If The Lonely Island are the most popular comedy band in the world today, then Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic is definitely the most dedicated comedy musician of all-time. Since releasing his debut self-titled album way back in 1983, the 51-year-old parody prankster has set the standard for comedic reworkings of popular music more than anyone else in the business. Alpocalypse is Yankovic’s latest offering and his 13th full-length studio album, and comes almost five years after the release of Straight Outta Lynwood, his most popular release to date.
Dedicated Weird Al fans may be disappointed at the lack of new material on the album: five of the 12 songs were featured on the 2009 EP Internet Leaks, and many of the remaining tracks emerged way before the release of the album. For casual and curious listeners, however, the collection provides a decent insight into Yankovic’s style; Alpocalypse is a traditional Weird Al album, featuring a good mix of traditional parodies (‘Whatever You Like‘), style parodies (‘Ringtone‘) and the obligatory polka medley (‘Polka Face’).
The main selling point for Alpocalypse has proven to be ‘Perform This Way‘, a parody of Lady Gaga‘s hit ‘Born This Way’, and for obvious reasons. The song pokes fun at Gaga’s eccentric practices — mainly her unconventional dress sense — but does so in a way which actually belittles those critics who oppose her behaviour. Other highlights include ‘CNR‘, a style parody of The White Stripes about Charles Nelson Reilly and his Chuck Norris-esque abilities; ‘Another Tattoo‘, a cover of ‘Nothin’ on You’ by B.o.B and Bruno Mars about someone who is addicted to getting tattoos; and ‘Craigslist‘, a style parody of The Doors detailing various ridiculous listings on the classified ads website of the same name. The polka medley, ‘Polka Face’, is as enjoyable as previous offerings, if a bit short, and compiles such hit songs as Owl City‘s ‘Fireflies’, Justin Bieber‘s ‘Baby’, and Kesha‘s ‘Tik Tok’.
Alpocalypse proves that Weird Al is still the force to be reckoned with on the comedy music scene. Both the ‘traditional’ (cover) parodies and the ‘original’ (style) parodies are executed with style and precision, and can be widely enjoyed and appreciated by any type of listener, regardless of whether they are familiar with the subject song/artist or not. Yankovic has always tried to create music of simple fun and goofiness, and this album does not fail to deliver. Alpocalypse can also be purchased with the accompanying music videos, which provide a second level of enjoyment on top of the music itself.
Strengths: The quality of the compositions and performances on the album are top-notch, with excellent production and music videos.
Weaknesses: Some parodies may go over the heads of people unfamiliar with the original work, and some are slightly out-of-date as a lot of the album was recorded a couple of years ago.