Having OD’d on Weird Al between the ages of eight and fourteen, I began to turn on him, and I still haven’t recovered: Most of Straight Outta Lynwood makes me cringe in embarrassment, but enough cannot be said of the consistency of Yankovic’s career. It’s as if he hasn’t lost a beat since the faux-bulge of “Fat,” when mocking Michael Jackson was merely in its second phase of being tired. From opener (and certified iTunes/YouTube hit) “White and Nerdy” to “We Are the World”-like closer “Don’t Download This Song,” Yankovic just keeps on keeping on.
He also keeps Canadians insecure, with the album’s Green Day parody prompting Canucks to ask themselves, “Are we really a nation of ‘Canadian Idiots’?” That song is one of five direct parodies on the album, the rest being either reminiscent of others (the Brian Wilson paean “Pancreas”) or the famed accordion medley, which is perhaps the album’s best piece. In it, Yankovic blasts through the Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Rhianna, Modest Mouse and others in an amazing buffet of skilled polka and clever rearrangements. Another winner is “Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” an incredibly realized remake of R.Kelly’s awesomely shitty masterpiece. Yankovic predictably switches Kelly’s inexplicable cliffhangers to the most mundane nine and a half minutes in the world.
His originals are odd, corny and exactly what he wants them to be, but the remakes are consistent and less worthy of his own shame than the “Jurassic Park”/”Amish Paradise”/”Ode to Star Wars: Episode I” days. The DVD portion of the dual-disc offering is loaded with extras, including a karaoke version of the album, lyrics included.
After personal tragedy (his parents died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the years leading up to this album), public hatred (he was on a Carrot Top level of irritating others), and almost descending into a punch line, Yankovic has released another indisputably good entry to his catalog. What is Weird Al but the Busta Rhymes of musical comedy?