Although this may be the last time. At least, his last album. For now:
This week, seemingly inspired by the cornucopia of videos that attended Beyoncé’s latest album, “Market-Savvy” Al has adopted an Internet-conquering strategy of releasing a video a day from his new, 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun. This is probably his last full-length, he’s said, as his record contract is up (the title is partly a joke about contractual obligation) and the format is no longer so suitable to a spoofing style that depends on timeliness…
It could be that Weird Al’s time has passed, because he no longer stands out from the crowd:
He had the especial fortune to coincide with the MTV era—videos were essentially ridiculous already, and ripe for the clowning. Without the visuals, Yankovic’s songs would never have had the same traction. He was working in memes and virality before those terms existed. What’s more surprising is that he had so little competition. (Even This Is Spinal Tap was a cinematic event that didn’t much ruffle the charts.)
But today, as many observers have noted, it’s the opposite. He’s not so much “Weird” Al as “Norm”-Al. As Jody Rosen wrote last year, “We’re all Weird Al Yankovic.” The spike in sophisticated comedy as well as the do-it-yourself recording and video-making boom centered on YouTube have brought if anything a surfeit of musical mockery. And a lot of the newborn Weird Als, face it, are simply better than “Field of One” Al ever was….
I don’t know about that last part. No one has ever touched the soaring goofiness of “Eat it,” which, let’s face it, was way better — far more creative, certainly — than the song it apes:
Oh, and thanks to Silence for reminding me this was out there. I meant to post it earlier in the week.
The videos are better than the songs (which are usually very good). Weird Al is a very funny guy.