Thursday, January 25, 2007

Al Against the Machine

Weird Al isn't known for his original songs. Way back when, he would occasionally do a video for one of his more inspired efforts, which generally parody a style or a band rather than a particular song. (Best examples: A couple of movie themes, the Devo-flavored Dare to be Stupid, the doo-wop One More Minute, which hits its peak when the background singers soulfully repeat the last word of the line "I'd rather have my blood sucked out by leeches.)

Al seems to be rare form now, hitting an Aerosmith-esque second wind more than 25 years into hit career. White and Nerdy, a parody of Chamillionaire's Ridin' (no, I hadn't heard it until Al's version came out), is a trip. And apparently his highest-charting single ever ... yes, higher than Eat It or Like a Surgeon.

And then there's this one, which takes the overblown anger of Rage Against the Machine and says what's really on the mind of the American people: I'll Sue Ya!

The animated video works well:



Al's Wikipedia entry is a must-read. Things you may not have known:

- He once opened for Missing Persons. It didn't go well.

- Keyboardist Ruben Valtierra is the "new guy" in Al's band. He joined in 1991. No one has ever left the band -- drummer Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz joined in 1980, bassist Steve Jay joined in 1982 and brought guitarist Jim West with him. Off the top of my head, the only band I can think of with that kind of stability is Rush (one personnel change in 1974), and they only have three guys.

- Chamillionaire was so happy with Al's parody that it popped up on the rapper's MySpace page before Al had it out. Al's not exactly a technophobe, so that's saying something.

- Al's fans forced Wikipedia to protect the Atlantic Records entry. You have to read the discussion to see why. I can't do it justice. Colbert's got nothing on this guy.

- On the other hand, there are so many imitators in this day of easy uploading that we need a "Not Al" page to list songs that he did NOT record.

3 comments:

Jason said...

My favorite original Weird Al song is "You Don't Love Me Anymore." Seek it out, it's hysterical. (well, at least to me.)

bdure said...

I'd forgotten You Don't Love Me Anymore. Now that you mention it, I'd remember the video -- it's in the subdued style of Extreme's More Than Words. Until the end. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

U2 has been pretty stable personnel wise. Same with Wilco. Well, maybe not.