Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Horror of Weird Al Yankovic

When I was a kid, my Dad decided to subscribe to Columbia House music.  That was the mail order system where when you joined you got like 10 cassettes (yeah, that's right, I said cassettes.....this was like 1984!) for a dollar each and then you were enrolled in the club and they sent you music every month and if you liked it, you bought it.  If you didn't, you sent it back.  Canceling your subscription was a very difficult process that usually involved dark magic and the slaughter/sacrifice of several small animals.

Anyway, one of the 10 cassettes that my Dad picked to get from the initial offer was Weird Al's Dare To Be Stupid.  He picked it out for me, not only because I loved all the goofy songs that he and my mom would sing to us kids, but because there was a song about Yoda (which of course was a riff on The Kink's Lola)!  This was my first Weird Al album and I listened to it until the tape actual snapped and I had to replace it with the CD years later. 

It was the second track on Side-B that I loved the most...but I'm starting to get ahead of let's take it back to the first album and do this up all chronologically 'n' stuff.  See, Weird Al is known for being a zany, totally out there comedy guy.  What you find when you really look into his lyrics is that he's also incredibly smart and has his finger on the pulse of what's going on in the world.  You'll also find that he has an incredibly dark side and here I shall submit songs from each album for you to ponder over.  Some entries are rather obvious....such as Nature Trail to Hell and Slime Creatures From Outer Space.  Others you have to pay a bit more attention to what your listening to because it's all in the lyrics....such as The Good Ol' Days and You Don't Love Me Anymore.  So let's take a look album by album at some of Al's darker stuff.....

"Weird Al" Yankovic - 1983

Happy Birthday -  You wouldn't think it by the title, but this one deals with some dark stuff, including world poverty, World War III and the destruction of the inner solar system!  Happy Birthday indeed!

Lyric sample:
It doesn't take a military genius to see
We'll all be crispy critters after World War III
There's nowhere you can run to, nowhere you can hide
When they drop the big one, we all get fried

I guess you know the Earth is gonna crash into the sun
But that's no reason why we shouldn't have a little fun
So if you think it's scary, if it's more than you can take
Just blow out the candles and have a piece of cake

Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung - The last track on the album is a pretty catchy little ditty.  Not REALLY dark or horror related, but more just all around kinda sick in a funny way.  The narrator of the song's best friend is an old guy in an Iron Lung.......hilarious.  Wrong, but hilarious!

Lyric Sample

Y'know, Mr. Frump is my very best friend
He's never a chump or a tease
He never tells me lies, and best of all
He never disagrees

Well, unfortunately, soon it came to be
Mr. Frump's dying day
And now I bring to you the very last thing
That Mr. Frump had to say....
[deep breathing, that fades and dies off]


"Weird Al" Yankovic In 3D - 1984

Midnight Star - Another of Al's original tunes.  This one is about the crazy headlines that you used to see on tabloids such as Weekly World News.

Lyric Sample

It said your pet may be an extraterrestrial
It said the ghost of Elvis is living in my den
You can learn to cope with stress
You can beat the IRS
And the incredible frog boy is on the loose again

Eat jelly doughnuts, and lose twenty pounds a day
Hear the story of the man born without a head
And top psychics all agree
That the telephone company
Will have a brand new service that lets you talk to the dead

Nature Trail To Hell - One of my all time favorites of Al's tunes!  The song plays like a trailer for an upcoming slasher movie and is absolutely awesome.  The song starts with the sound of a thunderstorm complete with rain and even some wolves howling.  Awesome stuff.  This song was always popping up in Dr. Demento's Halloween Frightful Five at the end of his halloween shows. 

Sample Lyrics

Coming this Christmas to a theater near you
The most horrifying film that hit the screen.
There's a homicidal maniac who finds a cub-scout troop
and he hacks up two or three in every scene.
Please don't reveal the secret ending to your friends
Don't spoil the big surprise
You won't believe your eyes when you see
Nature Trail To Hell

See severed heads that almost fall right in your lap.
See that bloody hatchet coming right at you.
No, you'll never see hideous effects like these again
Until we bring nature trail to hell part 2
So bring the kids along it's good clean family fun.
What have you got to lose
If you like the 6 O'Clock news then you'll love.
Nature Trail to Hell
Nature trail to hell
Nature trail to hell in 3-D
Nature trail to hell in 3-D
Nature trail to hell in 3-D
Nature Trail to hell in 3-D

Dare To Be Stupid - 1985

Like A Surgeon - I pretty much added this one because it's all about gore and surgery gone wrong.  Not really a dark track per se.

Sample Lyric

Let me see, that I.V.
Here we go - time to operate
I'll pull his indsides out, pull his insides out
And see what he ate

 One More Minute - A song about break ups and the pain of being around your ex afterwards.  Al comes up with some pretty nasty tortures that he would rather endure than spending any further time with his ex.

Sample Lyric

I'd rather rip out my intestines with a fork
Than watch you going out with other men
I'd rather slam my fingers in a door (yah)
Again and again and again and again and again

Yes, I'd rather jump naked on a huge pile of thumbtacks
Or stick my nostrils together with crazy glue
I'd rather dive into a swimming pool filled with double-edged razor blades
Than spend one more minute with you

Slime Creatures From Outer Space - This is it!  This is the song that I was obsessed with when my Dad gave me the Dare To Be Stupid album.  When I listened to this I'd have a whole story of these Slime Creatures play out in my head.  I used to wish that someone would make a movie out of it.....still do actually!

Sample Lyric:

There's more comin' every day
And they just won't go away
Now they're reproducing in the sewers

They got hands all covered with fungus
They got eyes like some kinda bug
I sure hope they don't come in here
I just shampooed the rug

Polka Party - 1986

Just One of Those Days - Great song in which Al talks about mundane annoyances in the same light that he talks about horrible happens....apparently losing a sock in the dryer is just as annoying as having freaks burning crosses out on your front lawn!

Lyric Sample
A 747 crashed into my den
And there's nothin' but tater tots for dinner again
It's just one of those days
Never mind, it's just one of those days

Big steamroller just ran over my mom
And I cut myself shaving and they're dropping the bomb
It's just one of those days
That's all, it's just one of those days

Christmas at Ground Zero - A great apocalyptic Christmas song.  The music is dead on in it's emulation of the classic Christmas tunes....which makes the lyrics about the impending nuclear holocaust all the more disturbing/hilarious.

Lyric Sample

Well it's Christmas at Ground Zero
There's panic in the crowd
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath the mushroom cloud

Oh, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
And if the radiation level's okay
I'll go out with you and see all the new
Mutations on new year's day

Even Worse - 1988

Melanie - This is pretty much a song sung from the perspective of a psycho stalker.  He spends the song pining for the title character before the "big reveal" about his current condition and how psychotic he really is.

Sample Lyric

I just can't understand it
Why won't you return my phone calls
Are you still mad I gave a Mohawk to your cat
If you'd just say the word
I'm certain that our love would last forever and ever
Or are you too dumb to realize that

You weren't impressed when I tattooed your name across my forehead
You wouldn't listen when I promised to be true
I couldn't stand it so I jumped out from the sixteenth story window
Right above you
Now I may be dead but I still love you  

Good Old DaysCall it Melanie's thematic sequel on the album.  Good Old Days is a style parody written in the style of James Taylor.  It is sung from the perspective of a complete psychotic sociopath as he looks back at his younger daysThis is one of the darkest songs that Al's written, I think.

I can still remember good old Mr. Fender
Who ran the corner grocery store
Oh, he'd strolled down the aisle with a big friendly smile
And he'd say "Howdy" when you walked in the door
Always treated me nice, gave me kindly advice
I don't know why I set fire to his place
Oh I'll never forget the day I bashed in his head
Well you should've seen the look on his face

Do you remember sweet Michelle
She was my high school romance
She was fun to talk to and nice to smell
So I took her to the homecoming dance
Then I tied her to a chair and I shaved off all her hair
And I left her in the desert all alone
Well sometimes in my dreams
I can still hear the screams
Oh I wonder if she ever made it home

UHF - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff - 1989

Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars  -  This one really is pretty lighthearted but it's got a similar theme to Slime Creatures.....only with mutated giant hamsters.....

Lyric Sample

Attack of the radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars
They're back and they're lookin' for a snack
And they're not that fond of Burger Kings or salad bars
I hope they're not plannin' to stay
Who invited them here anayway
Attack of the radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars

Well, well, look at that hamster, he's as big as a blimp
And there's one the size of central park
They're using telephone pole to pick their teeth
They're evil and nasty and they glow in the dark
Oh, don't waste any more of your bullets, boys
You know it just makes 'em mad when you shoot
They're gonna stomp us into jelly and conquer the world
But you gotta admit, they're really kinda cute, now

Off The Deep End - 1992

Trigger Happy - A 50''s Beach Boys style ode to firearms, sung from the view point of the paranoid, inept and clumsy gun enthusiast.  NRA be proud.....

 Sample Lyrics

Oh, I accidently shot daddy last night in the den
I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again
Now why'd you have to get so mad?
It was just a lousy flesh wound, Dad
You know, I'm trigger happy, trigger happy every day

Oh, I still haven't figured out the safety on my rifle yet
Little Fluffy took a round, better take him to the vet
I filled that kitty cat so full of lead
We'll have to use him for a pencil instead
Well, I'm so trigger happy, trigger happy every day

You Don't Love Me Anymore - A beautiful ballad about a girlfriend and/or wife who is trying to kill her husband/boyfriend, though he seems to be oblivious of the seriousness of her attempts.....he is in denial that their love is gone.

Sample Lyrics

I knew that we were having problems when
You put those piranhas in my bathtub again
You're still the light of my life
Oh darling, I'm beggin', won't you put down that knife?

You know, I even think it's kinda cute the way
You poison my coffee just a little each day
I still remember the way that you laughed
When you pushed me down that elevator shaft

Alapalooza - 1993

Jurassic Park -  Parody of MacArthur Park, obviously.  Not really dark, but there's fun lyrics about getting disemboweled so that has to count for something, right?

Sample Lyrics

I cannot approve of this attraction
'Cause getting disemboweled always makes me kinda mad
A huge tyrannosaurus ate our lawer
Well, I suppose that proves... they're really not all bad

Jurassic Park is frightning in the dark
All the dinosaurs are running wild
Someone let T. Rex out of his pen
I'm afraid those things'll harm me
'Cause they sure don't act like Barney
And they think that I'm their dinner, not their friend
Oh no.....

Talk Soup -  This one really isn't dark at all, but I thought I would include it because it's a cousin to Midnight Star in a sense.  This song is about all the crazy people you see on daytime talk tv shows.  There are some nods to Bigfoot and close encounters in there so that helps....

Sample Lyrics

I'm just an anorexic codependant bingo addict
Stripper born without a chin
And I'm only comfortable talking about it
When the whole wide world is listening in

I'm just a cross-dressin' alcoholic neo-Nazi
Porno star, as you may have guessed
And I'm really gonna feel a whole lot better
If you let me get this thing off my chest

Bad Hair Day - 1996

Everything You Know Is Wrong -  This is a pretty far out there song, which I love.  Again, not really dark per se.....but it's got tons of bizarreness in it.  The song is another style this case of They Might Be Giants.  One of my all time favorites!

Sample Lyrics

And as I'm laying bleeding there on the asphalt
Finally I recognize the face of my hibachi dealer
Who takes off his prosthetic lips and tells me
Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn't matter

I was walkin' to the kitchen for some Golden Grahams
When I accidentally stepped into an alternate dimension
And soon I was abducted by some aliens from space
Who kinda looked like Jamie Farr
They sucked out my internal organs
And they took some polaroids
And said I was a darn good sport
And as a way of saying thank you
They offered to transport me back to
Any point in history that I would care to go

I Remember Larry - Song about a guy reminiscing about a neighborhood kid who used to pull horrible pranks on everyone....until revenge was served!  

Sample Lyrics

Say, do you remember that guy Larry next door
Well, he always was the neighborhood clown
Like the time he took my pants off and he took those color pictures
And posted copies all over town
Or the time that he dumped toxic waste on my lawn
Or those wacky prank phone calls from midnight 'till dawn
What a crazy kid Larry was, always foolin' around

Say, do you remember when I broke in Larry's house
Late at night and tied his mouth with a rag
Then I dragged him by his ankles to the middle of the forest
And stuffed him in a big plastic bag
If the cops ever find him, who knows what they'd say
But I'm sure if ol' Lar' were still with us today
He would have to agree with me it was a pretty good gag

The Night Santa Went Crazy -   This is another one of Al's songs that I think would make an awesome movie!  Plenty of nice descriptive lines about the carnage that ol' Saint Nick inflicted!

Sample Lyrics

Down in the workshop all the elves were makin' toys
For the good Gentile girls and the good Gentile boys
When the boss busted in, nearly scared 'em half to death
Had a rifle in his hands and cheap whiskey on his breath
From his beard to his boots he was covered with ammo
Like a big fat drunk disgruntled Yuletide Rambo
And he smiled as he said with a twinkle in his eye,
"Merry Christmas to all - now you're all gonna die!"

Well, the workshop is gone now, he decided to bomb it
Everywhere you'll find pieces of Cupid and Comet
And he tied up his helpers and he held the elves hostage
And he ground up poor Rudolph into reindeer sausage
He got Dancer and Prancer with an old German Luger
And he slashed up Dasher just like Freddy Krueger
And he picked up a flamethrower and he barbequed Blitzen
And he took a big bite and said, "It tastes just like chicken!"

Running With Scissors - 1999

Your Horoscope For Today - Another song that I think has a bit of a relation to Midnight Star.  Mainly because I'm pretty convinced that these are the horoscopes printed in the latest addition of the fictitious tabloid.  Some humorously grisly stuff......

Sample Lyrics

Your birthday party will be ruined once again by your explosive flatulence
Your love life will run into trouble when your fiance hurls a javelin through your chest

All Virgos are extremely friendly and intelligent - except for you
Expect a big surprise today when you wind up with your head impaled upon a stick

Albuquerque - Holy hell.  I'm not even sure if this technically classifies itself as a song.....think Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant on a crack/meth cocktail.  In other words...pure genius.

Sample Lyrics

Well, I checked into my room and I turned down the A/C
And I turned on the SpectraVision
And I'm just about to eat that little chocolate mint on my pillow
That I love so very, very much when suddenly, there's a knock on the door

Well now, who could that be?

I say "Who is it?"
No answer
"Who is it?"
There's no answer
They're not sayin' anything

So, finally I go over and I open the door and just as I suspected

It's some big fat hermaphrodite with a Flock-Of-Seagulls haircut and only one nostril
Oh man, I hate it when I'm right
So anyway, he bursts into my room and he grabs my lucky snorkel
And I'm like "Hey, you can't have that"
"That snorkel's been just like a snorkel to me"
And he's like "Tough"
And I'm like "Give it"
And he's like "Make me"
And I'm like "'Kay"
So I grabbed his leg and he grabbed my esophagus
And I bit off his ear and he chewed off my eyebrows
And I took out his appendix and he gave me a colonic irrigation
Yes indeed, you better believe it
And somehow in the middle of it all, the phone got knocked off the hook
And twenty seconds later, I heard a familiar voice
And you know what it said?
I'll tell you what it said

Poodle Hat - 2003

Party at the Leper Colony - Another fine example of Al's sick and twisted sense of humor.  Obviously the jokes involve various body parts falling off of people.

Sample Lyrics

Finger food and an ice cold keg
It won't cost you an arm and a leg
Dance all night to a rotten band
Come on, people, let's give 'em a hand
Met a little lady so pretty and young
She was quite a little talker 'till the cat got her tongue
She oozed up beside me, I turned on my charm
Well, pretty soon she was completely disarmed
Why Does This Always Happen To Me - Al sings about horrible tragedies and how the minor inconvenience that it causes him is truly the most awful thing that could happen.  This is actually a pretty sharp commentary on the state of society.  In this day and age of You Tube and constant streaming news we have become so jaded that tragedies don't seem quite so horrible.....because we constantly hear about them. 

Sample Lyrics

I was driving down the highway when all the traffic slowed to a crawl
There was a twelve-car pile-up, everybody dead
And I saw brains and guts and vital organs splattered everywhere
As well as my friend Robert's disembodied head

And I thought - Poor Rob, I just had lunch with him

Hey, wait a minute, he still owes me money - what a jerk
Well, there's five bucks that I'm never gonna see again
Plus now, on top of everything else, it looks like I'm gonna be late to work
Straight Outta Lynwood - 2006

Do I Creep You Out? - Another stalker ballad.....a parody of the song Do I Make You Proud?

Sample Lyric

I like to feel
The warm spot on your chair
Sometimes I drool
And usually I stare
My precious one
I saved that gum
That you threw in the garbage

You're the one I dream about

But the only question with me now
Is "Do I creep you out?"
Everytime I shake your hand now
Wanna stick your fingers in my mouth
Do I creep you out? 
 Weasel Stomping Day - Al up to his demented best.  The theme song for the title made up holiday.  I wish it was a real holiday though....sounds like fun!  Kidding of course.  What really makes this song is the crunching and squishing sounds accompanied by the sound of screaming weasels....

Sample Lyrics

All the little girls and boys
Love that wonderful crunching noise
You'll know what this day's about
When you stomp a weasel's guts right out

So, come along and have a laugh

Snap their weasely spines in half
Grap your boots and stomp your cares away
Hip hip hooray, it's Weasel Stomping Day 

Al released a brand new album yesterday titled Alpocalypse.  I have not had a chance to listen to it yet so I can not as of yet comment on the songs that appear on that album....once I get a few good listens in, I will add the newest album to the list....but this should keep ya going for a while.  If you are an Al fan, then I'm sure you'll enjoy going back and revisiting these songs.  Or maybe you're new to Al's that case I hope you find this a good jumping off point.


  1. I meant to return to this after I read it last week to comment, and then I saw something shiny.

    I love Al. In 3-D was the second cassette I ever bought, and I wore it out. I always thought his original, non-parody songs were ultimately more interesting than the parodies. Both Nature Trail To Hell and Slime Creatures From Outer Space are on the Pre'Ween Halloween Monster Mix ( Adrienne and I just recently spent an evening tracking down all the videos from the new album.

    I had the good fortune to see Al live at James Madison University when he was touring in support of Dare To Be Stupid. It's still one of the most thoroughly entertaining live shows I've ever seen. He did One More Minute, and it was incredible.

  2. I love Weird Al too. My Dad got Dare To Be Stupid as part of his "free" cassettes from Columbia House Music Club. I wore that tape out in no time! Nature Trail to Hell and Slime Creatures From Outer Space are always a part of my Halloween music mix too....along with Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars! I bought is new album, Mandatory Fun the day it came out and it's fantastic!

    I agree. The parodies are funny and all, but it's his original music that I enjoy more than anything. He is really a genius when it comes to music composition. Plus he's got one of the tightest bands I've ever heard. I mean, DAMN they're good!

    I never got to see Weird Al until he played the Hampton Ballroom Casino (Hampton Beach, NH) for his Running With Scissors Tour. It was on of the best shows I've ever seen!