After Al’s debut he came roaring back the next year with In 3-D a disc which opens with his first Michael Jackson parody “Eat It.” The song was leaps and bounds above anything on the debut (even if there are still hand farts in it). The song actually sounds like the original (if a little less “full” and a little goofier and on the whoo hoos). But the solo by Rick Derringer rocks and the whole song works very well. The rest of the album is a solid mix of originals and parodies
I didn’t really understand that “Midnight Star” was meant to parody the Weekly World News and such (I didn’t really know those papers at the time) but I thought the headlines were funny. And yes its a lot of fun to sing a long to. It’s always funny when Al parodies a song that is already rather stupid (My Sharona, or in this case Safety Dance), and “The Brady Bunch” opens with a general overview of stupid TV shows and then morphs into the The Bunch’s theme song to the music of “Safety Dance.” “Gonna Buy Me A Condo” is a reggae song which I never really got the joke of as a kid. I mean, I knew it was reggae but I didn’t know enough about reggae to know that this song is kinda funny, about selling out for the mainstream life. It’s not genius or anything but it’s kinda funny–in fact I think it’s funnier now than I ever did as a kid.
“Jeopardy” works perfectly as a parody. It retains all of the weird sounds and “drama” of the original and yet it works entirely unto itself. It’s definitely an early highlight. This disc also introduces what would be come a staple on all his later albums: “Polkas on 45” where he mashes together a string of songs into a polka beat. They are always fun and clever. This one is a mix of new wave and classic rock bands Devo, Deep Purple, Berlin, The Beatles, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, Foreigner, The Police, The Clash, The Rolling Stones, and The Who.
“Mr Popeil” is another one that I didn’t full get until later (why did i like Al if I didn’t get any of the jokes?). Ron Popeil is the king of the As Seen on TV product (as listed in the song). The thing that I really didn’t get was that this is was a parody of the B-52s–one of the first parodies he’d done that’s a parody of band but not really a song. This is not a parody of Rock Lobster exactly, but it sounds quite a lot like it–and that’s a neat trick.
“King of Suede” is a parody of The Police–I never really liked it even though it does work as a parody–perhaps the original isn’t a very string song. “That Boy Could Dance” is instantly forgettable, so much so that I had forgotten all about it. “Theme from Rocky XIII” is a pretty funny parody of “The Eye of the Tiger.” But it doesn’t prepare you for the genius that is “Nature Trail to Hell.” An epic song about horror movies with the great line “if you lie the 6 o clock news you’ll love Nature Trail to Hell (in 3D).” It’s over the top and very silly–the music escalates with screams and strings and several different sections (although the solo section is a little anemic). I can’t imagine what he would do with it today if he rerecorded it.
So In 3-D was a big jump in quality for “Weird Al” and was actually a pretty big hit (charting at #17).
[READ: February 22, 2013] Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 2
Since it is 2013 and not 2003, I don’t have to wait several months for Part 2. Huzzah!
The opening comic in this book not only gives all of the Captain Underpants background that it usually does, it also includes what happened in Part 1. At the end of the book, the robotic booger monsters (Carl, Trixie and Frankenbooger) were on the attack. They destroyed the Combine-O-Tron 2000 so it would not reverse the effects of the machine on Captain and Melvin. But Sulu the hamster rescued them by hurling the boogers into space (with his mouth, ew).
The boys want to get things back to normal. But Professor Krupp (who is in Melvin’s body) is going about his business getting everyone in trouble. Except that since he looks like Melvin people are getting angry at him rather than listening to him. This book features a wonderful letter swap from “Check out our school’s big internet website at http://www.jhes.com” to “We shake our big butts when we swim in the toilet.”
The boys give up on trying to fix the Combine-O-Tron and decide to use the Purple Potty Time Machine that is in the library and go back in time. There’s a great sequence in which the librarian has banned every book but one and I love the posters that are up encouraging the banning of books–it’s another awesome dig at those who censor. And the librarian is named Miss Singerbrains.
The boys go back in time to the day before yesterday to get the Combine-O-Tron before it gets broken. But complications occur so they go back in time further to grab a pterosaur which they ride on to catch up to Miss Singerbrains (naturally). It looks like all will be well, but Melvin has switched things again and now when the machine works, Melvin gets all of Captain Underpants’ super powers (but his own brain back) and Captain Underpants has no powers at all!
The boogers which were launched into space crashed onto a space ship called the Poopsie (which Clark pointed out gets changed to oopsie after the boogers eat the P). The spaceship is redirected home and when they land, the boogers come to fight the Captain. Melvin won’t help because he is still mad at everyone. So the Captain does the only thing he can: the underpants dance (in Flip-O-Rama). This makes the boogers mad. And from there we learn the solution to fighting boogers: Vitamin C! I was also delighted that the squishies (from Part 1) proved to have a benefit–the pay off of that was awesome.
Melvin gets punished for his deeds and almost everything is back to normal. But the story ends with the boys stuck in the purple potty…and there they go again. If this was 2003, you’d have to wait THREE YEARS for the next book!