By Liv Barry
This month’s streaming options just got a little bit wackier with the addition of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” which hit the Roku Channel on Thursday, Nov. 4.
A tribute to multi-hyphenate parody artist “Weird Al Yankovic,” the musical biopic stars Daniel Radcliffe as the titular actor, with supporting performances from Rainn Wilson, Evan Rachel Wood, Quinta Brunson, and Lin Manuel Miranda.
Yankovic’s career spans decades, beginning in 1979 with the release of his first song, “My Bologna,” which parodies The Knacks’ hit song “My Sharona.”
Following his debut single, Yankovic released fourteen studio albums and still continues to create music. His work has received five Grammy Awards, including Best Comedy Album, and Best Comedy Recording.
In honor of Yaknovic’s storied career, here are our picks for the top ten best Weird Al songs.
10. “Captain Underpants Theme Song” (2017)
Originally penned for the film adaptation of Dave Pilkey’s titular graphic novel series, “Captain Underpants Theme Song” conveys the original comic’s irreverent, goofy tone.
Many people’s first exposure to Weird Al was during their childhood, and while this song is not one of Yankovic’s iconic parodies, “Captain Underpants Theme Song” is a great, age-appropriate introduction to the musical icon.
9. “White and Nerdy” (2006)
Yankovic’s parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” is a crowning jewel in the artist’s discography.
The music video is the most popular video on Yankovic’s YouTube channel, racking up 160 million views. Not to mention, it was his first Billboard Top 10 hit song.
While it’s not a personal favorite, its success is too big to bar it from the list.
8. “Word Crimes” (2014)
For many, Robin Thicke, Pharrel, and T.I.’s “Blurred Lines” is a song we would prefer to forget.
In true Yankovic fashion, Weird Al took the tune’s controversial lyrics and spun it into gold.
Featured on his 2014 album “Mandatory Fun,” “Word Crimes” parodies “Blurred Lines,” teaching those prone to Internet typos how to correctly conjugate verbs and use contractions.
7. “I Lost on Jeopardy” (1984)
Parodying the 1984 song “Jeopardy” by the Greg Kihn Band, this track chronicles the highs and lows of Yankovic’s fictional stint on Jeopardy.
“I Lost on Jeopardy” is a time capsule into the 1980s. The blown out oranges and yellows of the music video’s set, as well as the list of prizes offered to contestants — an encyclopedia volume, a case of Turtle Wax, and Rice-a-Roni — give fans a look into what life was like back then.
6. “The Saga Begins” (1999)
The lyrics, “My, my this here Anakin guy, maybe Vader someday later – now he’s just a small fry,” are ingrained in the brains of millions of Star Wars fans.
With over 16 million Spotify streams, Yankovic’s “The Saga Begins” is one of the artist’s most popular songs. Set to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” the song follows the plot of the 1999 film “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.”
McLean’s original tune is an earworm, but Yankovic’s lyrics make for an infinitely-quotable track.
5. “Amish Paradise” (1996)
Featured on Yankovic’s 1996 album “Bad Hair Day,” this parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is one of his best-known songs.
While it might be a bit unfair to take shots at a group that cannot fight back, “We’re going to party like it’s 1699” will forever be one of the funniest lyrics ever penned.
4. “Like a Surgeon” (1985)
In real life, a medical fraud performing surgery would be a nightmare. When the story is sung by Yankovic, however, the situation leaves the listener in stitches.
“Like a Surgeon,” which parodies Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” is one of Yankovic’s more engaging tunes; today, its lyrics would be subject for examination on a true crime podcast.
3. “Smells Like Nirvana” (1992)
Listening to a rock song and not being able to parse out what the singer is saying is a universal experience, which Yankovic bemoans in his parody of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
As someone who never understands what singers are saying, “Smells Like Nirvana” hits close to home. Plus, the song’s music video is an impressive play-by-play of Nirvana’s original video.
2. “Trapped in the Drive Thru” (2006)
Parodying “Trapped in the Closet,” R. Kelly’s 33-song serial, is a near-impossible feat.
Weird Al condenses the serial’s melodrama into one magnificent parody: “Trapped in the Drive Thru.”
Taking the source material, which covers deceit, infidelity, and scandal, Yankovic turns a spectacle into the most mundane situation you can imagine: a long drive-thru line.
The parody and its accompanying music video are hilarious, and the song found a new home on TikTok, where the song’s dramatic, back-and-forth patter went viral.
1. “Eat It” (1984)
Based on Michael Jackson’s hit song “Beat It,” Yankovic’s “Eat It” chronicles the frustrations of someone dealing with a picky eater.
Similar to “Smells Like Nirvana,” the music video for “Eat It” is a near replica of Jackson’s original video, with a few comedic exceptions.
Between Yankovic’s spot-on dance moves, the silly lyrical content, and the childhood nostalgia this song evokes, “Eat It” belongs at the number one spot on the list.
Photo caption: One of Yankovic’s hallmarks is his penchant for polka music, especially the accordion.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.