Volcano Records, 1984
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/09/2000
"Eat It" was the song that made "Weird Al" Yankovic a star. In 3-D, his second album, was the vehicle that carried him to that level of fame - and it showed how much Yankovic and his band had improved and matured since his debut release.
Yet somehow this album has been forgotten by time, though "Eat It" has taken on a life of its own. Even I was surprised by my realization that it had been years since I had listened to this disc in its entirety. (There was a time, when I was 14 years old, that you would have had to held a gun to my head in order to get this record off my turntable.)
Parody-wise, Yankovic still always managed to throw a different loop into the music to make it sound different than the song it was based on. (I happen to like the fact that Yankovic now writes parodies to sound exactly like the original song.) As a result, "Theme From Rocky XIII" doesn't have the crispness as the original song from Survivor did, "The Brady Bunch" is sped up (in both tempo and pitch) from Men Without Hats's "The Safety Dance", and "Eat It" takes Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and raises the pitch.
Now, this in and of itself is not a bad thing. But sometimes, you may think that Yankovic is having a little too much fun. Listen to "Theme From Rocky XIII" and the off-the-cuff vocal delivery. It's almost like Yankovic is having trouble refraining from laughing at his own jokes.
You must think I'm in a mood to grill In 3-D with comments like that. Actually, I still love this album. "Eat It," in all its glory, is still a hilarious song that shows Yankovic to be a master of his craft, while "King Of Suede" is possibly one of Yankovic's best parodies that has been forgotten by the passage of time. (Does anyone even remember that this was the follow-up single to "Eat It"?)
If there are any surprises on this album, it's in the quality of Yankovic's original material. Tracks like "Midnight Star," "Buy Me A Condo" and the epic "Nature Trail To Hell" all are well-written, well-executed tracks, and they shine as brightly today as they did when this album was first released. (Pop quiz: Can anyone tell me what the backwards message on "Nature Trail To Hell" says? E-mail me with your answer.)
In fact, there is much improvement on In 3-D that wasn't there on "Weird Al" Yankovic. The production is much cleaner, the band is musically tight, and the songwriting has improved. All in all, this disc held out the promise that Yankovic was destined for greatness... but we'll have to see if he was able to carry that momentum forward when we review Dare To Be Stupid.