CD Reviews > "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
RCA

How "Mandatory" is the latest Weird Al Yankovic release? For the Comedy/Satirical Style, I give this release 4/5 stars( my Highest rating).

This latest (14th to be exact) effort from comedy legend "Weird Al" Yankovic really is worth possessing as a full entity! Perhaps you have already heard some of the single releases or seen the videos online? If not, you can go see them on YouTube.com now. You can even see teens reacting to them, which I find hilarious.

According to internet news, Yankovic has suggested that “Mandatory Fun” may be his last traditional album, and that he may be switching to more timely releases of singles and EPs. I highly advise grabbing this one if you’re a fan of Yankovic's, or if you just need a good laugh from time to time. There’s even a rumor of a Yankovic Broadway review in the works!

Mandatory Fun has been officially released since April 2014 and I've taken great joy in overplaying it, memorizing the words, and sometimes listening via Youtube.com to the songs that are being spoofed. In many cases, Al has superior rhyming skills and completely covers the subject matter he's taken on in his songs... e.g. “Handy”, “Word Crimes”, “Foil”, etc. Let’s break of few of these down…

Track 1, “Handy”, spoofs the song “Fancy”; and Track 3, “Foil” is the best song about aluminum foil… well… ever!

My high school band past made me skip over track 4, “Sports Song” (a marching band/team spirit spoof), at first; but I found it to be perfect with lyrics such as “your sports team is very inferior..." etc. etc.

Track 5, “Word Crimes” is a spoof of the song, “Blurred Lines”. This song from last summer is a 'School House Rock' contender. I might even insist my Grandson listen to this track in order to comprehend the grammar lessons here! "You better slow down & use your pronouns… show the world you’re no clown!"

Al uses his accordion skills to make his trademark mash-up of popular songs that almost didn’t make the cut for Track 7. Mash-ups include songs, “Wrecking Ball”, “Pumped Up Kicks”, “Gangnam Style”, “Call Me Maybe”, “Somebody That I Used to Know”, “I’m Sexy and I Know It”, “Thrift Shop, “ and “Get Lucky”. Personally, I could listen to pop song accordion covers by Mr. Yankovic all day, it’s all in good fun!

Track 8, “Mission Statement”, (Crosby, Stills & Nash doing corporate pep talks) feels a bit like Al is showing off both his musical spoofing talent and his excellent vocabulary. Doesn’t he deserve to, though?

The spoof of Imagine Dragon’s song, “Radioactive”, is covered in track 9’s “Inactive”. I don’t even know the original song very well, but the Al version is awesome; and Track 10 “First World Problems” points out the problems of the entitled.

Track 11, “Tacky”, is a spoof of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and this would be my favorite track. I really must recommend the video for this one, it’s just too good!

Track 12, “Jackson Park Express”, clocks in at just over nine minutes. This is an epic song that almost anyone who takes public transportation can relate to. It will make you wonder a bit more what others on the bus might be thinking, since most of this song takes place in the head of the main character, Al himself. As it ends, I wonder if this really is the last “traditional” album by Al, and if I will ever get to see that Broadway Production in person.

~Alexavier S. Strangerz