Weird Al – Straight Outta Lynwood

I was ten years old and in fifth grade when I got my first Weird Al album. When songs like Eat It and Like a Surgeon began flooding both radio airwaves and MTV, I rushed down to the local record store and spent my allowance on the Eat It single, and picked up Als second album, Dare To Be Stupid, shortly after. Who knew that twenty-three years later I would be buying yet another new Weird Al album? Except this time, my four-year-old son went with me.

The King of Musical Parodies is back once again with Straight Outta Lynwood, Als twelfth studio album. Like all of Als albums, the music on Straight Outta Lynwood can be broken down into one of four categories. While most famous for his song parodies, Al also performs both original songs and style parodies, which are original songs recorded in the style of another band. Each Weird Al album also contains a polka medley, which contains accordion-led versions of popular radio songs. On Straight Outta Lynwood, Al sticks to his familiar formula and delivers a few tracks from each category, including the aforementioned polka medley.

Style parodies on the disc include Ill Sue Ya, a song that mocks frivolous lawsuits in the style of Rage Against the Machine, and Pancreas, a loving homage to Als apparently favorite internal organ, done in a vintage Beach Boys style. Other original tracks include Virus Alert, a hilarious song about computer viruses (and the e-mail messages people forward to you warning you of their impending arrival) and Close But No Cigar, another silly tale about Als romantic woes.

The heart of Weird Als career has always been his parodies, and Straight Outta Lynwood contains five new ones. In Als twisted world, Green Days American Idiot becomes Canadian Idiot, Chamillionaires Ridin is White and Nerdy, Ushers Confessions Part II becomes Confessions Part III, R. Kellys Trapped in the Closet is Trapped in the Drive Thru, and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks Do I Make You Proud becomes Do I Creep You Out.

Like many Weird Al fans my age, I got into Als music because of his parodies and while Ive aged, the weird one apparently has not. One flaw I found with the disc (or maybe its with me?) is that the songs parodied are all quite contemporary and are no-doubt popular in the age group I was in when I first discovered Als weirdness (young teenager) which basically means I was unfamiliar with most of them. I cant imagine the stereotypical Weird Al fan being big fans of R. Kelly, Chamillionaire or Usher. While most of the parodies are able to stand on their own, I had the feeling while listening to several of them that they might have been funnier had I been more familiar with the original source material. It seems like on Als earlier albums, he picked more timeless songs to parody. I cant imagine anyone knowing who Chamillionaire is in another twenty-three years.

Still, this doesnt keep Als comedy from shining through. The funniest (and maybe most poignant) track on the disc may be Dont Download This Song, a song reminiscent of We are the World that covers the ongoing battle between recording artists and music pirates. Anyone who simply downloads this disc will be missing out on a lot of lot of awesome extras. Straight Outta Lynwood includes dozens of extras on the disc as a reward for those who purchase the CD, including six new music videos from the album, a 5.1 surround sound mix, instrumental versions of all twelve songs (with optional lyrical pop-ups for Weird Al Karaoke Night!), and a nine-minute documentary. These are all included without raising the price of the CD talk about a bargain!

Oddly enough, two of the parodies (Do I Creep You Out and White & Nerdy) were added to the album after Atlantic Records (boo, hiss) request that Al not include You’re Pitiful, a parody of James Blunt’s popular song You’re Beautiful. Instead of including the song, Al posted it on his website as a free download instead. Don’t mess with Al, pal. With a new album hitting stores September 26th (which is also Weasel Stomping Day) and his short-lived television series just arriving on DVD, Weird Al is introducing himself to an entire new generation of future Al fans. And who knows twenty years from now, maybe my son, my grandson and I will all take a trip together to the local record store (if such things exist then) to pick up yet another new Weird Al album.

01. White & Nerdy
02. Pancreas
03. Canadian Idiot
04. Ill Sue Ya
05. Polkarama!
06. Virus Alert
07. Confessions Part III
08. Weasel Stomping Day
09. Close But No Cigar
10. Do I Creep You Out
11. Trapped In The Drive-Thru
12. Dont Download This Song

(Included Videos)

01. Dont Download This Song
02. Ill Sue Ya
03. Virus Alert
04. Close But No Cigar
05. Pancreas
06. Weasel Stomping Day

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