The Idiotic Genius Strikes Again

Poodle Hat (Volcano)
"Weird" Al Yankovic

by Kory Wilcoxson

Weird Al is a genius. Scoff if you will, but there's no one in the music industry who comes close to doing what he does. His song parodies are not only funny and creative, but they match the originals with such precision that if Al were an art forger, no one could tell the difference - except the Mona Lisa would have a mustache and horns.

Al's latest, Poodle Hat, carries on the wacky tradition. The first single, "Couch Potato," is a riff on TV watching set to "Lose Yourself" By Eminem. Oddly, it doesn't work as well as Al's other parodies, probably because the song was so sparse to begin with that there's not a lot to mimic and the topic feels worn by now.

Not so with "Trash Day," a takeoff of "Hot in Herre" by Nelly ("There's something rotten here/you better hold your nose") or "Ebay," which skewers the Back Street Boys' "I Want It That Way." As usual, Al's versions are easily more listenable than the originals.

Al is known for his parodies, but it's actually his original songs that bring the most laughs and groans, like "Party at the Leper Colony": "There's a guy in the hot tub, I don't know who/wait a minute, it looks like Stu." "Genius in France" is a nine-minute tour de force that must be heard to be believed.

Don't be ashamed of liking him; don't hide his CDs in your Coldplay jewel cases. Celebrate him for what he is: the clown jester of the music industry who often has something more interesting to say than the "serious" artists he spoofs.