Monday, July 21, 2014

Thoughts on "Weird Al" Yankovic's Mandatory Fun

Years ago, when I was just a wee baby customer service guy working at the store, I had a co-worker who told me, and anyone else who asked, that the most consistent artist of the last 20 years was "Weird Al" Yankovic. There's a certain logic to that: When he's at his best, Al is finely tuned into the pop cultural consciousness, twisting it to his own ends with a well-developed comedic sensibility. For anyone who first encountered Al in grade school, especially in the '80s or '90s, his work in the '00s and '10s has been glorious. I think that's the key: if you grow up with that sort of sense of humour, then at the very least there's still going to be something to enjoy on every Weird Album. Mandatory Fun, his latest release, and final on his recording contract, is actually loaded with a rich vein of comedic material and spot-on style parodies. Amidst the plethora of comedy songsters now working today, none pushes their work to quite the level Al does. A combination of zeitgeist and pure quality have made this album a real world-beater.