Saturday, June 18, 2011

Off The Deep End (1992)

PARODIES: 6. This album has aged a lot less successfully than I expected. I went into listening to this album thinking it was one of my favorites, but in fact, it’s pretty spotty. The opener, “Smells Like Nirvana,” is the key track obviously, but even that one is a little lacking without the hilarious parody video to distract from the fact that Al is pretty much making the exact same joke for 4 minutes straight. Released at a weird transitional time in mainstream music, the other parodies on the album don’t mock alt-rock but instead take aim at the lightweight pop acts like New Kids On The Block, Milli Vanilli, and MC Hammer that were popular just a couple years before. These efforts, maybe due to their source material, come off as vaguely rote.

ORIGINALS: 5. “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” mines a similar vein to “One More Minute,” detailing a literally imperiled relationship with absurdly violent imagery juxtaposed by the singer’s bland delivery; it ends the album on a high note. The other originals are pretty forgettable, although the Beach Boys-with-guns riff “Trigger Happy” seems a lot more noteworthy now than it did 20 years ago.

(Sorry for the friggin' subtitles, but the "official" version of this video is missing the first minute of the song. WTF Vevo!?)

POLKA MEDLEY: 10. For me, this is just the all-time best, and not just because all the hits being sampled, from Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” come straight out of my late grade-school days. This one, in my estimation, has the most inventive segues between songs, not to mention the hilarious drum solo.

OVERALL: 6. The opening and closing tracks have always been the best songs on the album. I just didn’t realize until now how much filler there is in-between.

1 comment:

  1. WTF, Justin? When I Was Your Age is, IMO, one of Al's best original songs ever recorded, and Trigger Happy isn't just good, it's BRILLANT. Also, it's hard to really appreciate or understand why Al recorded I Was Only Kidding unless you've heard the Tonio K songs that inspired it.

    Off The Deep End took about 3 years to complete, and it definitely shows. Hammer, NKOTB and Milli Vanilli were already dead and buried when this album hit shelves, but were hot as a newly laid shit when those songs were actually recorded. Not wanting to have another Polka Party on his hand, Al waited until he had a strong lead single that was about something other than food or tv (or plumbing), which is why he sat on some of those tracks so long. The actual result was an unintentional retrospective of early 90's music, which was such a bizarre transition time. Anyway, if you can give forgiveness to the one mediocre song on there (Airline Amy), it still holds up as Al's best album.