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(Grantland)   Weird Al Yankovic faces something of a crisis in his career: by the time he can get an album out the old-fashioned way, a thousand amateurs have posted their own song parodies to YouTube   (grantland.com) divider line 141
    More: Weird, Weird Al, humans, Imagine Dragons, Harvey Levin, Blurred Lines, first world problems, Yankovic, html code  
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2715 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 16 Jul 2014 at 2:52 PM (49 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-16 03:56:47 PM  
The guy who plays the director in the Foil video is the same guy who played the invite reply guy in Portlandia.


Ah ... Googling shows that his name is Patton Oswalt, whom I presume is famous-y. Very well, then.
 
2014-07-16 04:03:48 PM  

Dwangerous: bdub77: Weird Al rocks, your blog sucks.

One metric ton of this. The smarmy, hipper than thou, condescending tone in which that article was written entitles the author to no less than 10 dickpunches.


Yeah, I gave up on that shiat after they wrote about the Iggy Azeala thing. good to know that i wasn't just reading the whole thing wrong.
 
2014-07-16 04:04:37 PM  
enry:
He needs to be the next Super Bowl halftime act.

That would be glorious.
 
2014-07-16 04:05:22 PM  

Englebert Slaptyback: I mentioned this in the Weird Al thread yesterday:


WEIRD AL IS A FARKER!!

And by that I mean he reads Fark.

[img.fark.net image 850x475]


Yeah, I got a kick out of that. That and the "cunning linguist" bit were the best parts.
 
2014-07-16 04:07:00 PM  

BKITU: He's also now free from his record contract, leaving him able to compete with the unwashed YouTube masses on an even playing field.


Exactly. He mentioned that in an NPR interview the other day.
 
2014-07-16 04:08:46 PM  
It sounds like Steven Hyden didn't listen to Al's non-parody music. I'm a huge fan of Alapalooza; friends and I got together for years to jam "Frank's 2000 Inch TV" and "Harvey the Wonder Hamster".
 
2014-07-16 04:12:11 PM  

DeathByGeekSquad: enry:
He needs to be the next Super Bowl halftime act.

That would be glorious.


It would be... I think I signed a petition for that very thing awhile back.
 
2014-07-16 04:13:13 PM  

Ashyukun: Al's concerts are a FANTASTIC spectacle and not to be missed.


This. You want a good show, you go see Weird Al live. I was disappointed as hell I missed him last time he was in town, I hope he'll come through again soon.
 
2014-07-16 04:16:22 PM  

browntimmy: In his reddit AMA yesterday someone asked why he didn't do a parody of that Frozen song and Weird Al answered:

You know what, I was very close to doing a parody called "Make It So" about ST:TNG... but then I checked online, and of course, somebody had done that already. And apparently it had gotten enough attention online to make the Disney legal department ask them to take it down! I couldn't think of an idea that I liked as much as "Make It So," so... I gave up!


That would have been awesome. Too bad.
 
2014-07-16 04:17:03 PM  
Who is he calling amateur?
 
2014-07-16 04:18:20 PM  
Oddly enough, They Might Be Giants had the best live show I've ever seen. They were amazingly well practiced and prepared in every imaginable way.
 
2014-07-16 04:18:21 PM  

moothemagiccow: I listened to the Foil song. Wasn't funny. "What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito" was funny even when I hadn't heard the original.


What are you, kidding? It's one of the best about-faces Weird Al's ever done. Nearly half of his parodic content is about food. I was expecting this to be another food song, so taking things in a completely different direction was brilliant.
 
2014-07-16 04:19:00 PM  

Farker Soze: You made a powerful enemy when you disparaged the Oxford comma, Al.


Now, now, he didn't disparage the comma, he just said if you wanted to remove it, that's provisionally acceptable since the stylistic debate on its use in not quite settled.
 
2014-07-16 04:19:08 PM  

Nadie_AZ: browntimmy: In his reddit AMA yesterday someone asked why he didn't do a parody of that Frozen song and Weird Al answered:

You know what, I was very close to doing a parody called "Make It So" about ST:TNG... but then I checked online, and of course, somebody had done that already. And apparently it had gotten enough attention online to make the Disney legal department ask them to take it down! I couldn't think of an idea that I liked as much as "Make It So," so... I gave up!

That would have been awesome. Too bad.


A victim of his own success and influence.
 
2014-07-16 04:20:28 PM  

Ishkur: moothemagiccow: I listened to the Foil song. Wasn't funny. "What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito" was funny even when I hadn't heard the original.

What are you, kidding? It's one of the best about-faces Weird Al's ever done. Nearly half of his parodic content is about food. I was expecting this to be another food song, so taking things in a completely different direction was brilliant.


Yes, but that requires one to be familiar with Weird Al's habits. Let's face it, this latest song is not as Al-newbie-friendly as the last two.
 
2014-07-16 04:21:32 PM  

Englebert Slaptyback: I mentioned this in the Weird Al thread yesterday:


WEIRD AL IS A FARKER!!

And by that I mean he reads Fark.

[img.fark.net image 850x475]


Well that explains the grammar nazi take! I knew one of us wrote that song.
 
2014-07-16 04:21:39 PM  
I haven't seen one youtuber parody reach the heights attained by songs such as "Amish Paradise"
 
2014-07-16 04:24:09 PM  
Yes, only a talent as great as Weird Al can do such things as replace real lyrics with other words that rhyme.
 
2014-07-16 04:28:11 PM  

Marshmallow Jones: Yes, only a talent as great as Weird Al can do such things as replace real lyrics with other words that rhyme.


I live with my mom
 
2014-07-16 04:28:20 PM  

dj_spanmaster: Nadie_AZ: browntimmy: In his reddit AMA yesterday someone asked why he didn't do a parody of that Frozen song and Weird Al answered:

You know what, I was very close to doing a parody called "Make It So" about ST:TNG... but then I checked online, and of course, somebody had done that already. And apparently it had gotten enough attention online to make the Disney legal department ask them to take it down! I couldn't think of an idea that I liked as much as "Make It So," so... I gave up!

That would have been awesome. Too bad.

A victim of his own success and influence.


One thing I like about Al (can I call him that?) is that he takes and improves upon music already out. I don't like copyright for that reason. I like that art can be borrowed and improved upon. It leads to better art.
 
2014-07-16 04:28:48 PM  

AntonChigger: Marshmallow Jones: Yes, only a talent as great as Weird Al can do such things as replace real lyrics with other words that rhyme.

I live with my mom


dangit forgot about the filters haha

still a crappy attempt at trolling
 
2014-07-16 04:29:09 PM  

Summoner101: I haven't seen one youtuber parody reach the heights attained by songs such as "Amish Paradise"


I am still amazed at the backwards-filmed portion of that video.  So impressive.
 
2014-07-16 04:35:46 PM  
I do love Weird Al and his videos (the ones that I've seen at least), the 'bad' thing about it is that I don't know what song he is "parodying" for most of the time.  I was never huge into music (only listened to christian, classical or 'oldies' (50s, 60s)) so don't know lots of songs.


*shrugs*  Still enjoy watching/listening to him.

/white and nerdy
//amish paradise
///slashies!
 
2014-07-16 04:38:36 PM  

Marshmallow Jones: Yes, only a talent as great as Weird Al can do such things as replace real lyrics with other words that rhyme.


Counterpoint: Bob.

Checkmate via Fool's mate.
 
2014-07-16 04:40:02 PM  

Ramien: Farker Soze: You made a powerful enemy when you disparaged the Oxford comma, Al.

Now, now, he didn't disparage the comma, he just said if you wanted to remove it, that's provisionally acceptable since the stylistic debate on its use in not quite settled.


No. The Diagram will not be corrupted by the depradations of those that will sap our language of its characters. Our sentence needs breathing room.
 
2014-07-16 04:41:58 PM  
I like his Craigslist/When The Musics Over vid best.

//Doors fan
 
2014-07-16 04:49:42 PM  

Mikey1969: Thirty-five years into a historic career, do we still need the parody king?

Considering the lack of quality out there, I'd say yes.


Is he "quality" because of actual talent or because he's been doing it longer than anyone else?

He's been doing it for decades.  The notion that someone out there in the world with some time and effort can't rival him is short-sighted.  In the past I think this was, in large part, because there wasn't enough of a market for it to be worthwhile.

Unfortunately most of the posts in this thread fall into the category of blind adoration.

The main point the article makes is that a great part of his success came from standard distribution methods which are quickly becoming less and less capable of sustaining his career.

It would be interesting to see him try and keep up without it.  If he stays with the setup he has had for decades then it's an issue of diminishing returns; can he make do with less while others take the alternative.  If he walks and does something Indie then he's going to have to compete with every single other person on YouTube.  It's a story of whether or not an old dog can learn new tricks because you know that the young pups are going to be able to when they see they can get treats out of doing it.
 
2014-07-16 04:52:10 PM  

AntonChigger: moothemagiccow: I listened to the Foil song. Wasn't funny. "What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito" was funny even when I hadn't heard the original.

You kidding me?  I laughed my ass off when he made the transition from foil as food protector to PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE ILLUMINATI.   Subversion of expectations is one of the greatest forms of humor, though I think watching the video makes the song funnier.


I was having a wtf reaction as he just went nuts


funny as hell though
 
2014-07-16 05:03:09 PM  

Skarekrough: Mikey1969: Thirty-five years into a historic career, do we still need the parody king?

Considering the lack of quality out there, I'd say yes.

Is he "quality" because of actual talent or because he's been doing it longer than anyone else?


You're seriously asking this? Then you haven't listened to his music. He and his band rewrite these songs, he doesn't just lay a new vocal track on top of the existing music. And they do a damn good job of it.

He's been doing it for decades.  The notion that someone out there in the world with some time and effort can't rival him is short-sighted.  In the past I think this was, in large part, because there wasn't enough of a market for it to be worthwhile.

There was plenty of market if you had the talent. He got his start in the same place anyone with talent would have--by getting his music onto the Dr Demento show. It's not like he had an exclusive license that wasn't available to a million other comedic/novelty acts.

Unfortunately most of the posts in this thread fall into the category of blind adoration.

Actually, most of the posts on this thread are from people who haven't been living under a rock and actually pay attention to what they listen to.

The main point the article makes is that a great part of his success came from standard distribution methods which are quickly becoming less and less capable of sustaining his career.

This is like saying that water is wet. Any band that's been around for more than 15 years is running into this. TFA doesn't tell anyone anything that is new. And as far as implying that song 'X' was only popular "last summer" just shows how shallow appreciation of music actually is. A good song doesn't quit being good after a set time.

It would be interesting to see him try and keep up without it.  If he stays with the setup he has had for decades then it's an issue of diminishing returns; can he make do with less while others take the alternative.  If he walks and does something Indie then he's going to have to compete with every single other person on YouTube.  It's a story of whether or not an old dog can learn new tricks because you know that the young pups are going to be able to when they see they can get treats out of doing it.

He actually knows what he's doing, has a band that knows what THEY are doing, has contacts and knows how the production process works. You're right. 'JonnyStud987637' is going to totally destroy him on YouTube.


But yeah, probably "blind adoration".
 
2014-07-16 05:16:13 PM  

Skarekrough: Mikey1969: Thirty-five years into a historic career, do we still need the parody king?

Considering the lack of quality out there, I'd say yes.

Is he "quality" because of actual talent or because he's been doing it longer than anyone else?

He's been doing it for decades.  The notion that someone out there in the world with some time and effort can't rival him is short-sighted.  In the past I think this was, in large part, because there wasn't enough of a market for it to be worthwhile.

Unfortunately most of the posts in this thread fall into the category of blind adoration.

The main point the article makes is that a great part of his success came from standard distribution methods which are quickly becoming less and less capable of sustaining his career.

It would be interesting to see him try and keep up without it.  If he stays with the setup he has had for decades then it's an issue of diminishing returns; can he make do with less while others take the alternative.  If he walks and does something Indie then he's going to have to compete with every single other person on YouTube.  It's a story of whether or not an old dog can learn new tricks because you know that the young pups are going to be able to when they see they can get treats out of doing it.


I would say that Weird Al has been able to make a career out of doing this, and do it longer than anyone else, precisely because of the quality of his parodies. You could assert that he's been successful despite having poor-quality parodies, but no evidence supports that, unless you're also going to assert that his record label has deliberately been taking a loss on Weird Al for 30 years, but still actively promoting him, because [some unknown reason].

"Doing something Indie" wouldn't suddenly reduce someone who's successfully been doing musical parodies for over 30 years to the same level as some random guy on YouTube. Weird Al has a name recognition that the vast majority of people on YouTube cannot match, and that's all the edge he needs. YouTube is a far, far better fit for Weird Al than a standard album-centric distribution model, precisely because his hits are individual songs and their accompanying videos, not the albums.
 
2014-07-16 05:16:26 PM  
img3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-07-16 05:35:11 PM  

Mikey1969:
Would ANYONE here shed a tear if TMZ and all of its employees were incinerated in a flaming nuclear ball?


Yes. Tears of joy.
 
2014-07-16 05:35:25 PM  
I've never been much of a fan other than a few laughs in the early 80's. After that, he got old to me. His parodies weren't all that funny to me, and it took him forever to update his image - something that really shouldn't be needed, but yeah - those glasses had to go a decade before they did. However, the stuff he's been releasing daily this week has been awesome. Engaging videos count for a lot, but it might also be that Weird Al nostalgia has entered the zeitgeist.
 
2014-07-16 05:40:24 PM  

whistleridge: Yes, but he does it several tens of orders of magnitude better. A parody by your cousin Steve = poorly executed and morbidly unamusing. A parody by Weird Al = comedy gold.


Eh, maybe it's just me being old, but he's got far shiattier music to choose from now.  I can't listen to a song by that Thicke guy, and I can't listen to a parody of it, either.  It's just that Al's baseline for what was listenable has changed dramatically.
 
2014-07-16 05:42:23 PM  
Also to those of you going "LOL, but all he does are parodies, how much skil does that take?"

Have you ever *listened* to his original music on his albums? The ones where he'll often ape another artist's style, but not outright parody one of their songs?

Like, say, Dare To Be Stupid, which out-Devo'd *Devo.*
 
2014-07-16 05:47:57 PM  

Mikey1969: But Azalea's team was slow in responding to his request, and Yankovic was under the gun to finish Mandatory Fun, so he made a personal appeal. Somebody captured the moment on video, and the video ended up on TMZ.
"I took a little offense to [TMZ] saying I was 'begging' for permission," Yankovic said. "I like to call it asking politely and with respect. I don't go to a level considered begging."

They also said that he "ambushed" her.

Would ANYONE here shed a tear if TMZ and all of its employees were incinerated in a flaming nuclear ball?


Depends: their headquarters, or on some abandoned rock?
 
2014-07-16 05:48:14 PM  

Felgraf: Also to those of you going "LOL, but all he does are parodies, how much skil does that take?"

Have you ever *listened* to his original music on his albums? The ones where he'll often ape another artist's style, but not outright parody one of their songs?

Like, say, Dare To Be Stupid, which out-Devo'd *Devo.*


God I love that song..

Weird Al is a legend, and a genius.. If he's not in HOF before he dies it will be a great injustice.
 
2014-07-16 05:57:46 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: whistleridge: Yes, but he does it several tens of orders of magnitude better. A parody by your cousin Steve = poorly executed and morbidly unamusing. A parody by Weird Al = comedy gold.

Eh, maybe it's just me being old, but he's got far shiattier music to choose from now.  I can't listen to a song by that Thicke guy, and I can't listen to a parody of it, either.  It's just that Al's baseline for what was listenable has changed dramatically.


i think I need to remove myself from your lawn.
 
2014-07-16 06:01:59 PM  

Mikey1969: It would be interesting to see him try and keep up without it. If he stays with the setup he has had for decades then it's an issue of diminishing returns; can he make do with less while others take the alternative. If he walks and does something Indie then he's going to have to compete with every single other person on YouTube. It's a story of whether or not an old dog can learn new tricks because you know that the young pups are going to be able to when they see they can get treats out of doing it.

He actually knows what he's doing, has a band that knows what THEY are doing, has contacts and knows how the production process works. You're right. 'JonnyStud987637' is going to totally destroy him on YouTube.


I think the other key is that he had an contract to fulfill.  I don't know the terms, but it probably wasn't in his best interest to "walk" and do something Indie.

But you're right, 90% of the other "singers" on YouTube couldn't hold up to Weird Al on their best day.
 
2014-07-16 06:02:20 PM  
"Word Crimes" is a new classic and Goddamned glorious.
 
2014-07-16 06:06:40 PM  

Farker Soze: You made a powerful enemy when you disparaged the Oxford comma, Al.


He didn't.  He told people not to complain if they're misunderstood when they omit it.  Al is pro-Oxford.
 
2014-07-16 06:27:04 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: whistleridge: Yes, but he does it several tens of orders of magnitude better. A parody by your cousin Steve = poorly executed and morbidly unamusing. A parody by Weird Al = comedy gold.

Eh, maybe it's just me being old, but he's got far shiattier music to choose from now.  I can't listen to a song by that Thicke guy, and I can't listen to a parody of it, either.  It's just that Al's baseline for what was listenable has changed dramatically.


You shut your whore mouth! As a grammar nerd, allow me to assure you, 'Word Crimes' is the single greatest contribution to the English language by an individual since Stephen Colbert coined 'truthiness'!
 
2014-07-16 06:27:45 PM  
I busted up laughing at Foil. That was pretty classic.
 
2014-07-16 06:32:17 PM  

styckx: Felgraf: Also to those of you going "LOL, but all he does are parodies, how much skil does that take?"

Have you ever *listened* to his original music on his albums? The ones where he'll often ape another artist's style, but not outright parody one of their songs?

Like, say, Dare To Be Stupid, which out-Devo'd *Devo.*

God I love that song..

Weird Al is a legend, and a genius.. If he's not in HOF before he dies it will be a great injustice.


"Close but no cigar" is a beautiful Cake style parody.
 
2014-07-16 06:38:33 PM  
Been going over "Word Crimes" video like the Zapruder film.  Fark tropes, Trodgor the Burninator is in there, a picture of old Al under accordion, so many goodies.  Amazing amazing work of art.

This week the Internet belongs to Weird Al and we are all just borrowing it for moments, hopefully just to enjoy his brilliance.
 
2014-07-16 06:44:09 PM  

Felgraf: Also to those of you going "LOL, but all he does are parodies, how much skil does that take?"

Have you ever *listened* to his original music on his albums? The ones where he'll often ape another artist's style, but not outright parody one of their songs?

Like, say, Dare To Be Stupid, which out-Devo'd *Devo.*


Exactly. People don't appreciate just how fantastic his band is... it takes skill to play at a level where people are willing to pay money to hear you perform. It takes an amazing amount of skill to not only do that but also have the musical chops to be able to shift your style to mimic that of numerous other artists. These guys do polka, pop, rap, you name it... and they play it just as well (if not better than) the actual artists who made the hits they're parodying.

These guys aren't playing songs by other artists. They're playing AS these other artists in some ways.
 
2014-07-16 07:06:23 PM  

AntonChigger: AntonChigger: Marshmallow Jones: Yes, only a talent as great as Weird Al can do such things as replace real lyrics with other words that rhyme.

I live with my mom

dangit forgot about the filters haha

still a crappy attempt at trolling


What word or phrase was substituted there? I haven't seen this filter before.
 
2014-07-16 07:14:56 PM  
Here's a fun experiment that shows the biggest problem with YouTube.

Go look up the video for Tacky. Feel free to include 'official video' in your search. Back? Find it? NO, because the first (at least) page is flooded with worthless twatbrained leaches' "review videos!" It's a collective "oh, this thing is popular, let me use the name to boost my own hit-counter."

/finally bit the bullet and gave Slate a click off the Fark link. Despite how shiat their mobile page is
//results may have changed since, but I doubt it
///goes to watch other new Al videos before this effect takes full hold
 
2014-07-16 07:24:22 PM  
Word Crimes

Tacky

I don't think Mr. Yankovic has anything to worry about.
i0.wp.com
 
2014-07-16 07:27:48 PM  
small confession: I did that post before going out to dinner, only previewed, and didn't post... pretend it's up there somewhere in the middle, around 4:45.
 
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