Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Flow, Flow into the Duodenum

Weird Al Yankovic released a new album not long ago, which means that YouTube is even more awash in his videos than you'd expect under normal conditions. I don't think any of the kids will pick up on it, but from what I've heard so far Al's real coups on this album take off of musicians who've been performing even longer than his own two-plus decades.

"Bob", his Bob Dylan parody comprised entirely of sung palindromes, seems gimmicky on paper but sticks Dylan's early style, pushing it not too far across the border between cryptic and nonsensical. (Alex Ross gives some props to the similarly brilliant video.) "Pancreas" is a pretty stylistically spot-on take on Brian Wilson's long-delayed SMiLE, mimicking its Beach Boys-extracted vocals and its kitchen-sink concept album aesthetic. Even its nonsense lyrics, focused entirely if not with perfect medical accuracy on the pancreas, would fit in well enough with Wilson's own odd, damaged man-child material. (If you run the song to about the two minute mark you'll hear my favorite Weird Al moment in a long time, as he describes the gravitational attraction that a pancreas exerts on any other pancreas as though it is a mystical, pancreas-specific force; in the video you see two pancreata spiralling into a kind of yin-yang.) Musically, as in the Dylan takeoff, Weird Al is typically chameleonic. The biggest point against it is probably that it's nowhere near as batty as Brian Wilson's actual songs.


Blogger Mike said...

Just to clarify, the song "Bob" is actually on his previous record "Poodlehat" from 2003.

10/31/2006 1:48 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

Duly noted. My Weird Al tracking has been a little neglected since, oh, 1996 or so...

10/31/2006 12:07 PM  

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