Scotti Brothers Records, 1993
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/27/2002
For every career high that parody king "Weird Al" Yankovic has experienced, there has been an equal low. For the smash success of "Eat It" and the In 3-D album, there was a flop like Polka Party! For a commercial comeback like Even Worse, there was the commercial failure of UHF. ("Close Personal Friends Of Al", please take note: I said commercial failure, not creative. Insulting this cult film is like making jokes about Mother Teresa in church.)
Yankovic experienced another career peak with Off The Deep End, his sixth full-length release (not including the soundtrack to UHF or any best-of collections). But one year later, Yankovic's creativity hit the wall with Alapalooza, an album which proves to be an incredible disappointment.
Lacking a lot of the creative spark behind both parody and original numbers, this album feels rushed, almost as if Yankovic's record company demanded he push something out to capitalize on the re-direction of attention to his career. Bad move. Most of these ideas come off less than half-baked, lumbering worse than the dinosaurs which are mocked on the album's cover.
Now, I won't say that a parody of Jurassic Park was a bad idea - nor can I fully fault Yankovic for choosing "Macarthur Park" as the song to base his parody on. But to his younger audience, the original song will be about as foreign to them as a bar of soap was to Pig Pen in the "Peanuts" comic strip.Even if the actual parody had some real substance to it, Yankovic could have overcome this obstacle and created something memorable. If only this were the case; it really doesn't sound like Yankovic's heart is in this one.
The same complaint could be made for much of Alapalooza. "Bedrock Anthem" is a poor parody of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Flea was onto something when he admitted on VH-1 he wasn't fond of this song, saying it wasn't Yankovic's best work. Originals like "Young, Dumb & Ugly," "Frank's 2,000" TV" and "Waffle King" dare to suggest that Yankovic was running out of gas creatively. Even the beloved polka medley is nowhere to be found, replaced instead with a lame-brained attempt at turning Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" into "Bohemian Polka". Three words: No, NO, NO!!!!!
Only two songs merit any type of praise on Alapalooza. "Livin' In The Fridge" is, admittedly, not the best parody that Yankovic has written, but his take on the then-recent Aerosmith hit does have its moments. The same goes for "Achy Breaky Song," from the "kick-a-man-when-he's-down" department... though some people today might not remember the original Billy Ray Cyrus hit, especially the younger crowd. (They may also miss some of the pop music references that Yankovic drops in this one.)
While Yankovic would rebound from this effort to prove his career wasn't extinct, Alapalooza is an absolute collection of primordial ooze that should be left to fossilize.
2002 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault." All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Scotti Brothers Records, and is used for reference purposes only.