Most people remember the first time “Weird Al” Yankovic, the rock god of musical parody, crept into their consciousness. Weird Al is a tricky traveler–he rides bareback on the Trojan Horse of pop songs to get inside, and once he’s in there you sometimes can’t tell “Beat It” from “Eat It” for a while. Weird Al just released his 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun. He says that, growing up, he always found the oxymoronic phrase “mandatory fun” funny–he would–and he always wanted to use as a title. He had 13 chances and passed each time so he’s been saving it up. Something special here then, he must think.
You knew the earth wouldn’t just keep spinning without Weird Al taking a crack at Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” Weird Al and this most ubiquitous of tunes were always going to get together. And he takes on last year‘s “Happy” too–that is, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” (Mandatory Fun may well sell more copies than Robin Thicke’s latest effort.) Most exciting is the news that Weird Al has recorded a song called “Foil,” a parody of “Royals” by Lorde. Daft Punk, Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction and Miley Cyrus are among those who get the mashup treatment in a polka medley on the album. Weird Al Yankovic is truly one of a kind. Long live Weird Al. (Or Alfred Matthew Yankovic, if you’re writing him a check.)