Ranking Bad Hair Day
This album was released on March 12, 1996. If I’m remembering correctly, this was the year I was working full-time at Walmart, in the electronics department. If so, this would be the first Weird Al album I bought on the day of its release. I don’t think I’ve missed a day of release since.
Normally I’d put this next to the song it’s about, but this is kind of a big deal and I want to highlight it. The song “Amish Paradise” on this album is a spoof of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” a song featured on the soundtrack of Dangerous Minds. Al, as is his wont, sought permission from the artist before doing it, and was told by his record label that permission had been granted – Al even spoofed Coolio’s hair on the cover of this album. At the Grammys, Coolio said he had never given permission and was mad that Al had used his song. Al wrote a letter of apology to Coolio but never heard back from him. It was a bigger flap than it sounds like here, but it ends up okay. At the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, Coolio came over to Al and they made up. The funniest part to me is… when’s the last time you thought or heard about Coolio? I wonder just how many acts Al has parodied that he has outlasted, career-wise. I’m guessing a lot.
12. Cavity Search – A song about dentists, parodying a U2 song. This song has two strikes against it for me: I’m not a huge fan of dentists and I’m not a huge fan of the original song.
11. I’m So Sick of You – Another relationship song, but this one seems more mean-spirited than usual.
10. I Remember Larry – He reminisces about an old friend that used to play practical jokes on everyone all the time. Like, all the time. Enough so that in the end he and his friends take Larry out to the woods and leave him in a shallow grave. This song would fit in the “dark humor” category, by the way. And while I certainly don’t condone kidnapping and murder, I also think that people who play practical jokes deserve some sort of special punishment, so… yeah.
9. Everything You Know Is Wrong – This song is a puzzle. On the one hand, it’s sort of a typical “nonsense” song, stringing together Golden Grahams, wolverines, Jamie Farr, aliens, and papercuts. On the other hand, the chorus has a philosophy to it that’s easy to miss in the ridiculousness of the verses:
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn’t matter
Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
There are two things there – the idea that the stuff we think is important isn’t, and the follow-up that we should take things as they come (“forget the words and sing along”). Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but that’s a little deeper than I’m expecting out of a Weird Al song.
8. Phony Calls – A song about prank phone calls, with a special guest appearances by one of Bart Simpson’s many prank calls to Moe. The song is a parody of TLC’s “Waterfalls.”
7. Syndicated Inc. – A spoof of “Misery” by Soul Asylum, one of many songs I’ve come to enjoy after hearing Al’s version first. This is another TV song.
6. The Alternative Polka – Songs by Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Green Day, and a few others.
5. Callin’ in Sick – I haven’t been tallying them, but Weird Al has many songs that have the number 27 in them. In this song about calling in sick to work in order to have a day off, Al says he “hits the snooze alarm for the 27th time.” I’ll let you figure out why I like this song.
4. The Night Santa Went Crazy- Another dark Christmas song. Santa snaps and goes on a killing spree at the North Pole. My favorite line is probably “He took a flamethrower and barbecued Vixen / And took a big bite and said, ‘It tastes just like chicken’.”
3. Gump – Movie in song form! Love these. This one takes “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America and turns it into a much better song, telling the story of “Forrest Gump.”
2. Amish Paradise – I love this song, one of Al’s most famous ones, except for one line. You’ll probably roll your eyes at me, but if you know me, I also think you’ll understand. The song is about Amish life (“raise a barn on Monday, soon I’ll raise [another]”), and at one point, the main character goes into town and a local boy kicks him in the butt. The main character says “I just smiled at him and I turned the other cheek” (ha ha) “I really don’t mind, in fact, I wish him well / I’ll be laughing my head off when he’s burning in hell.” Here’s my problem: no one who truly believes in a literal hell would ever laugh at the idea of someone having to spend eternity there. If you find a Christian/Amish/Whatever that would laugh at that, you’ve met a Christian/Amish/Whatever that has a completely wrong outlook on a lot of things.
Sorry. A little more serious than this write-ups tend to be, but that’s always bugged me about that song, enough that I don’t sing that line when I sing along to the song.
1. Since You’ve Been Gone – Another relationship song in a doo-wop style that is just fantastic. He talks about just how awful he’s feeling since his girl left him – horrible, horrible stuff. And at the end, he says he feels “almost as bad as I did when you were still here.” Ya burnt!
Only four albums left!