The time has come to take the king of pop parody seriously.
“Weird Al” Yankovic has been making crowds chuckle for more than 30 years with his spoof takes on major hits from Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it’ to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’.
Now, his new album ‘Mandatory Fun’ looks set to make it to number one.
“This has been an amazing week. I can’t even tell you. I have been doing roughly the same thing for many, many years and this is the best week of my life in terms of response from people. It’s just insane and it’s extremely gratifying but it’s just a little hard for me to wrap my head around,” he says.
Highlights of the new album include gems like ‘Word Crimes’, a grammar-based riff on Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Handy’, a DIY-themed spoof of Iggy Azalea’s summer anthem ‘Fancy’.
But, he says, it wasn’t always easy to get permission for the spoofs: “We weren’t hearing back from his representatives and in the meanwhile I somehow got Pharrell’s home email address – I won’t say how. And I emailed him and asked if I could do the parody,” says Yankovic. “And to his credit he didn’t say ‘How did you get this email address?’ He was very sweet. He couldn’t have been nicer. And he said he was honoured to have me do the parody.”
The album also features original songs in the form of pastiche, imitating the styles of the Pixies, Cat Stevens, and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
But Yankovic insists he has no intention of writing “serious” music and that may be the wisest decision as his success has long outlived that of many of the musicians he chose to parody.