Sunday, June 19, 2011

Polka Party! (1986)

PARODIES: 5. On first listen, I despised this album. On second listen, I’m willing to give it a little more slack. The parodies sort of have a theme this time around: 3 of the 4 parodies are theme songs from then-current movies. “Living With A Hernia” riffs successfully on the James Brown song from Rocky IV, but who gives a shit about the song from Ruthless People – then or now? The non-movie parody, “Addicted To Spuds” (Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love”) is like “I Want A New Duck,” in that it’s fairly dumb but ingratiating in its silliness.

ORIGINALS: 5. “Christmas At Ground Zero” is a giddy exercise in Cold War sick humor set to a Phil Spector-style soundscape, and it’s the clear highlight of the album. The rest of the originals range from forgettable to decent. The Talking Heads style parody “Dog Eat Dog” – though apparently well-liked by other hardcore fans – to me, sounds exactly like the band being mocked without proceeding to do anything interesting with the impersonation.

POLKA MEDLEY: 8. Another solid batch of hits anthologized, with artists ranging from Genesis’s Peter Gabriel to Genesis’s Phil Collins. A little on the short side.

OVERALL: 5. Not quite the utter debacle I thought it was on first listen, this still earns its reputation as Al’s least inspired album.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you overlooked the two best songs on this mediocre (due to being rushed out before Al had even finished recovering from the DTBS album and tour) album. Good Enough For Now is the song I am going to play at my wedding, and Don't Wear Those Shoes is one of the most overlooked and underrated songs in his catalog.

    Dog Eat Dog has to be seen live to really appreciate. It's Talking Heads Stop Making Sense VISUAL mocking, but it completes the effect perfectly.

    The real problem with this album, as you stated, was that most of the parodies were from films that would be completely forgettable a year later. Toothless People is probably my least favorite published Weird Al song ever. Being forced to rush the album out, I think Al just jumped on what was popular that week and went with it, which is why it might not be such a bad thing that he takes his time with new albums now.

    BTW, Christmas At Ground Zero was the first Weird Al song I ever heard.