Weird Al Yankovic
Off The Deep End
On September 24, 1991, Nirvana released the album 'Nevermind', which catapulted them into the mainstream music scene and cemented their place as the most influential band of the '90s. The album cover featured a naked baby boy swimming after a dollar bill. In April of 1992, Alfred Matthew Yankovic released 'Off The Deep End' which did no more to further his popularity than any other album he released either prior or since. The album featured a naked Al swimming after a donut. On April 5, 1994 Kurt Cobain (supposedly) shot himself in the head with a shotgun, sending shockwaves through the music industry, ensuring that his music would never be forgotten, and creating conspiracy-theorist assholes out of many of his fans. Sales figures for 'Off The Deep End' remained unaffected. In spite of its uncomely artork, 'Off The Deep End' was a damn good piece of work. A friend of mine owned it on cassette, and I remember borrowing it and playing it until the tape was shot. Was I just a puerile music-lover? Or was there something of substance behind those goofy glasses and curly locks? Who cares? Let's examine the songs!
Smells Like Nirvana:
A clever play on Nirvana's smash hit 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', the opening track on the album is a rather poignant observation of the incomprehensibility of Kurt Cobain's lyrics. The concept is pretty inane, because everyone knows that 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is clearly about killing mosquitoes. The song is remdeemed by the fact that for the video, Al was able to get the janitor from Nirvana's video to make a cameo playing a tuba.
It may not be all that easy of the ears, but how can you not like a song that glorifies gratuitous gun violence? I especially like the part where he talks about pumping his cat so full of lead that they could use it as a pencil. Don't misunderstand, I don't condone violence against animals, I just think it's really funny when it's not real. Like when they shot the seeing-eye dog in The Toxic Avenger, or those video clips on PeTA's website, or when they pretended to kill the that circus elephant that went crazy and trampled people. Damn, that shit is funny. The song seems to poke fun at the United States' right to bear arms. This is no laughing matter; The British could invade at ANY TIME!
I Can't Watch This:
If you forget what was going on in television pop culture in the early 90's, this song is your hookup. It's a parody of M.C. Hammer's mindblowingly awesome song 'U Can't Touch This'. That in itself virtually encompasses everything that made the era great, but there are also bonus pop culture references in the lyrics as well. America's Funniest Home Videos, The Cosby Show, Roseanne, Arsenio Hall, and the Playboy channel are just a few. You can't go wrong when you deal with the Hammerman; He had his own cartoon after all. There was even a mod for Firefox where everytime you clicked the 'stop' button, the computer would say "Hammertime". Classic.
Polka Your Eyes Out:
Weird Al's polka compilations are always my favourite part of the album. They don't contain any amusing lyrics or witty puns, instead he takes snippets of a handful of popular songs and throws them together to make one amazing accordian-laden ensemble. Like the previous song, this track gives you a good idea of what was popular in 1992 on the music scene. This song has samplings from Billy Idol, The B52's, Technotronic, REM, EMF, Bell Biv DeVoe, Metallica, Digital Underground, Poison, Janet jackson, Blondie, Motley Crüe, and Vanilla Ice. I'm pretty sure if you weren't familiar with this song, and guessed what song was used by each artist, you'd probably get at least half of them right. There's a polka song on almost every one of Weird Al's albums. If you haven't seen the flash video for Poodle Hat's 'Angry White Boy Polka', go watch it now.
I Was Only Kidding:
This may not be the best song on the album, but it's not the worst either. It takes a great premise for a song, a guy telling his girl that every romantic thing he ever said was a lie, but completely misses the mark. It had potential to be really funny, but just never delivered the goods. At this point, I've run out of metaphors that imply the song didn't live up to expectations, so I'll move onto the next track.
The White Stuff:
Back in '92 I didn't know what semen was, so the sexual innuendo contained in this songs title eluded me. It is also for this reason that whenever someone says 'the white stuff', I immediately think they are refering to Oreo filling. This can lead to some awkward conversations.
Friend: "Whoa, the chick in that movie was totally covered in the white stuff."
Me: "That lucky whore."
New Kids On The Block also had their own cartoon, but they still weren't as cool as M.C. Hammer. They were a boy band, before the term boy band became the bane of all teenage males. The fact that Donnie is realted to John Cena and was accused of arson also doesn't help matters. This all has nothing to do with the song, but I had to fill space, and NKOTB makes a great waste of space.
When I Was Your Age:
These five words are the antithesis of the emo culture. What? Your father doesn't love you? Well, maybe if you weren't wearing make-up, he wouldn't think you were such an idiot. Why can't he just accept you for who you are? Because he doesn't have to, and he really shouldn't. He does have some standards, even if he did marry your mother. And you better get used to it too. If he won't accept you, neither will society. We have these things called expectations. You may think you can live free of discrimination, but you can't. So get a haircut and get a real job. But wash off the make-up first. If you start crying, I don't want fucking mascara on my fries. Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the song. It takes a classic theme and adds some new elements to it. Not many new elements, as it borrows heavily from Monty Python's 'Four Yorkshire Men', but enough to make it entertaining.
I have no idea how Rico Suave ever became a popular. For that matter, I have no idea why this parody was ever made. It's terrible. Sure it might be funny for the first few seconds, but it just goes on and on, slipping in and out of english. Listing off every authentic mexican dish just doesn't make for a good song. Coupled with awful music, it just makes me want to vómito.
All in this is a pretty sterile song. It talks about some guiys obsession with a stewardess, long before the Britney Spears stewardess uniform became standard on all North American flights. As I was reading along with the lyrics, I found myself becoming quite bored until it got to a line near the end:
Airline Amy, this is my new mission
Gotta get you in an upright locked position
Joining the Mile High club is an honour in itself. To be inducted by a flight attendant is fucking gold.
The Plumbing Song:
Milli Vanilli. Are there any two other rhyming words that illicit such humourous memories, such scandal? Ba-ba-ba-ba-baby, better call the lawyer. Looks like we might get sued. Gonna revoke our grammy. Our lives are fucking screwed. The song doesn't really bring anything the table in terms of originality, I think they changed 'Blame it on the Rain' to 'Blame it on the Drain' and just went from there.
You Don't Love Me Anymore:
Now this is how you end an album in style. Backed only by an acoustic guitar, Al tells the woes of suspecting that his girl no longer cares for him. He feels this way because of the subtle, non-verbal clues that point to her loss of love. These clues include disconnecting the brakes on his car, pushing him down an elevator shaft, and drilling a hole in his head and dumping him in a drainage ditch. The song is very well done and imaginative, its appeal coming from the fact that lyrics are so bizarre. 'Everything You Know Is Wrong' off of the Bad Hair Day album is another good example of this. I've personally had experiences similar to both songs.
Well, that's my brief look at 'Weird' Al Yankovic's Off The Deep End. Anyone who is familiar with Al's work can appreciate it, even if it only funny the first few times you hear it. I try to be like Al by making parodies of songs, but I usually end up getting bitch slapped for singing things like "The First Slut Is The Cheapest", and "Bury your body in my back yard, keep your finger in my shoe. . . ." This probably happens because I parody songs that my acquaintances like. Maybe other people would enjoy them, like Al. I'd never send a parody to him though, apparently he doesn't like that, as indicated on his website, and on his Simpsons cameo. I don't blame him though. If crap like "Living La Vida Yoda," "Combo No. 5," "What If God Smoked Cannabis," and "He Got The Wrong Foot Amputated" are the best people can come up with, everything else must be absolute shit. Parody is a fine art.
Posted by: Valdronius
Oh oh oh oh, The White Stuff.