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Archive for the ‘UHF’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al [Vanity Edtion]

This book came to my work and I said, Hey I have this!  And then I said, but my cover is orange.  What gives?

And then I saw that Rabin, inspired by Al’s Ill-Advised Vanity tour expanded this book.  Or actually, since there is very little information about these books, perhaps he wrote them at the same time and released a shorter and longer version.  But why would he do that?

The first 366 pages are the same but, (and here’s the thing that messed with my head) they are not exactly the same.  Now, I didn’t read the same text in both books and compare them (that would be really insane). But I did flip through the book comparing paragraph and chapter breaks.  The text appears to be the same in both books.  BUT, the paragraphs are not!  For reasons that I don’t understand, in book 1 some pages end with paragraph F, but in book 2, with the same exact text, the page now ends with paragraph E.  Like the spacing of a period threw off all of the justification (Users of Word will know what I’m talking about).

So I’m assuming that both books are the same.

And then the new stuff was added to Book 2 (or taken out of Book 1, whatever).

Starting on page 368 we move on to Other Stuff. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al

After writing the “Weird Al” biography, with “Weird Al” himself, Nathan Rabin dug even deeper into his “Weird Al” fandom to write a detailed account of, as the subtitle says, “Every ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Album Analyzed in Obsessive Detail.”

“Weird Al” wrote the (short) introduction and then Nathan drops the needle on “Weird Al” Yankovic, Al’s 1983 debut album.

Nathan goes into varying degrees of detail on each of the songs.  Nathan was a rabid “Weird Al” fan from when he was a little kid.  And when he talks about how much he loves Al, you can see his deep abiding appreciation for everything Al has done.

Some songs get a paragraph, nut most get a page or so.  He usually talks about how much he likes (or loves) the song (and occasionally dislikes).  There’s nostalgia in the older songs and jokes and observations about contemporary things as well (Rabin’s politics poke through once in a while.  Good thing he’s a smart guy.

Because he did the Al biography with Al, he presumably got a lot of insight into the man and his work.  So although sometimes his insights seem like maybe he’s reading too much into a goofy parody, perhaps he’s on to things.  Maybe Al’s depth is deeper than rhyming Sharona with Bologna.  Which is not in any way to diminish Al’s intelligence.  He’s obviously very smart, especially as his later songs indicate.

Rabin’s tone throughout the book is smart and snarky.  He talks about the songs and the video (if there is one).  He talks about the production quality (or lack thereof) on the first album.  He references Dr. Demento (because the Dr is essential to Al’s career).  He also references Don DeLillo’s White Noise and says things like “Al is in deconstructionist mode.” (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 16, 2018] “Weird Al” Yankovic

The last time I saw “Weird Al” I kind of assumed that would be the last time I saw him…  I love his shows but I have seen him possibly more than any other performer.  I joked with my friend Matt that I wished he would play a deep cut amid all of the hits.   his originals.

Well lo and beheld, Al listened and announced this tour, the brilliantly named The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.  And when he announced the show, he explained that there would be no costumes: “Please note: this is a scaled-down tour in smaller, more intimate theaters, with limited production (no costumes, props, or video screens) and Al’s set list will be comprised almost entirely of his original (non-parody) songs.” (more…)

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bookSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Belevdere Cruisin” (1976).

belevder This is the first song that Al recorded and submitted to Dr. Demento.  And it was a huge success.  I hadn’t heard it before (it’s not on his box set (not so surprisingly)).

It is a fairly straight song.  It’s a funny (kind of) song about riding in a Plymouth Belvedere.  I imagine the premise of the song is funnier if its 1976 and you see lots of big old Belvederes on the road (when I looked for pictures online, most of what I got was beautifully restored classics, which undermines the humor here).  Although judging from the promo photo above they’re not exactly a sexy car.

It’s a fully realized song played entirely on the accordion.  The song opens with an intro from Hungarian Rhapsody #2 adding faux drama to the funny ditty. And then Al sings about his family’s car and how much he loves it.  So there’s lines like: “just the thought of a Pinto leaves me shaking” and the nascent smart alec: “Watch me pass that Porsche on the right.”    The chorus gives us the truth: “In a Belvedere I can really get my thrills.”

And while the song doesn’t do anything too weird, there is a funny moment where he sings, “Datsuns ain’t worth a fudge…sicle, no.”

It’s a charming little ditty that in no one prepares one for the mad genius that he would become.

[READ: October 12, 2014] Weird Al: The Book

This biography of Weird Al is written by Nathan Rabin.  I actually read Rabin’s more recent book about Phish and Insane Clown Posse in which he talks about writing the Weird Al book (and how he was a in a dark place when he wrote it).  Having recently watched a bunch of biographical stuff about Weird Al (he’s everywhere lately), there was really nothing new in this book for me.  I should have read it when it came out, duh.

In fact, nearly everything that is mentioned in the book is in the TV specials. The biggest addition that Rabin adds, and its a good one, is his personal insights into Al (he had thanked Al on his memoir).  Most enjoyably, it’s nice to hear someone praise Al’s original songs–sometimes even more than the parodies.  Al’s originals have always been clever and fun and, while fans already know it (and its fans who will buy this book), it’s nice to see it in print as well. (more…)

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