In case you’ve been living under wifi-less rock this week, I’m about reignite some childhood nostalgia. Alfred Matthew Yankovic, better known as ‘Weird Al’, pledged to release eight music videos in eight days. All in conjunction with his latest studio release Mandatory Fun, his first since 2011’s Alpocalypse.
Weird Al has consistently released fresh – albeit parody of others’ original – content in his three-decade career, but in the last ten years or so Al had met his match. In the Youtube era, everyone is doing Weird Al’s shtick. Which makes it all the more surprising that for this album he chose to parody Lorde’s Royals, considering the countless iterations of that song everyone had to suffer through since its release. The Internet seemed to have beat him to the punch
So what did weird Al do? Shy away from what’s been done before? Nope. He double-downed on internet humor instead, and it worked. It turns out Weird Al is the king of internet humor and has been since 1983. So this week marks the return of the king. King Al diversified, releasing videos through internet media outlets like Nerdist, College Humor, and Funny or Die. If that wasn’t enough, His Grace also tackled a favorite internet topic, Grammar Nazism, in his Robin Thicke spoof Word Crimes. The video for Word Crimes even features a fake post from that wretched hive of Grammar Nazism, Reddit.
So far, his royal video offerings have tackled Pharrell’s Happy (Tacky), Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines (Word Crimes), Lorde’s Royals (Foil), Iggy Azalea’s Fancy (Handy), and a generic sports fight song spoof (Sports Song). Where has this gotten him? The top of the charts, that’s where! Ye Olde Al of Yankovic is currently topping the iTunes top albums charts* and is tied for number with Jason Mraz on the Billboard 200 Chart.
His Highness Weird Al is an enigma of a musical artist. He only exists as a response to other chart-topping success stories. So seeing Mandatory Fun reach its own commercial success is peculiar but surprisingly refreshing. You could chalk it up to all his parodied artists being on board this time, but rejection never phased Al before. Ultimately, this is the king of parody finally coming into his own in the internet age. He seemed to have nailed down the most important aspect of the internet: it’s about who’s best rather than who’s first.
*At the time of publishing