Eminem, Tupac, Kanye, Soulja Boy – well, pretty much everyone. Even the Roots’ own “The Seed 2.0” gets the Timb-Fall treatment.
The parody is the cover’s evil twin. While a good cover keeps the lyrics and changes the music, a parody does the exact opposite. As such, much of what “Weird Al” Yankovic does falls outside this blog’s purview (though covers of Weird Al songs are always popular). His polkas, however, fall strictly in the cover camp. On every album he creates a medley of popular hits set to polka tunes. The lyrics stay intact, the music goes oompah-oompah. Sounds like a cover to me!
He has been opening the shows on his latest tour with a brand-new polka featuring Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Kid Cudi and more. It will presumably appear on his next album as a track titled “Polkaface.” The bummer flipside is that any song included in a polka is now off the table for parody, but you can count on another Lady Gaga song getting the Al treatment.