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“Weird Al” Yankovic: WEIRD - The Al Yankovic Story (Original Soundtrack)
A review of the soundtrack album to the “Weird Al” biopic - which is totally and utterly for fans. But I am one, hence writing about it briefly…
“Weird Al” Yankovic
WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story (Original Soundtrack)
I guess it used to be the obvious thing to say, that the soundtrack was really for fans of the film - in this case a funny ‘biopic’ of “Weird Al”’s life and career that is both parody and the ‘real’ thing in a way similar to Howard Stern’s Private Parts. But I feel like, with this, it’s absolutely essential, particularly since it’s a montage of score and songs and snippets - and also because the score (albeit masterfully concocted by composers Dan Light, Ramiro Rodriguez, Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson) is really rather zany and punchy (as you’d probably expect/hope) and isn’t there for an easy-listening experience away from any knowledge of the movie.
But, a bit more on that, Birenberg and Robinson were sound choices, they have been behind all of the score for every season of Cobra Kai, so there knowledge and skill around retro-fitting 80s-inspired sounds comes into play again perfectly in this project.
Anyway, aside from their work, which fills out the second half of this album, there are a half dozen classic cuts from “Weird Al” - newly recorded in 2022 for the film - so it works as a sampler, if you can’t quite make it through one of his full albums, and/or you’ve misplaced your copies of Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.
My Bologna (from My Sharona), I Love Rocky Road (from I Love Rock’n’Roll), Another One Rides The Bus (from Another One Bites The Dust), Eat It (from Beat It), Like A Surgeon (from Like A Virgin) and Amish Paradise (from Gangster’s Paradise) provide the perfect six-pack in explanation of what “Weird Al” does and, arguably, why it works. These parodies still pack punch and humour and feel so well-honed. Others throughout his catalogue are great too, of course, but, as with political humour, song-satires date (often badly) so to jam-pack this soundtrack with too many of Al’s former triumphs might get a little weary. Instead, for fans, it’s a kind of audio-biography, moving from the “Weird Al” re-records of classics, through jingles and sampler snippets that were crucial to his career (such as the Dr. Demento radio show theme) and bits and pieces with Al on the accordion. Then it is rounded out by the score - and of course there’s a new “Weird Al” composition - about the movie (naturally!) for the credits.
I’ve wasted these words really, because I don’t know who comes looking for a soundtrack to a “Weird Al” biopic. But I liked the movie. And I’ve really been digging the soundtrack too. But I’ve been a fan of his since I first heard Eat It as a young kid miles away from the action but in the height of MJ’s fandom. It seemed so brilliant and absurd to me in equal measures (that’s “Weird Al”’s genius right there) that someone could poke such fun, be so silly, and be so musically talented with it).
I’m not one of the die-hards, I’ve been seen a live show, I’m not sure if I could last the distance, I haven’t collected up every album, but I am a huge fan of the concept behind what he does. And I thought the parody-within-a-parody of the movie, as well as there being some sincerity too, and a few nods and winks, worked brilliantly. Listening to the soundtrack has been a nice reminder.