WARNING: My musical geekitude is strongly expressed in this post.
M. Z is loving the Weird Al CD we got him for his birthday. He's been asking us to bring it along on the drive to and from camp, he's listening to it in his room while he's reading, and he's trying desperately to memorize all the lyrics to "White & Nerdy." All this might sound, well, white and/or nerdy, but I'm fucking loving it. It's the first time he's ever really gotten into music (with the exception of his yearslong obsession with "Barbie Girl," that I prefer not to talk about) and, to me, it's very exciting. I was worrying that he was never going to get that into music -- at least non-novelty song, popular music. And, believe it or not, I'm not lumping Weird Al into the "novelty song" category because, basically, the dude is a fucking genius.
That's right, I said Weird Al Yankovic is a fucking genius.
Yes, he wrote "My Bologna," and "Another One Rides the Bus," and "Eat It," and "I Think I'm a Clone Now," (which are all hilarious, mind you) but the dude is pretty fucking subversive. He presents himself as this unhip, wacky dorkus, but he's basically skewering popular music with every song he puts out. This is best illustrated in the polka medleys that he includes on every CD. He takes all the hits of the year, speeds them all up, switches them all into major keys and adds Spike Jonesian whistles, bells and sound effects, basically turning the tune into a major fuck-you to Top 40 radio. All the angsty rockers end up looking like complete douches and the rappers, with all their self-important macho posturing, fare even worse. Case in point:
(He also does an amazing polka version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that almost surpasses the original in brilliance.)
So, he's got this kinda stealthy cutting satire going on in his radio-friendly covers of pop tunes. Fine. But he really shines when he displays his true musical geekitude. Now, if you know me (and I think you don't), you know that I'm a HUGE Brian Wilson devotee. Ever since I was a wee crabbykid, I would geek out to Beach Boys albums, studying the harmonies and flipping my lid over all the bizarre non-sequiturian changes and instrumentation. I have all the box sets and my nipples still freeze and snap off when I listen to the vocals-only tracks on the Pet Sounds rarities disk I have.
So, you can imagine my delight when I heard the second track on Mr. Z's CD, called "Pancreas." It is pure Brian Wilson Smile-era schizophrenatude, and it reveals an intimate knowledge, on the part of Mr. Yankovic, of all things Wilsonian. It's steeped in themes and variations from "God Only Knows," "Heroes & Villains," "Good Vibrations," "Vegetables," and "That Same Song," and, to my further delight, it's Mr. Z's favorite tune on the disk. He listens to it over and over and over. Last night, as he was listening to it before bed, he enthused, "I just want to hear it one more time -- I almost have all the lyrics memorized!"
A single tear welled up in my eye. He'd grown up just like me... My boy was just like me...
And, the song's hilarious, to boot. I can't think of anything I'd rather have the boy listening to right now. Of course, the transition to him listening to all my Beach Boys CDs is now that much easier. My master musical plan is falling into place.
Anywhich, it's now your turn to experience Weird Al's "Pancreas," his tribute to Brian Wilson. And please listen all the way to the end... you won't regret it.
A big shout out to all the members of weirdalforum.com who are visiting (saw your visits via statcounter)! It's comforting (and a tad disconcerting) knowing that you're out there monitoring all things Al. Or is it Al things all?