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Archive for the ‘Get Smart’ Category

wz1 SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-Off the Deep End (1992).

Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Off_the_Deep_EndIt was this “Weird Al” album that brought me back into the fold.  His parody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (“Smells Like Nirvana”) was hilarious.  And the video was even better.  It was enough for me to get this album (the cover of which even parodied Nevermind) and was a huge seller for Al.  This great cover makes the rest of the parodies seem so strangely one-hit wonderish (which is, of course Al’s bread and butter), but when you read the other parodied songs, it’s so amusingly “who?”

We have  “I Can’t Watch This” (“Can’t Touch This,” MC Hammer).  This parody is pretty funny as his TV stuff is usually very good.  “The White Stuff” (“The Right Stuff” New Kids on the Block–really??) is very very funny.  It works on a parody level and it works so well internally including the way the O-O-O-OREO fits in in both respects.  It’s probably his best overall parody for a song whose original I dislike.  “Taco Grande” is a parody of Rico Suave” (does anyone remember that song?).  This song also happens to be a favorite of mine–the way he says “Taco” in an oddly sexy way makes me laugh every time.  And, internally it works really well, too.  “The Plumbing Song” is a parody of Milli Vanilla.  While the plumbing  jokes are good, the actual chorus, the “punchline,” really doesn’t work.  Just like Milli Vanilli.

The originals are quite strong on this disc, too.  “Trigger Happy” is a Beach Boys style parody which actually is quite relevant in the big gun debate of 2013.  “I Was Only Kidding” is one of his anti-romantic songs, in which he says all of these romantic things and then takes it back.  It’s pretty funny, even with the Wayne’s World joke.  Wikipedia suggests that it’s a style parody of Tonio K, but I don’t know who that is or what he sounds like.  “When I Was Your Age” sounds a lot like a song from the UHF soundtrack–that same musical style, I wonder if the band works on the music together. It’s a funny song that’s all about old people yelling about how easy young people have it.  It’s a good one.

“Airline Amy” is an original song about a stewardess which doesn’t really do much for me.  But the final song on the disc “You Don’t Love me Anymore” is just outstanding.  It’s a funny acoustic ballad, an anti-romantic song with some very funny lines.  The video parodies Extreme’s “More Than Words,” even though the original song wasn’t a parody of that song (but since people thought it was he made the video reflect it). The video is awesome.

And of course, the polka medley is wonderful.  There’s such a weird mix of songs, and this one really dates the record (not in a bad way).  The previous medleys mixed a lot of different eras, but the songs in this one are of a very specific time: “Cradle of Love,” “Tom’s Diner,” “Love Shack,” “Pump Up the Jam,” “Losing My Religion” (the second R.E.M. nod from Al), “Do Me” (I don’t know the original but I love that he throws in a yodel at the end of it), “Cherry Pie,” “I Touch Myself,” “Dr Feelgood” and the unforgettable “Ice Ice Baby.”  It May be the only place where Metallica and “The Humpty Dance” play next to each other, too.

In a final nod to Nirvana, Al tossed in a 5 second piece of noise after ten minutes of silence which he called “Bite Me” (because Nevermind had a very noisy song called “Endless, Nameless” after some 30 minutes of silence).  My friend Matt has a very funny story about not knowing that “Bite Me” would come on and getting the crap scared out of him by it.  Al makes us laugh in many different ways.

[READ: February and March 2013] The Weird Zone series

wz2Readers will know that Clark and I love Tony Abbott.  We keep looking for his older, somewhat harder to find series, and this past month the library came through with The Weird Zone, eight books set in the small town of Grover’s Mill.  There’s a Secret Government UFO testing base at the north of the city, a dinosaur graveyard to the west of the city and Humongous Horror Movie Studio to the east.  Living in this weird triangle between these oddities can mean only one thing–Grover’s Mill, is known to the kids as the Weird Zone (their school is even call W.Reid Elementary).  The adults in town don’t seem to realize what’s going on (although, clearly they must) are called Zoners.

The Humongous Horror Movie studio is run by Mr Vickers.  His kids, Sean and Holly, are two of the five protagonist.  Although it’s a little funny that in book one, Sean is away at camp.  Mr Vickers makes a horror movie every week–they are terrible  but he shows them at the drive in and people come (perhaps because of the huge searchlights he waves around through the sky).  But having this crazy creature shop in town means that things are very rarely normal anyway.

In Book One, Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars!, Liz Duffey, Holly Vickers and Jeff Ryan are enjoying a day at the beach of Lake Lake (named after someone named Lake) when a tidal wave surges forth from the water.  Riding that wave are a bunch of Martian zombies.  They march after the kids looking for brains! (more…)

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