A Definitive, Inarguable Ranking of Every Weird Al Album


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No comedy musician has sustained a career with the relentless furor of “Weird Al” Yankovic. For almost 40 years, he’s skewered the hits of the day with his trademark nasal voice and pumping accordion. Without him, he wouldn’t have the artists featured on CollegeHumor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame. To get you ready for his induction tonight, and because as humans it is in our nature to bring order to chaos, we felt it appropriate to rank Al’s entire oeuvre from worst to best for your listening pleasure. Note: This is studio albums only, not compilations or EPs or the Peter and the Wolf collaboration album he did with Wendy Carlos, so don’t get sassy.

14. Poodle Hat

The early ’00s were a pretty dire time for music, and Al’s 2003 release Poodle Hat reflects that with an uneven album of rap rock and Avril Lavigne parodies. (“Trash Day,” a tepid spoof of Nelly’s “Hot in Here,” includes lines like “There’s something rotten here/you better hold your nose.”) The disc’s only single, “eBay,” was a flaccid Backstreet Boys parody, and it’s one of only three Weird Al releases to not go gold on the Billboard charts. The only high point is the polka medley, which includes an unforgettable bit of “Chop Suey” by System of a Down.

13. Polka Party!

Al had his first commercial misstep with this 1986 release, which featured formulaic takes on a number of mid-’80s hits. His record company insisted he spoof another artist on the label for the album’s single, so we got the James Brown riff “Living With A Hernia.” When the album flopped, Al thought it was going to be the end of his career.

12. Running With Scissors

Al bailed from long-time label Scotti Brothers at the end of the ’90s after his career was in a tailspin, but it wasn’t enough to save this disappointing disc. 1999’s Running With Scissors seems like a rush job, with the geek-pandering “The Saga Begins” (set to the tune of “American Pie”) the biggest hit. Again, source material is a problem – when the artists you’re parodying include Puff Daddy and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, your album’s gonna suck, daddy-o.

11. UHF Soundtrack

Al’s 1989 movie effort UHF is a cult classic, but the soundtrack album doesn’t fare so well. The Dire Straits/Beverly Hillbillies mash-up is one joke stretched out way too long (and suffers without the video’s neat visuals), and the rest of the material hasn’t aged well. One track of note is “Isle Thing,” Al’s first rap parody which spoofs Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing.”

10. Alpocalypse

It took almost five years for Yankovic to put together 2011’s Alpocalypse, and taking away the up-to-the- minute nature of his parodies is the kiss of death. This album’s not technically “bad,” per se, it just doesn’t have any real reason to exist. The drama around Lady Gaga’s management denying him permission to parody her was more interesting than the song (“Perform This Way”) itself. One high point was the variety of animated videos created by Bill Plympton, Liam Lynch and others for many of the tracks.

9. “Weird Al” Yankovic

Al’s self-titled debut was released in 1983, and while it was a strong offering and featured four singles, it’s obvious that this was an artist who hadn’t realized his true potential. While the instrumentation is primitive, with the accordion featured on every track, the album has a low-fi charm and presence of an all-time classic (“Another One Rides The Bus”) is enough to make it a must-listen.

8. Bad Hair Day

“Weird Al” had a hard time adapting to the rapidly-changing face of music in the mid-’90s, but Bad Hair Day is perhaps his best effort from that era. Some of the tracks are forgettable (remember U2’s song from the Batman Forever soundtrack? What about Al’s dental-themed parody of it?), but the Coolio spoof (“Amish Paradise”) pissed off the rapper so much that Al feared for his life.

7. Alapalooza

Al’s 1993 album came only a year after Off the Deep End, and its rushed quality makes it a bit of a mixed bag. Doing a “Jurassic Park” spoof set to the tune of “MacArthur Park” is pretty genius, but parodies of Billy Ray Cyrus and Talk Soup (oddly enough Al’s song was originally intended to be the theme song for the long-running E! clip show) haven’t aged very well.

6. Straight Outta Lynwood

After a fallow period, Al came roaring back in 2006 with the biggest hit of his career to date, the Chamillionaire parody “White & Nerdy.” Tackling R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet,” a song so ludicrous it almost defies parody, put the album over the top. Boo to James Blunt, who nixed a parody called “You’re Pitiful” from the album (listen to it here), but his career is dead now anyway.

5. Even Worse

Al went back to the Michael Jackson well with “Fat,” and it created one of his most unforgettable videos ever. The rest of the LP is solid as well, with Yankovic hitting his stride with originals like “Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White.” Both Prince and George Michael turned him down when he asked for parody rights, making us weep for what could’ve been.

4. Mandatory Fun

Al’s 2014 triumph proved that the old dog still has tricks in him. On release, this platter of parodies of everyone from Iggy Azalea to Crosby, Stills & Nash shot to #1 on the Billboard charts – a first for any comedy LP – and the material is wall-to-wall solid. Al sampled from the entire history of pop for this one, nailing Imagine Dragons with the same vigor that he does a nine-minute Cat Stevens spoof.

3. Off the Deep End

After a downturn in his popularity post-UHF, Al took a few years and came back stronger than ever with Off the Deep End, satirizing the ludicrousness of the grunge era in classic style. “Smells Like Nirvana” nailed the Seattle sound at the perfect time, and the other parodies nailed ’90s stalwarts like NKOTB and MC Hammer.

2. Dare to Be Stupid

For all of Al’s success since, it’s inarguable that his heyday was probably the mid-’80s. His third release, Dare to Be Stupid, has him at the height of his powers. After “Eat It” brought him mainstream fame, Al became more ambitious with the follow-up. The Devo pastiche title track was so good that Mark Mothersbaugh called it “the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.” And it gave us “Yoda,” the Star Wars spoof that still inspires singalongs at Al’s concerts.

1. In 3-D

1984 was the moment that “Weird Al” broke through to the collective consciousness, and even 31 years later Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D still holds up. Part of it is due to the source material – Michael Jackson, The Police, Bob Marley – and the rest is due to Al coming in to his own as a confident parodist. This album also marked the first of Yankovic’s polka medleys, which would become a staple on every album to come.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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