If only “Weird Al” Yankovic had a few more weeks to work on Straight Outta Lynwood.
“It would have been nice to be able to do something on ‘SexyBack,’ but I just missed the deadline on that,” the parody pro said.
In fact, Al’s 12th studio album, due Tuesday (September 26), was supposed to be released in June, but just like when Coolio came out against “Amish Paradise” and Eminem kept Al from spoofing “Lose Yourself,” he had an issue with one of his parodies.
“The original lead single was supposed to be my parody of ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt called ‘You’re Pitiful,’ ” Al recalled. “We had gotten James Blunt’s permission for the parody, but Atlantic Records … felt it was too early in his career and that they didn’t want to focus any more attention on ‘You’re Beautiful.’ … So I agreed to wait and hopefully they would let me put out the song, and a few months went by and finally we got the official word that the right time was never.”
So, per his own rules (he is allowed to parody by law), Weird Al pulled the song from the LP — but all was not lost.
“I decided that since the artist himself was OK with it and since it was basically just a bunch of suits that were doing something that wasn’t even in their artist’s best interest I really had no problem releasing the song on the Internet,” he said.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of other material on Straight Outta Lynwood, which Al discussed for MTV News, track by track:
1. “White & Nerdy”
“This, of course, is the Chamillionaire parody [of ‘Ridin,’ and Lynwood‘s first single], and this is the song that I was born to write, basically. I’ve been doing research on this song my entire life, so it’s basically the culmination of a lifetime of work. It’s also my first big-budget, live-action video in seven years, and it was a lot of fun to do. We got Donny Osmond to do the Krayzie Bone role, because obviously if you can’t get Krayzie Bone, you get Donny Osmond.”
“That’s a style parody of Brian Wilson, an homage as it were. It’s meant to sound similar to the music that he did for Smile and Pet Sounds, and it’s basically a love song to my pancreas, because it came to my attention that not a lot of songs have been written about the pancreas. And I thought that it was a void in pop culture. Also because my pancreas has given so much to me over the years, I felt like I needed to give something back to it, so that’s the reason for that.”
3. “Canadian Idiot”
“That’s a Green Day parody, but I won’t tell you what it’s a parody of; you’ll just have to guess. I should point out to any Canadians that may see this that it is in fact ironic, and it’s a joke, and I love Canada, and I hope they’re not irony-impaired.”
4. “I’ll Sue Ya”
“Another original, done in the style of Rage Against the Machine. I thought it might be kind of fun to do a Rage-style parody, because there’s a lot of anger and emotion in their humor. And instead of doing something politically charged, I thought it would be funny to have that kind of song and have it be about frivolous law suits.”
“Yet another one of my polka medleys. At this point, it’s sort of mandatory for me to do a polka medley. Fans would be rioting in the streets, I think, if I didn’t do a polka medley. And this particular one is like most of my others with, I’d say, a dozen or so contemporary rock and R&B songs done in polka style, the way God intended. Everything from Kanye West to 50 Cent to Franz Ferdinand to Black Eyed Peas.”
6. “Virus Alert”
“Another original, talking about the dangers of what you may find in your inbox at work. And it’s done sort of in the style of the band Sparks, particularly their mid-’70s work.”
7. “Confessions, Pt. 3″
“This is my Usher parody. After hearing Usher do ‘Confessions’ and ‘Confessions Pt. 2,’ I couldn’t help but think that maybe he’d left a few things out, that there were a few confessions he had yet to make. So I saved him the trouble of writing a sequel by doing it for him.”
8. “Weasel Stomping Day”
“This is basically a song celebrating the most festive day of the year. It’s done in the style of 1960s animated holiday specials. There’s a video for this one done by the guys from [Cartoon Network's] ‘Robot Chicken.’ ”
9. “Close But No Cigar”
“This is a song done in the style of the band Cake with a video done by John Kricfalusi of ‘Ren & Stimpy’ fame. It’s a song about a guy who’s just a little bit too picky. He continually finds women that are near perfect, but they’ve got one fatal flaw, which would probably be inconsequential to most, but it’s the thing that he focuses on and it ruins the relationship for him.”
10. “Do I Creep You Out”
“This is a Taylor Hicks parody of his song ‘Do I Make You Proud,’ just one of the many, many stalker songs in my oeuvre. I had to have some kind of allusion to the show on this album, and the timing worked out to the point that I was able to sneak that song on the album at the very last minute.”
11. “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”
“My longest parody to date, it’s my epic parody of ‘Trapped in the Closet,’ by R. Kelly. When I heard ‘Trapped in the Closet,’ I thought it was brilliant and wonderful and ridiculous all at the same, and I felt I had to do something with it, and I decided that I couldn’t make it any more convoluted than it already was but thought that I could make it a little more stupid. So I made it about the most banal and mundane and trivial thing that I could think of, which is a couple’s trip to the drive-thru.”
12. “Don’t Download This Song”
“This is meant to sound like ’80s charity benefit songs like ‘We are the World’ and ‘Hands Across America’ and ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ And this video is by Academy Award-nominated animator Bill Plympton, and the reaction to this song has been very interesting to me, because a lot of people think it’s an RIAA-bashing song that’s pro-illegal downloading and other people take it unironically and think that I’m actually encouraging people not to download music off the Internet. And the truth of the matter is, my feelings toward the whole topic are somewhat gray, and I think that’s actually kind of reflected in the lyrics. And I think both sides of the issue sometimes act hypocritically, and I just wanted to address the whole peer-to-peer downloading situation without taking too hard of a stand on either side.”