Running With Scissors

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Volcano, 1999

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


On one hand, I don't think anybody took "Weird Al" Yankovic seriously after 1997. On the other hand, since it's Weird Al, that really doesn't matter.

Most people of my generation were first exposed to Al when "Amish Paradise" came out, and many of liked the irreverent lyrics set to songs we knew and liked. So when my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Running With Scissors came out, we eagerly picked it up and hoped for the best.

The problem is, Al and his band perfectly recreate the original songs and lavish production on the originals, meaning the pop culture references in the songs and the songs themselves are already outdated. It's good to hear parodies of Nine Inch Nails, Don McLean (sounds like a burger), Barenaked Ladies, and TLC, but those bands were popular in the early 90's (except McLean), and this came out in 1999.

Any Weird Al album divides into originals and covers. Here, the originals far outweigh the covers, with "Germs," "My Baby's in Love with Eddie Vedder" and "Albuquerque" nicely fitting into the Yankovic canon. The latter song is a 12-minute jumble that's only for fans of Frank Zappa or art-rock, but if you have the patience and like this sort of humor, it's hilarious.

Of the covers, "Grapefruit Diet" does justice to swing, "It's All About the Pentiums" takes the pretension out of gangsta rap and "Jerry Springer" keeps pace with the Barenaked Ladies "One Week." Dated music and dated references, but fun all the same.

I tended to get bored listening to "The Saga Begins," because there is no way to improve "American Pie" after it was played 830,500 times a week on classic rock radio. Some of the tracks near the end tended to meander a bit, almost as if Weird Al was trying too hard, but his ubiquitous polka pastiche, in this case "Alternative Polka," is one of the most entertaining songs here.

Obviously, this is not quality entertainment, but it's fun, and while it may not have the staying power of some of Al's earlier songs, it's one of the strongest entries in his library. But don't be surprised if you don't get some of the musical or cultural references.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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