‘Mandatory Fun’ is mandatory listening pleasure

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First Posted: 7/16/2014

Throughout his nigh-forty year career, “Weird Al” Yankovic has put smiles on millions of people’s faces with his funny and witty parodies of the music industry’s top hits. With the release of “Mandatory Fun,” Weird Al is taking more hits and putting his usual twist onto them – and there isn’t much wrong going on here. His parodies are great, his style parodies are on point, and the always wonderful polka medley is absolutely grin-inducing.

The thing that brings everyone to a Weird Al album is the parodies. The standouts on the album are… well… all of them. Honestly—they are all extremely well written, and it’s really difficult to pick one over the other, though everyone will have their personal favorites.

“Foil” is a pretty amazing parody on Lorde’s “Royals,” but that’s all that can be said without giving away any of the comedy gold. “Word Crimes” and “Tacky” are two more personal favorites with great themes and commentary.

When he isn’t directly parodying specific songs, he is still parodying artists’ styles. With tracks like “Lame Claim to Fame,” “My Own Eyes,” and “Mission Statement,” Weird Al parodies the styles of Southern Culture on the Skids, the Foo Fighters, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash respectively. These tracks are all originally written by Mr. Yankovic. It is these kinds of tracks that show Weird Al’s range as a musician and writer. Also, is it possible to just get an album of polkafied pop songs? Because “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!” is amazing.

Ever since his first parody, “Belvedere Cruisin,’” was heard in 1976 on Dr. Demento’s radio show, Weird Al has not slowed down musically or creatively. He has created timeless, fun music for decades, and “Mandatory Fun” shows that Weird Al’s well has not run dry.

– Rich Cicci, Weekender Correspondent