Weird Al Yankovic
Mandatory Fun


3.5
great

Review

by Cultclassical USER (52 Reviews)
July 15th, 2014 | 118 replies


Release Date: 07/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Some priest got drunk and stole a circus zebra and trained it to massage his back. My guinea pig committed harakiri so we used him to play hacky-sack.

I find it a little vexing when I hear and read people claiming that Weird Al Yankovic has “lost it”, that he will never be able to top what he did in the 90’s and should just hang it up. If anything, Weird Al has shown a remarkable stubbornness throughout his career that has trended against changing. This is especially true in recent outings where you can be sure there will be a song poking fun at some aspect of American culture, a song consisting of a random list of things or situations, a 7+ minute epic, and of course his magnificent parodies. In short, it’s not Weird Al that’s changed, it’s you.

And that’s completely fine, after all, is it Al’s fault that he’s had to go from working with Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Nirvana songs to Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea? Despite this perceived downturn in the quality he has to work with, Weird Al has continually produced high-quality, relevant, and most importantly, funny parodies and that timeless trend continues with his 14th LP, Mandatory Fun.

Released with virtually no advertising with the only pre-release teaser being an 11-second trailer, (although he promises to release a new music video every day after release for 8 days) Weird Al seems to realize that word-of-mouth is his best hype generator. Mandatory Fun kicks off with “Handy” a parody of the beloved “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. This song really sets the precedent for the rest of the album, as Mandatory Fun contains some of Weird Al’s greatest parodies in recent memory. Along with “Handy”, “Foil” (Royals by Lorde), and “Tacky” (Happy by Pharrell) display the man’s remarkable ability to keep the original’s melody note for note while telling some hilarious stories. Unfortunately, with the exception of “First World Problems” the originals barely hold a candle to the parodies which makes Mandatory Fun a scattered listen once you find your favorite songs.

Even with this dichotomy in quality throughout the album, it’s hard to argue against Weird Al’s knowledge of the workings of whatever decade he’s worked through. Quite simply the man is a pop-culture nerd, he displays it with every song poking fun at American culture, every celebrity’s name he drops, and every Polka song. “First World Problems” is easily the best original song here and the subject matter is pure comedy gold, only being enhanced because it’s so true. “Tacky” not only pokes fun at Pharrell’s hit “Happy”, but at all the awful social trends that have come and gone (or stayed) like taking pictures of your food and posting in online and wearing crocs. A clever allusion to the game “Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon” in the album’s second song really brings home the fact that Weird Al’s finger is still firmly on the pulse of pop-culture.

I’ll say it again, Weird Al’s lyrical skills have not diminished one bit, he is just as silly as he has always been, and he conveys this silliness with as much artistry as he entered the game with back in the 80’s. Mandatory Fun is simply more Weird Al Yankovic, you know exactly what you’re going to get and I for one grinned immediately after pressing the play button for the first time and for that I like to think, at least in my case, his job has been accomplished yet again.



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user ratings (76)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
July 15th 2014


12296 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More gold from the Master:

http://www.cinemablend.com/pop/Weird-Al-Takes-Pharrell-With-Colorfully-Cameo-Filled-Video-Tacky-65230.html

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Futures
July 15th 2014


12042 Comments


i love this man

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

tempest--
July 15th 2014


14383 Comments


omg sweet Calc reviewing Weird Al this is amazing

BMDrummer
July 15th 2014


9404 Comments


New Weird Al? shweet

Digging: Fugazi - First Demo

demigod!
July 15th 2014


45002 Comments


i like how he let the fans decide on which songs go on to be singles, pretty cool

love al, havent heard his music since Lynwood tho

Digging: Autechre - LP5

Futures
July 15th 2014


12042 Comments


top 5 person ever

Slut
July 15th 2014


2476 Comments


saw the music video for tacky today. it was neat

OmairSh
July 15th 2014


11917 Comments


The man from the Amish Paradise.

Digging: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt

paradox1216
July 15th 2014


511 Comments


I used to sleep every night to this man's albums. Goddamn beautiful XD

fromtheinside
July 15th 2014


19029 Comments


i was JUST debating on whether or not to add the news on his new music vid per day

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

Wolfhorde
July 15th 2014


13686 Comments


Video for Tacky is swell.

ScuroFantasma
July 15th 2014


2428 Comments


Anyone seen his appearance in ERB? Also great review Calc.

Digging: Behemoth - The Satanist

Kris.
July 15th 2014


12424 Comments


missing a period at the end of the second paragraph

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2014


22033 Comments


that album cover/name lol

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Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2014


31475 Comments


And that’s completely fine, after all, is it Al’s fault that he’s had to go from working with
Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Nirvana songs to Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea?


Needs a semi-colon after "completely fine". But more to the point, it is kind of his fault when he
chooses parody as his stock and trade

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

iswimfast
July 15th 2014


1340 Comments


well when you're the only one capable of pulling it off consistently i guess it makes sense to keep doing what you're doing

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2014


31475 Comments


That's not the point. An argument is being made that it's everyone else's fault that Weird Al doesn't have anything to work with. Why? Because his parodies aren't as good as they once were? Whose fault is that?

MrxSelfxDestruct
July 15th 2014


495 Comments


I grew up with this guy haha. Semi colons aren't necessary in any avenue of writing, they're only used for flow and style.

Loved the video for tacky.

Tunaboy45
July 15th 2014


2886 Comments


Drive thru will always be my favorite of his.

iswimfast
July 15th 2014


1340 Comments


i think it's another thing entirely. songs don't become 'universally known' quite as often as they used to. we don't see as many cut and dry songs of the year anymore.

his skill in parody hasn't changed, but the impact of said parodies is lost when the audience is not overwhelmingly aware of what is being parodied.



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