Bad Hair Day is an uninspired album title, especially given how great of an album it is. As I posted last week, “Amish Paradise” is great, (I forget to mention the funny Gilligan’s Island verse in the middle. “Everything You Know is Wrong” is just a magnificent They Might be Giants parody. Now, TMBG and Weird Al are pretty kindred spirits (they both use accordions and sing silly songs). In that respect, this song isn’t that different from a typical Al song, but there are so many great musical nods to TMBG that the song is just awesome. And it’s very funny too.
“Cavity Search” is a parody of U2’s “Hold Me Touch Me Kiss Me Kill Me” and it works very well, both as a great soundalike (Al’s vocal tricks get better with each album) and the way he plays with the original (the drill solo is great) are really clever. “Calling in Sick” is a kind of Nirvana parody, although I don’t hear it as well as other band parodies. It’s certainly a grunge song and, as such it works. But it was “The Alternative Polka” that proved to be my favorite of his medleys so far. “Loser,” “Sex Type Thing” “All I Wanna Do” “Closer” (hearing him do Nine Inch Nails is hilarious–especially this song!), “Bang Bang Blame” (so much R.E.M. lately), “You Oughta Know,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (Weezer’s song was supposed to be included here but they asked it to be removed and he did at the last minute–see the video below). “I’ll Stick Around,” “Black Hole Sun” and “Basket Case”–a great mix of songs that I loved at the time and still do, this song is like reliving the mid 90s.
“Since You’ve Been Gone” is a fun a capella band version of a funny break up song. He gets better and better at this kind of lyric (“a red hot cactus up my nose” is particularly wonderful). “Gump” is a very funny parody of “Lump” by Presidents of the United States of America. Evidently they liked his parody so much they used some of his lyrics in the final verse when they played it live.
“Sick of You” has a fun bass line (reminiscent of Elvis Costello) and a great chorus. And “Syndicated, Inc.” is a very funny parody of that overplayed Soul Asylum song “Misery.” It’s a very funny song about syndicated TV shows. “I Remember Larry” is a pretty funny original about a prankster, although it’s the weakest song on the album. “Phony Calls” is a parody of TLC’s “Waterfalls” and it’s pretty funny (especially hearing Al do TLC vocals). The parody works pretty well, and it’s certainly helped by the sample of Bart and Moe on the Simpsons. “The Night Santa Went Crazy” is a pretty funny twisted take on Santa.
This album is definitely one of his best. Just about every song is a winner. And it’s his best-selling album too.
[READ: February 22, 2013] Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
Clark was pretty excited when this book came out. He had just finished up book #7 or 8 when the book was published. And so it didn’t take too long for him to get caught up with the series. I was also pretty lucky to have just finished book nine so this “last” book (although not really) was very well timed.
When we left off in Book Nine, Tippy Tinkletrousers had inadvertently destroyed the earth and the giant zombie George and Harold were stomping through the town. And, shockingly, they had just crushed Tippy in his robo-pants. But as this book opens, Pilkey gives us the truth about zombies. They are really slow. So slow that Tippy was able to get out of the way of the giant foot (and do lots of other things) and put a giant ketchup packet under the foot so it got squished instead of him.
The rest of the book is simply chock full of time travel, overlapping people and all kinds of paradoxes. I have to wonder if Clark got it, but he just read it again and he did seem to have decent understanding of what happened.
Trying to summarize the story is actually rather hard. But in a nutshell, Tippy goes back in time to just before he destroyed everything. When he appears there are now two of him. So the well-intentioned Tippy shrinks the real Tippy and carries him in his pocket. But when he tries to stop George and Harold from using the Purple Potty to go time traveling, he has to make another Tiny Tippy to go back a few minutes to overhear where they are going. Now there are three Tippys! Suffice it to say that bad guys can never get along so they obviously have a big fight (with nuclear bombs!).
George and Harold were heading back to the caveman time, so Tippy followed. And while they were there, we learn everything we need to know about what really happened in history. Like that George and Harold were responsible for the first cave paintings and that Tippy’s ice ray caused the first Ice Age. By the end of the book, Tippy also killed the dinosaurs and started the big bang (very funny stuff).
The biggest surprise comes at the end when we once again meet Melvin Sneedly (the bad guys never go away in this series!). Melvin rescues them, but only because he has devious plans for them. And here we go again, because book ten is not the final book at all (no date given yet for number eleven, but we do know who the villain is!).
And of course, this book had some Flip-O-Rama, but it also had an extended wordless comic strip which the boys drew for the cavemen to understand what Tippy was up to. It’s pretty cool (and there’s an Ook and Gluk cameo too!). Book ten is a winner (and is certainly not an easy book for kids–how far he’s come from all the poop jokes).