I’m going to come out and say what we’re all thinking: Weird Al Yankovic is a god among mortals. First of all, he does not age. He’s 54 but looks basically the same as he did when he was parodying Michael Jackson in the ’80s or Nirvana in the ’90s. Second, he’s really smart, Revenge of the Nerds personified, standing out amongst multiple generations of satirists as a maestro who can see any pop earworm as a blank canvas over which to design a completely new creation.
Oftentimes these creations end up being catchier (and obviously, far funnier) than the originals — when I hear Don McLean’s “American Pie,” it’s a toss-up whether I’ll remember the actual lyrics, or absentmindedly sing, “Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi” instead. The same goes for “Gangsta’s Paradise” — Al’s “Amish Paradise” always jumps into my mind instead.
With his new album, Mandatory Fun, released last week, Weird Al ruins/improves the pop songs of a new generation (“Blurred Lines,” “Happy,” “Royals”), and throws in pastiches of some older bands for good measure (Pixies; Crosby, Stills, and Nash). As you’re likely aware, Yankovic released eight music videos over eight days, a little Hanukkah in July if you will, to promote the album. While some of the videos are sharply perceptive and nice to listen to on their own, others are straight-up annoying — albeit generally in that endearing, brotherly way.
Here are all eight videos for your viewing and listening pleasure, ranked from worst to best: