Alapalooza came out hot on the heels of Off the Deep End. I was in college, the perfect time for a “Weird Al” rebirth. And the fact that “Jurassic Park” and “Bedrock Anthem” had a great videos (and my college cafe played MTV), meant I got to see these videos quite a bit. (So I was surprised to read recently that this album didn’t sell like gangbusters (it went gold whereas Off the Deep End went platinum)).
“Jurassic Park” is a crazy wonderful parody–a spoof on the crazy song “MacArthur Park,” a song that I like a lot because it is over the top and absurd, although truth be told, I like “Jurassic Park” better.
“Young Dumb and Ugly” is a heavy metal song this is certainly dumb. This is one that parodies a style so well that it’s actually not a very fun song to listen to. “Bedrock Anthem” is a Red Hot Chili Peppers mashup/parody with the intro from “Under the Bridge” melding into a rocking parody of “Give It Away.” I’m not exactly sure that it works as a parody (the Yabba Dabba part is a wee bit forced) but the song rocks well and Al and co. do a great job with it.
I never much liked “Frank’s 2000″ TV.” I’m surprised to read (Wikipedia) that it’s a style parody of early R.E.M. I can kind of hear it but compared to some of his other style parodies, I don’t think it really works. “Achy Breaky Song” is the most apt song, lyrically, ever: “Don’t play that song, that achy breaky song, the most annoying song I know.” It’s surprisingly mean about the song it is parodying and it turns out the proceeds from the track were donated to United Cerebral Palsy, as both Cyrus and Yankovic felt that the song was “a little bit, well, mean-spirited.” “Traffic Jam” is a synthy number that sounds like it’s from the 80s.
“Talk Soup” was commissioned as a new theme for the show Talk Soup. Although the producers approved the lyrics and enjoyed the final result, they decided against using it. Which I can understand as it would make a terrible TV theme song. It sounds a bit like Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer.
“Livin’ in the Fridge” is a fun parody of Aerosmith and it really sounds like them. This parody works both as a twist on the original and lyrically–it’s very funny. “She Never Told Me She was a Mime” is a weird original. It doesn’t sound like any other bands, and is kind of a classic rock type of song. The lyrics are pretty funny, but not all that funny. And there’s not all that much to enjoy musically.
“Harvey the Wonder Hamster” is an awesome anthem which at 21 seconds, can be enjoyed again and again and again. It’s funny that I felt that “Talk Soup” sounded like Peter Gabriel because “Waffle King” is actually a style parody of Gabriel. This is a weird song because the verses are good, but the chorus falls kind of flat. But the final song is a wonderful twist on Al’s usual polka medley. This is a polka version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I read complaints that it sounds too much like the original (which it doesn’t) but it’s a testament to Al’s skill as a mimic that he can make his crazy polka version (which is much faster and with lots of his silliness thrown in) sounds so much like queen. It’s certainly an Al highlight.
After this release, Al put out Al in the Box a 4 CD box set and then a series of greatest hits type albums–an actual Greatest Hits and then a collection of Food Songs and TV Songs. I would never have bought the Food album except that I got to meet him after a show and I wanted something for him to autograph (which he did). He was super duper nice and very cool.
[READ: February 22, 2013] Ricky Ricotta Books 7
Dav Pilkey planned to do nine books in this series (with Martin Ontiveros adding pictures). According to Wikipedia, he had serious family emergencies for a while, which is why such a prolific author had literally no output for a number of years (from 2007-2010). It also explains why book 7 is the last book that Pilkey has written in the series. But the good news is that he’s back writing and that the eighth book is due out in December.
Of 2014. Oh.
Well, in the meantime we have this book to enjoy. Ricky and the Mighty Robot are learning what is fun and what is not fun (most of the things that Ricky likes to do are too small for the robot to do and are consequently not fun for him). Meanwhile, Uncle Unicorn lives on Uranus. And he has turned it into a universe-wide dumping ground for toxic waste. I really liked seeing that all of the other bad guys from the series had a cameo dumping their stuff on Uranus.
But then Uncle Unicorn has had enough of the trash and he wants to leave. He plans on going to Earth, but he knows that Mighty Robot is his major enemy. So he sends Mighty Robot a gift–a Ladybot who immediately hypnotizes him and chains him up. And now Ricky is alone.
Ricky goes to the only place he knows for help–cousin Lucy (!). Her Jurassic Jackrabbits have grown very large now and they use Waffles the pterosaur to fly to where the Ladybot is. Fudgie and Cupcake (who can’t fly) are left behind feeling useless again. Lucy and Ricky help disable Ladybot’s generator which frees Mighty Robot to battle the Uranium Unicorns (in Flip-O-Rama).
But just when it seems over, Uncle Unicorn presses a secret button turning Ladybot into Super Mecha-Evil Ladybot. Things seem hopeless, but there is a surprise waiting them!
At the end, we see the jail is almost full, it has two vacancies left. And we shall have to wait until next Christmas to see one of the filled.