Still Weird After All These Years

Straight Outta Lynnwood (Volcano Entertainment)
Weird Al Yankovic

By Kory Wilcoxson

Weird Al Yankovic is a genius. Scoff if you want, but the man has the incredible ability to take a straightforward song and mangle it in such a way that not only makes you laugh, but stays true to the soul of the original. His efforts are more like smirking homages than cheap parodies.

Which is why his latest effort is a bit of a disappointment. Weird Al's abilities haven't dulled; he can still turn a song like "American Idiot" into a rip on all things Canadian ("Don't want to be a Canadian idiot/don't want to be some beer swillin' hockey nut"). But some of the other parodies aren't as meaty, probably because of the weak source material (Taylor Hicks and R. Kelly are almost too easy to parody for a man of Weird Al's skills).

Weird Al's original songs have always been hit and miss and it's no different on Lynnwood. His standard polka medley lacks the usual zany inspiration and the Beach Boys-inspired "Pancreas" doesn't feel up to Weird Al standards. However, he does get a few laughs from "I'll Sue Ya" and "Virus Alert," and "Close But No Cigar" is a great showcase for his out-of-left-field sense of humor.

What Weird Al does cannot be easy and yet he has constantly amazed with his ability to simultaneously honor and skewer pop songs. You have to applaud his persistence, even if you don't appreciate his humor. But not everything he throws against the wall is going to stick.

For more weirdness, check out www.weirdal.com.