Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I guess that in every collection, no matter how valued, there must be one item that is the owner's least favourite, and in the case of my many Weird Al CDs, it's Poodle Hat.

Not that it's a bad album, it's just that I've found all his others to be even better. (Al sets himself such a dizzyingly high standard) In fact the opening tracks on here are classics.

Couch Potato is the famous song parody that sells the product, crammed with so many daft lyrics about modern day TV shows, that it's a real shame that Eminem pulled-out of allowing Al to finish shooting a video for it.

"Shows based on reality,
Oh! The humanity,
Oh! Ozzy's Family,
Sho' loves profanity,
Whoa, the insanity…"

If the lyrics to Couch Potato sound like they're the product of many late hours spent up with a rhyming dictionary, then just wait until you get to Hardware Store. This is one of Al's most insane numbers ever. It's just so intense, and intricately produced, that it'd be impossible to perform live at this tempo. Heck, even with the full lyrics in the CD notes, this is gonna take a lot of listens just to sing along to!

Around the same time in the UK we had a new sitcom begin called Hardware, and they so should have used this for their opening credits.

However after that things start to cross the line from hilarious into a bit mean, particularly with Party At The Leper Colony.

If some of the jokes in the middle of the album missed their target for me though, that's more than made up for by all the sheer inventiveness packed in towards the end. Who else can cram the whole plot of the first Spider-Man movie into Billy Joel's Piano Man, construct a Bob Dylan tribute entirely out of palindromes, or croon proudly of his love for Ebay?

Although this is the only album of Al's that I've found myself patiently waiting for the end of, so much care has gone into crafting these songs, that most of them are at the very least catchy.

Even Genius In France - a nine-minute muse that flies through so many different musical styles that it never seems to quite get going - took root in my subconscious and wouldn't leave me alone today, and this despite my not having rated it so highly at the time.

However the undisputed highlight of this album has got to be the Quicktime file of Al's 8mm home-movies. With no music to rely on, for eight minutes Al narrates the highlights of his childhood, in his own lethal style, and it's maybe the funniest thing he's ever done.

It's consequently the best thing on the whole CD, and you know what? He's just put it up for free on his YouTube account here.

Go on - take eight minutes out of your day and click-through to watch it now. You'll wish you'd had a childhood like his…

Track listing:

1. Couch Potato (parody of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem)
2. Hardware Store
3. Trash Day (parody of "Hot In Herre" by Nelly)
4. Party At The Leper Colony
5. Angry White Boy Polka
6. Wanna B Ur Lover
7. A Complicated Song (parody of "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne)
8. Why Does This Always Happen To Me?
9. Ode To A Superhero (parody of "Piano Man" by Billy Joel)
10. Bob
11. Ebay (parody of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys)
12. Genius In France

Available to sample and buy here.

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