“Weird Al” Yankovic drops by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight in support of his new album Alpocalypse, but not just as the musical guest. No, the entire episode, he’ll be sitting in with the Roots! From the sound of it, the parody-hop dream team have been having some fun preparing. During soundcheck, they jammed on an instrumental cover of, appropriately enough, Madvillain’s “Accordion” and it’s worth a listen.
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.
So far, 2011 has been a pretty good year for “Weird Al” Yankovic. After a heavily publicized semi-battle with Lady Gaga, Alpocalypse, his first record in five years, will see release next week. Right now, though, die-hard Al-oholics can enjoy another new album thanks to music site Bandcamp – a tribute to the Monster of Mock known as Twenty-Six and a Half.
As much as Yankovic’s known for his parodies, the tracks on Twenty-Six and a Half mostly forego the reworked pop songs. Only three parody tributes pop up here – a forgettable, chill “Can’t Watch This” from MC Lars, a relatively straight cover of rarity “Pac-Man” (The Beatles’ “Tax Man”) from Nuclear Bubble Wrap, and a revelatory electronic version of “I Lost on Jeopardy” via nerd-lebrity mc chris. The latter makes me think that some intrepid cover artists out there should reverse-engineer chris’ track to get a really cool cover of Greg Kihn’s original number (“Jeopardy”), but I digress.
Al-oholics rejoice: another tribute album to “Weird Al” Yankovic is on the horizon. We showed you the hit-and-miss Prosthetic Lips tribute back in February, but next month’s Twenty-Six and a Half promises to be even better.
Our first listen indicates we’re in for a treat. It’s Baltimore musician/comedian Insane Ian digging up “Eat It” b-side “That Boy Could Dance.” Weird Al released the original (and it is an original, not a parody) in 1984, so it could use a sonic revamp. Ian was happy to oblige…with a twist.
Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
This blog has talked before about the somewhat mind-bending nature of covering “Weird Al” Yankovic, the world’s most renowned parody artist. Yet in 1996 a newsgroup (remember those?) devoted to Weird Al fandom made an album of people doing that very thing. The result, Prosthetic Lips, was released first on cassette, then CD, and distributed only to fans via the newsgroup. Though the physical album has sold out, one of the compilation’s featured bands has posted almost the whole thing on their website for free download. Thanks, Zelda and the Unibrows!
Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.
One year and three days ago, Cover Me posted one of our most popular posts up to that time. We rounded up fifteen of our favorite “Weird Al” covers. After Al tweeted a link to his 1,500,000 followers, well, let’s just say Blogspot was less than thrilled with the strain on their servers. In that post, we included Throwing Toasters’ cover of “Good Enough for Now.” They did the Polka Party! should-be-a-classic solo acoustic, with a touch of country twang. Well, in honor of Al’s birthday tomorrow, we’ve got another version of the tune to share. On his new Share the Covers, Bitch (Part Two), Marc with a C opens with “Good Enough.” What starts as another simple acoustic ditty slowly expands with harmonies, shaker, and mandolin.
Incidentally, it’s patently unfair that “Good Enough for Now” is clearly a comedy record, but people play Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”—which has the exact same message—at their weddings. How is a song about lowered expectations romantic? Better than playing “Every Breath You Take” I suppose, but still.