What are the first CDs you ever bought?
That question is a great icebreaker. Not just because it brings up the nostalgic nature of compact discs, but because it’s an interesting conversation piece. Everyone listens to music. We all bought CDs in our childhood. So what was our first?
I remember my first three. I just don’t remember the order. They were Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill,” Weird Al Yankovic’s “Bad Hair Day” and The Presidents of the United States of America’s self-titled debut album, all of which were released between 1995 and 1996.
I bring this up because one of those artists is extremely relevant right now.
No, The Presidents of the United States of America are not making a comeback. And no, Alanis Morrissette didn’t just endure a gut-wrenching breakup, provoking another revenge-inspired album.
That leaves the one and only Weird Al.
According to the music-parodist’s Twitter account, he is releasing eight new music videos in eight days. This began on Sunday, meaning two videos have already been released.
No doubt, anybody born in the 1980s, and even late 1970s, has fond memories of Weird Al. He’s made some amazing parodies that are not only funny, but are good songs. How can anyone forget the classics, “Like a Surgeon,” “Amish Paradise,” and “Eat it,” parodies of songs by Madonna, Coolio and Michael Jackson, respectively.
Heck, after he recorded a parody of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Kurt Cobain called Yankovic a musical genius.
So the last thing anybody would want is for him to tarnish his legacy. The guy is 54 now, so he can’t be relevant and in-tune with today’s pop culture, right?
Yesterday, Weird Al posted his first of eight videos, called “Tacky,” a knockoff of Pharrell’s “Happy.” It’s pretty good. But today, he one-upped himself, with “Word Crimes,” mocking not only Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” but the butchering of the English Language as caused by hash tags and social media.
It’s, in the words of Kurt Coban himself … genius.
And there’s six more to come.
The songs are part of Yankovic’s fourteenth studio album, called “Mandatory Fun,” which comes out this month.
It makes me happy, because Weird Al’s resurgence also equals a resurgence of my childhood. I don’t care if this doesn’t have an impact on today’s youth, who may or may not grasp the beauty of musical parody that he popularized more than 20 years ago. I’m just glad that it’s happening at all.
And who knows, if the next six songs are as good as the first two … Weird Al may very well end up being my first and last album purchases.