Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The following day, Weird Al’s concert, which for me had begun as a dream (get over it Herschel) was now a dream once more.

But better than a dream – a fresh memory.

Towards the end of the show I had found that I was not so much listening to the lyrics, as simply sitting there letting my mind wander. I wasn’t bored, or tired, or anything like that, far from it. I was happy to be in an environment that was as silly as I was. I was safe here, and for a few hours the world was exactly the sort of crazy place that I’ve always wanted it to be.

I often feel the same way each time I listen to a new CD by him.

And with that in mind, with the concert over, it was finally time to give his latest album its first listening - Straight Outta Lynwood.

For the first time Al’s CD comes with a bonus disc, which despite not including the Karaoke mixes advertised on the cover, does feature fascinating animated videos for a whopping 6 of the tracks. He could be just trying to get a foot-up on YouTube here, where home-made videos of his work are proliferate.

And commisioning 6 different directors to produce cheap animated videos to these tracks is, I think, a limited success.

It must be said, that once I’ve seen a video to one of Weird Al’s songs, I usualy find it impossible to divorce the pictures from the song in my mind, and these are no exception.

I’ll Sue Ya is a track that I might not otherwise listen to again in a hurry (I don’t listen to music much to begin with), but with an animated Al dancing through graphics of so many household brand-names, I don’t think I’ll ever hear the song without recalling these pictures too, whether I want to or not.

Pancreas on the other hand, sounds beautiful with all its Beach Boys-esque harmonising:

My spleen just doesn’t matter,
Don’t really care about my bladder,
But I don’t leave home without my… paaan-creas.

Yet the video is so irrelevant, attempting to sync a limited amount of old black-and-white footage that just doesn’t quite fit the lyrics. It’s like watching TV with the sound off and the radio on – there’s a little overlap, but generally the two elements are coming from completely different places.

And that really defines the hurdle that these video-directors have to overcome – they have to make something that looks like it came from the mind of Weird Al.

A tall order.

Don’t Download This Song, I’ll Sue Ya and Virus Alert are all okay, but after watching the disc there were just two videos that I played a second time. The curious thing is that afterwards I read the sleeve notes and discovered that these were the only two videos that Al actually had some credited input into - the spell-binding Close But No Cigar, and the classic Weasel Stomping Day.

Yes, a classic. Usually its possible to track how an artist’s tastes and attitudes have changed over twenty years in the business, but this one really could be from any album since Al began! Oh yes, he’s definitely still got it.

Of the tracks with no videos attached, White And Nerdy (which ironically has a live-action video not included here) easily stands out as the best. Canadian Idiot is a great idea, but the wholly negative lyrics rather miss their target.

I’ve said before on this blog that I find Weird Al rather hit and miss, and his previous album Poodle Hat easily had more misses than hits. What a relief then that Straight Outta Lynwood firmly reestablishes him at the top of his game.

Weird Al continues to create his own brand of music whatever anyone else seems to think of him, and long may he get away with it.

Available to sample and buy here.
Click here for "Weird Al" And Me part 1 of 5.
Click here for "Weird Al" And Me part 2 of 5.
Click here for "Weird Al" And Me part 3 of 5.
Click here for "Weird Al" And Me part 4 of 5.

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4 comment(s):

At 7:18 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

"was now a dream once more."

- Whargh??!!!? You've done it again, Goble! Led me by the klown nose into another of your "it was all a dream" entries.

By the way, I'm glad that Seth Green has never appeared or been mentioned in your dream blog of dreams. Phew. He haunts me.

Weasel Stomping Day is not a recognised holiday. He's thinking of Festivus.

This is your pal Krusty, signing out.

At 7:20 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

... Or was I just something you dreamed up...?

- DreamKlownKrusty

At 7:36 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

Or are YOU just something I dreamed up?

Eurgh! What is the Matrix?

At 7:43 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Consider it revenge for all the nightmares I have had about klowns.

I have no idea why you appear to have mentioned Seth Green.


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