“Weird Al” Yankovic, the long-reigning king of musical comedy, is heading out on a world-conquering tour that will include a show at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Aug. 9.
Pre-sales will start Tues. Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. via weirdal.com. Tickets will go on sale to the public Fri. Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, online at ticketmaster.com, and over the phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Yankovic had a banner year in 2014, when his album Mandatory Fun became his first No. 1 album in the U.S. and “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” became his fourth Top 40 song. Fans launched a campaign to have him headline the Super Bowl halftime show, garnering more than 129,000 signatures in an online petition, but alas, it looks like the NFL has chosen no-name has-beens Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz instead (boo, hiss).
While Yankovic is best known for his lyrical parodies and polka pastiches of pop songs, one remarkable thing about Mandatory Fun is that half of the tracks are originals. So, in honor of today’s announcement, here’s our list of Yankovic’s best original tunes from his three-decade recording career:
7. “Hardware Store” (Poodle Hat, 2003)
This one wasn’t even that funny, but it’s easily one of the most technically impressive things that Al and his band have accomplished to date. If you’re a diehard fan, you know at least one person who can recite the fast-talking hardware store inventory from the bridge without passing out.
6. “You Make Me” (Even Worse, 1988)
Yankovic has said this song was intentionally derivative of Oingo Boingo, although not derivative enough to infringe on their copyright. Whatever. I love this song solely based on the strength of the line “When I’m with you I don’t know whether I should study neurosurgery or go to see The Care Bears Movie.”
5. “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” (Off the Deep End, 1992)
The hit single that everyone remembers off of this album is “Smells Like Nirvana,” but I’ll always have a soft spot for this mopey acoustic ballad and its music video, which is a visual parody of Extreme’s “More Than Words.” Favorite line: “You slammed my face down on the barbecue grill / Now my scars are all healing, but my heart never will.”
4. “Generic Blues” (UHF, 1989)
Here’s a deep cut from the soundtrack to UHF, a movie Yankovic wrote and starred in. It’s a fine reminder that, no matter how bad your day was, you can always go bowling.
3. “Your Horoscope For Today” (Running with Scissors, 1999)
This style parody of third-wave ska featured guest performances from Tavis Werts and Dan Regan of Reel Big Fish. True story: The bleakness and absurd specificity of Yankovic’s horoscope predictions in this song inspired me to write satirical horoscope predictions for my college newspaper every weekday for an entire semester.
2. “Pancreas” (Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006)
Al meant this one as a loving parody of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and Smile-era Brian Wilson, but the oddly educational lyrics have always made me think of They Might Be Giants. Anyway, the harmonies are gorgeous, and I still can’t get over the vocal layering that starts with the lines “Insulin, glucagon / (Won’tcha flow, flow, flow, pancreatic juice) / Comin’ from the islets of Langerhans / (Flow, flow into the duodenum).”
1. “Albuquerque” (Running with Scissors, 1999)
Like humor columnist Dave Barry, Yankovic has an ear for words and phrases that are just inherently funny, and he sprinkles them liberally throughout this 11-and-a-half-minute shaggy dog story of a song: “sauerkraut,” “snorkel,” “flesh-eating weasels,” and, of course, “Leonard Nimoy’s butt.” Add in some guitar freakouts from Kimo West and a narrator who knows what it’s like to have an existential quandary while removing his excess earwax with a golf pencil in the parking lot of a Sizzler, and you’ve got yourself a nugget of end-of-the-album gold.