Saturday, June 18, 2011

Alapalooza (1993)

PARODIES: 9. This album was the exact opposite of Off The Deep End. While my memory of this album was that it was just okay, upon reappraisal, it seems like a very strong album that I think has been oddly underrated. All four parodies are sharp and quite funny nearly twenty years later. “Bedrock Anthem,” which takes two Red Hot Chili Peppers songs and turns them into a colorful synopsis of The Flintstones, stands as possibly the best song about TV Al has done. And “Jurassic Park” (Richard Harris’s “MacArthur Park”) revived a dormant but worthwhile vein of parody for Al that he had started a decade before (give or take) with “Yoda,” where he could take an older song and use it as a foundation to riff on a new movie. He’s since taken this idea and used it to spin songs about Star Wars: Episode I and Spider-Man, and while the songs he used as the basis for those parodies are better known oldies, I still haven’t heard “MacArthur Park.” It has something to do with cake, right?

ORIGINALS: 7. This album has a bunch of tunes that sound really good, but aren’t always laugh riots. For instance, “Talk Soup” has an awesome Peter Gabriel-meets-Stevie Wonder vibe, but the lyrics about the ridiculousness of TV talk shows are just okay. (Al would actually cover the same ground again with the song “Jerry Springer” in 1999, and pull it off a lot better.) And again, “Young, Dumb & Ugly” is an awesome fake-hair-metal track, but the lyrics never made me chuckle. Let’s not even get into “She Never Told Me She Was A Mime.”

(There's no official video for this song, so I went with what I could find. Not sure why this person is so mean to the Cyrus family.)

POLKA: 10. This time, instead of a full medley, Al just polka-fied Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was an excellent choice. If you were 12 years old at the time, you had just been introduced to the original version of this song from the funniest movie ever (from a 12-year-old in 1993’s perspective), Wayne’s World. It was the weirdest, most awesome song ever. Then your favorite comic musician turns it into a polka. Your mind is blown. Game over.

OVERALL: 8. Oddly underrated over the years, this one seems to have captured its pop cultural moment perfectly. It transcends mere nostalgia though, and remains worth a re-listen.

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