Sound: Weird Al has been releasing parody music since 1983, and has really made an art form out of it. This album is no different than his others, incorporating several different styles of popular music and then some polka. There are twelve tracks on "Alpocalypse" and not a single filler track. Weird Al has released several of the songs off of "Alpocalypse" through strategic "internet leaks" for the past five years since his last studio release in 2006, "Straight Outta Lynwood". Weird Al has also released this album as streaming music on www.mog.com as of 06/14/2011.
Weird Al has Ray Manzarek of The Doors play keyboard on a parody in the style of The Doors called "Craigslist" which mocks some of the odder Craigslist posts. Taylor Hanson even guests playing piano on the song "If That Isn't Love" which is a parody in the style of Hanson singing about an individual's weird interpretation of what love is. Weird Al has a parody in the style of Queen called "Ringtone" that is about having an annoying ringtone, but unfortunately Brian May isn't involved... I would have loved to hear that. The song "CNR" is a parody in the style of the White Stripes that talks about the legendary Charles Nelson Reilly, and unfortunately Jack White wasn't involved with the recording of this song. // 7
Lyrics: Weird Al is a lyrical genius pure and simple. He has made his living for almost 30 years by taking popular music and re-writing the lyrics in a humorous way that also provides social commentary. Pure Genius. While several of the songs on "Alpocalypse" are direct remakes of songs with new lyrics, several others are just parodies in the style of other musicians and he uses the freedom to really go wild lyrically. I think it is important to realize that parody is as important an art form as original music.
The lyrics to "Perform This Way", which is a parody of Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way" is full of scathing observation of the lengths Lady Gaga goes to in order to be "original". "I'm so completely original / My new look is all the rage / I'll wrap my small intestines 'round my neck / And set fire to myself on stage" is a good sample of the lyrics from this tune. "Perform This Way" is a good example of Weird Al's ability to find the pulse of society and really put the mirror up and force everyone to look into it. // 9
Overall Impression: It is hard to compare "Weird Al" to other artists because what he does is original, and though there have been some artists coming out trying to copy what Weird Al does, he remains the best. While I personally feel that this isn't the best Weird Al album to be released, it is absolutely not the worst. If you don't listen to this album, do yourself a favor and at least listen to his polka medley "Polka Face" which is like a rant against all the shallow music that is permeating the radio waves.
My favorite songs from the album are "CNR", "Craigslist" and "Whatever You Like". "CNR" is a parody done in the style of the White Stripes that attributes superhuman feats to Charles Nelson Reilly kind of akin to the popular Chuck Norris facts on the internet. As a sample of the lyrics of "CNR", "Charles Nelson Reilly won the Tour de France with two flat tires and a missing chain / He trained a rattlesnake to do his laundry, I'm telling you the man was insane / He could rip out your beating heart, and show it to you before you died / Everyday he'd make the host of Match Game give him a piggyback ride / Yeah, two hour piggyback ride, giddy up Gene".
I may be biased towards Weird Al, but I enjoy any kind of media that acts as commentary on society because I feel like that is something we really need as a society. And Weird Al is just straight up entertaining. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2011