Here’s my song-by-song review of the new Weird Al Yankovic album, “Poodle Hat,” his first album in four years.
1. Couch Potato – Parody of “Lose Yourself” by that nice young man Eminem. I can only imagine that the original is foul (if Oscar-winning), so I’d also have to guess that this TV-themed version is much better. It’s theme explored often by Al, and usually to great success. This time is no different, as he uses catchy rhythms to warn about watching too much TV. Good stuff.
2. Hardware Store – an original by Al. There’s a section in the song where he very quickly sings about a zillion different things you can find in a hardware store, and it’s simply amazing. Even after repeated hearings, I can’t quite catch them all, and I have no idea how he can sing them that fast. For you Al-trivia fans, this is also the song on the album that includes the magical number 27.
3. Trash Day – A parody of “Hot in Here” by Nelly. Never heard the original, but that’s okay. Al’s parodies can generally stand on their own. I don’t care for this one, but I think it’s mostly because of the mental image I get of a huge mound of rotting trash when I hear this one, not because it’s not deftly written and well done.
4. Party At The Leper Colony – an original. Ugh. This song includes every lousy leper joke you’ve ever heard from your childhood on. Included are such gems as “She cried her eyes out literally” and “The food won’t cost an arm and a leg.” More childish than I expect from the guy who brought us “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” (which just happens to be my ring tone right now). I skip this song pretty much every time.
5. Angry White Boy Polka – compilation/parody of several current songs. I knew like one of the songs included, but these polka compilations are always enjoyable, if only because of Al’s great accordion-playing abilities. How does he come up with which current songs would fit into a polka style? Crazy, man.
6. Wanna B UR LOVR – an original. Every goofy pickup line you’ve ever heard, conveniently set to music! Includes such hits as “I don’t have a library card, but do you mind if I check you out?” and “You must be Jamaican, ‘cuz Jamaican me crazy.” Funny as an occasional listen, but I’ve been skipping it 80% of the time.
7. A Complicated Song – parody of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” a song I didn’t think I’d ever heard until I heard this version and recognized the tune. This is one of the funniest (and catchiest) songs on the album, if you can make it past the first verse, which is a little grosser than you might like. The third verse includes the line “Why’d I have to go and get myself decapitated?” so you can look forward to that while you’re getting through the first verse.
8. Why Does This Always Happen To Me? – an original. Remember “Those Were the Good Old Days” off the “Even Worse” album? This is much in the same vein. My favorite part of the song is when he sees that his friend Rob has been killed in a car wreck and then remembers that Rob owed him money. “What a jerk!” he exclaims. Ha!
9. Ode To A Superhero – a parody of Billy Joel’s classic “Piano Man.” This might be my favorite of this album. A great original song combined with the story of…well, does this line give you a clue? “Sling us a web, you’re the Spider-Man!” Great song. Way cool.
10. Bob – an original. An all-anagram song! The first? I don’t know! Even the title’s an anagram, but it’s also the style it’s done in. Huh? It’s totally a Bob Dylan-type song, and the nonsense anagrams just make it that much better. Great idea and well done.
11. EBay – parody of N*SYNC’s “That Way.” Very topical and enjoyable. ALF gets mentioned, as does Dr. Dre. Talk about covering the spectrum!
12. Genius In France – an original. Pretty much about a guy who’s an idiot and no one likes him — except people in France. Obviously a riff on the whole Jerry Lewis thing, but sorta funny nonetheless. Hey, anything that bashes those cheese-eating surrender monkeys is okay just on that basis, right? (Note: I wish he had included that line…oh, well) This song’s too long at over eight minutes, but it does incorporate a ton of different styles. It’s obviously like “Albuquerque” off the Running With Scissors album, and it’s all right, but it gets skipped a lot in my playlist.
Along with all of these, the CD’s an enhanced CD, and we get a narrated-by-Al look at some home movies of him as a child, some pictures, some remixes of the songs on the album, and lyrics to the songs. Way cool! Good extras that other artists ought to be doing. Lead the way, Al!
Overall a decent album. There’s 4 really good songs and only one really lousy one (and a lousy song from Al is a rare thing!), with the other ones being a mix of fair to middlin’. I’m not disappointed. Thanks, Al!