When Beyoncé air dropped her album before Christmas I wondered what artists could also do the same with some sort of success. Taylor Swift and Adele first came to mind (the latter of which is rumoured to be doing just that this fall) followed by a few rapper like Kanye West and Jay-Z (who both did limited roll outs last year). Who would have guess that “Weird Al” Yankovic would be the first to successfully pull it off? Okay, he did announced the album a month ago but did not give any preview tracks until the day before the release leading many of us to guess which songs he was parodying just by the song titles.
But this paid off as Mandatory Fun is looking like it could be Al’s first number one album ever (it is down to him and Jason Mraz) and his best selling week in the Soundscan era. Boosting these sales was Al’s new marketing plan of releasing eight new music videos over eight straight days starting last Monday. Since record labels do not have large budgets for videos ever since MTV started ignoring their first letter, he partnered up with various websites like Nerdist, Funny or Die, and, um, the Wall Street Journal to underwrite the videos to various degrees of success. So here are those eight videos ranked.
1. Word Crimes – Everyone has parodied Robin Thicke in the past years and each made fun of the video usually having haft naked dudes. Not Weird Al, of course he turns the song into an English class and of course the video is a lyric kind. Sure Al got some digs in at the video with the obnoxious hashtags and “Weird Al Yankovic has a big dictionary” but I liked the subtle two decade old dig at Alanis Morrisette.
2. Foil – A Lorde parody seemed obvious, the only question would be the subject. Apparently my guess of a Game of Thrones parody was a bit too on the nose, instead the parody turned out to be food adjacent. Well until Al take a sharp left with Al going the darkest he has ever gone after putting the tin foil hat on his head. And who did not have a sinking suspicion that Patton Oswalt was one of those secret lizard people from V?
3. Tacky – The video that started off the eight days of Al was also the most star studded with Aiesha Tyler, Margret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black all don their tackiest clothes in a one take shot version of the Pharrell video. Yes Al ran done five flights of stairs for each take for the video.
4. Handy – You really cannot parody the Fancy music video because you would essentially just be parodying Clueless, instead he went with the Schneider from One Day at a Time look. But hey, dancing plumbers will always be funny.
5. First World Problems - Al’s non-parodies this time around were not his best. This was probably the best I pretty much had three of them happen to me.
6. Sports Song
7. Lame Claim to Fame
8. Mission Statement
Bonus: Now That’s What I Call Polka: There was not an official video for the album’s polka (always a highlight for one of Yankovic’s records) but of course someone synced up the original with the Weird Al version and put it on YouTube.