Weird Al Yankovic, the king of music parody has returned with his long-awaited new record, Mandatory Fun, which is the comedy legend’s final release of his current record deal, marking the end of a 32-year album deal that has the release of multiple masterpieces.
From the beginning with his self-titled record all the way up through his previous release, Weird Al has been a go-to when it comes to music parody, having revamped virtually every major hit in pop, rock and rap. His talent as a musician and lyricist has always been underrated and his genius has often been hidden behind the reputation as a parodist.
Mandatory Fun sees Yankovic “making fun” of current megastars Lorde, Robin Thicke, Imagine Dragons, Pharrell and others while including his signature polka medley and a few style parodies which are a mainstay on Yankovic’s albums.
He transforms “Royals” into “Foil,” “Radioactive” into “Inactive,” “Blurred Lines” into “Word Crimes,” “Fancy “ into “Handy” and the style parodies include Foo Fighters, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Cat Stevens and The Pixies, all of which are spot-on.
This time around the polka medley (“NOW That’s What I Call Polka!”) features “Wrecking Ball,” “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Gangam Style,” “Call Me Maybe,” “Somebody That I Used to Know” and many more, all of which are done to perfection by the polka master himself.
As always, Yankovic’s ability to channel what’s popular and relevant is immaculate. It takes more talent to produce a good parody than most people think. There’s a reason Yankovic has been able to make a 30+ year career doing what he’s doing while others who have attempted through the years fail and do so miserably.
While Yankovic went through a dry period in his career, he’s rebounded impressively and it started with “White and Nerdy” (parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty”) and escalated with “Perform this Way” (Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”). With the parodies on Mandatory Fun, Yankovic’s career will do nothing but continue to improve as there’s no filler on this one.
He recently said that with his record deal coming to an end, he may not release another record but may shift to releasing singles. This may help his career even more as in the pop world, fans don’t buy full albums as much as they do in other genres. Fans buys singles now and with Yankovic doing parodies of songs that are popular at a certain time, by the time he gets a full album of material, some of the songs may not be as relevant anymore.
Here’s what it comes down to- as always, Weird Al has created not just an incredible album but a comedic parody masterpiece that, 14 albums in, solidifies his spot on the comedy music throne and makes him virtually untouchable.
Whether you grew up listening to Yankovic, followed him from the beginning or just discovering him and regardless of whether or not you know anything about pop culture, this album will be not just a home run, but a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of extra innings.