May 11th, 2012

Ranking Alapalooza

As most of you know, I attended a Christian college.  There were very strict rules in place about a lot of things, and breaking those rules would earn you demerits and/or trouble.  I lived at home during my college years, so I wasn’t bound by some of the dorm-specific rules, but I was still bound by most of them.  It’s basically the “if you want to attend/be a member here, you agree to live by these rules” kind of thing. No big deal. You don’t necessarily agree with all the rules, but you agree to live by them while you’re there.

I heard often from my friends that lived in the dorms about “music checks.” On random days, a music check would be announced and those living in the dorms had to leave their music cassettes and CDs  out on their beds when they left their rooms for the day so that dorm supervisors could make sure everything they had was on the approved list.  (I know this sounds barbaric and whatever, but that’s not the point here, so bear with me.) Basically you could have certain types of Christian music (no Stryper, thanks!) and classical and some soundtracks (which were limited by rating of the movie and some other factors).  College kids being college kids, of course, there were plenty of stories of people hiding music here and there, not putting it out on music check days, that kind of thing.

I don’t remember what year it was, or even if this particular album was included, but I loaned some of my Weird Al CDs to my friend Rhonda.  She had a similar sense of humor to mine, and I knew she would enjoy them. Weird Al certainly wouldn’t pass check because he parodies mostly pop music, and uses the pop music while doing so.  I said when I gave them to her, “Don’t get them taken away!” with a laugh.  It was a few days later when she informed me that she had gotten in trouble for having them and they were taken away. Not only that, but my name had been mentioned, so I was probably going to get hauled in now, too.  Sure enough, the Dean summoned me to his office.  I don’t remember his exact words, but it was along the lines of, “I understand why a person such as yourself would have these, just… don’t loan them to anyone on campus again, okay?”  and he handed them back – probably the only time in his history that he did that.

TWIST: A couple of years later, I worked at the college as the Director of Student Activities… and that same dean was my immediate supervisor.

And now, the album. Alapalooza was released in October of 1993.

11. Talk Soup – Song about daytime talk shows.  I’m not a huge fan of daytime talk shows, and I’m not a huge fan of this song.

10. Achy Breaky Song – A direct spoof of the song “Achy Breaky Heart,” about how Al would rather listen to pretty much anything other than that song. I like this song, but I can’t listen to it, for one reason: one of the things Al says he’d rather hear is “fingernails on a chalkboard,” and the mental image is something I can’t deal with.

9. Traffic Jam – Any time I listen to this song I get kind of anxious, the same way I feel when driving through Chicago.

8. Waffle King – I love the idea that someone would “run this whole town” because he’s got a great waffle recipe. Brilliant.

7. Frank’s 2000″ TV – Al’s poke at consumerism, but still using his love of TV.  “I can watch The Simspons from 30 blocks away!” sounds both indicting and exultant.  Plus, the song is super catchy.

6. Young, Dumb & Ugly – Apparently this is a style spoof of AC/DC. I had no idea. The song is about punk kids who do all manner of rebellious things, like keeping their library books til they’re way overdue. I love stuff like this that sounds tough but isn’t. (Note: the “MadMup” moniker reflects my love of just that sort of thing. Nobody’ afraid of an angry pile of felt.)

5. Bohemian Polka – My appreciation for this song has grown in direct proportion to my appreciation for the original. Instead of doing a polka medley on this album, Al made a polka version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it’s pretty much brilliant.  Wayne’s World had come out the year before and the Queen song was experiencing a renewed heyday.

4. Harvey the Wonder Hamster – This song is only 21 seconds long, but it never fails to make me feel happy. Harvey the Wonder Hamster was a character that showed up on Al’s MTV specials originally, and then was a regular on his Saturday morning show, where this song got used as Harvey’s entrance/theme song.

3. Jurassic Park – Another movie-in-song-form that is just wonderful. It features some most excellent screaming in the middle, and also the line “I admit it’s kind of eerie, but this proves my chaos theory,” a line you wouldn’t hear anywhere else, I don’t think.

2. Bedrock Anthem – A spoof of two Red Hot Chili Peppers songs mashed together about TV’s favorite prehistoric group. More yabba-dabba-doos than you can shake a stick at, and a super-fun song to sing along with.

1. Livin’ in the Fridge –  I couldn’t even tell you why I like this song so much. It’s about food that’s been left too long in the fridge and has spoiled, a topic I would generally find repulsive. However, the Aerosmith song it’s based on has a grand, epic feel to it, and it lends this parody more weight. It also features a wonderful mid-song scream that I always want to emulate when singing along, but am always a little afraid to try.

In case you’re wondering: Rhonda finished out the rest of her schooling without further incidents and went on to marry a nice man with whom she’s had a couple of kids. She still appreciates good humor and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she lets/makes her kids listen to some Weird Al here and there.

5 Comments on “Ranking Alapalooza”

  1. Brian Arnold says:

    Jurassic Park is a parody of MacArthur Park by Richard Harris – seems a worthy detail to put in there. ;)

    Frank’s 2000″ TV was his second song at the concert I went to. Was kinda surprised to hear it, but glad, because I remember having this CD and playing it a ton. I’m sure I still have it somewhere in a box, but I don’t know where said box is, nor do I have a direct rip of its contents.

  2. Rhonda Towne Archibald says:

    So glad you tagged me-I have not heard the Bohemian Polka! We are ordering it right now!! I graduated in the spring of ’93, so it must have been another album. But Leah was only there my last year, so definitely the ’92-’93 school year. I have heard Livin’ in the Fridge:)

  3. […] about the Jerry Springer show. I feel like we already had this song, in “Talk Soup” on Alapalooza, and it wasn’t my favorite […]

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