Song Of The Day 2/3/2017: “Weird” Al Yankovic – “White & Nerdy”

You Pick The Artist - The Final Picking -- John Manini suggested "Weird" Al Yankovic, and almost immediately a chorus of my Facebook friends chimed in to support the nomination. It was like a filibuster. So I capitulated. I love "Weird" Al as a human being. I didn't buy his records because by the time he rolled around I was completely into that serious music, don't you know, but he seems like the nicest guy in the music industry. I would love to interview him at some point, if stardom doesn't go to his head. (It's been 30 years, I'm gonna say that's not likely.) And I will say this -- this is something I've long wanted to talk about in relation to Al and parody music in general:

My favorite musical parodist of all time remains Spike Jones. Not the visual media director, who's also really good at what he does, but the jazz age comedian who took the Great American Songbook and turned it into pure insanity for thirty years or so. The thing about Spike is that although he poked a great amount of fun at popular music and its sentimental conventions, you could tell from his records that he loved the music he parodied. He wasn't mean-spirited, always operated from a standpoint of manic glee, and obviously knew the songs inside and out enough to deconstruct them the way he did. The Rolling Stone Album Guide offered that same analysis of Spike Jones in contrast to their assessment of Stan Freberg, who the Album Guide disliked because he clearly hated the rock music he parodied. It was "borne of misunderstanding," I believe they said.

Anyway, "Weird" Al obviously has a great deal of affection for the music he mimics. He zings pretty well. My favorite track of his happens to be his most successful single of all time, "White & Nerdy," which was a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin'." Simply because it's perfectly executed and stuffed with all the sub-references we'd come to expect from a man of Al's esteem. Yeah, I'm sure there were some Pro Tools tricks involved, but I bet Chamillionaire did that too. Thanks, John!

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