“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Lame Claim to Fame”

Weird Al Yankovic: Who else would we listen to while staying up until God-forbid 11 p.m., eating junk food, playing video games, and complaining about how hard middle school is? For all of you die-hard Yankovic fans out there, you probably know that on July 15, he released his latest musical masterpiece, Mandatory Fun. The album features twelve new tracks, parodying artists from Iggy Azalea to The Pixies, producing hits such as “Lame Claim to Fame” and “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!”

Albert Matthew Yankovic, which is Weird Al’s real name, began his music career in 1975 when he was only sixteen, getting one of his early parodies to air on Dr. Demento’s Radio Show, a comedy radio show in Southern California. By twenty-two, he began touring on Dr. Demento’s Stage Show. Now, I know what you are thinking: who is Dr. Demento? How can I contact him? Do you think he will like my two-hour kazoo medley of the best The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moments? While the last question may lead to some interesting conclusions, Dr. Demento left the airwaves in 2010, after hosting radio shows for almost forty years.

Weird Al reached his peak with the release of his pre-teen anthem “White and Nerdy,” a parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty.” Who doesn’t have memories of the late nights in friends’ basements singing along to this classic? Mandatory Fun, like other Weird Al Yankovic albums, presents close to an hour of unadulterated, immature fun.

The first thing to notice about this album is the cover art. Though cover art can be as controversial as Nirvana’s Nevermind or as artistic as The Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground & Nico, Weird Al takes the literal approach to his album’s title, featuring a Godzilla-sized Weird Al towering above an army of well-dressed soldiers, all in a Soviet-themed extravaganza.

The range of musical genres in Mandatory Fun highlights the lyrics in the songs, touching on subjects such as the best way to keep food fresh (“Foil,” where Yankovic satirizes Lorde’s “Royals”) and the average student vacation (“Inactive,” which parodies “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons). However, the album would be incomplete without an accordion-led song, and this is exactly what Weird Al addressed with “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!” In true Weird Al fashion, he rocks the accordion to the tune of musical artists like Macklemore, Pitbull, LMFAO, One Direction, and even American sweetheart Miley Cyrus.

Mandatory Fun is yet another anthem-filled album that will take old listeners back to the days when all that one needed to be cool was Lunchables in lunch bags, Tamagotchis on keychains, and an album’s worth of Weird Al lyrics in one’s young impressionable head.