04 August 2010

+JMJ+

"Weird Al" Yankovic Song Smackdown, Round 3A
(Revisit Round 1 and Round 2)

Let's start with another mini-face off, just for fun. Here are two more great parodies that didn't make our smackdown because I had to limit myself to sixteen songs (for my own sanity) . . .


I Think I'm a Clone Now vs. Like a Surgeon

vs.

Ah, 80s princess pop . . .

Get your vote in before I put up Round 3B and I'll make it count as an extra entry for the "I Love My Friends" Giveaway. ;-)

Now for what you've been waiting for since last week . . .


Round 3A
The "Found It on Ebay" Four

Eat It . . .

What is it about Michael Jackson that made "Weird Al" Yankovic think of food??? Eat It was just the beginning; I'm Fat came next; and finally, the unrecorded Snack All Night.

Then again, the apparent disconnect is precisely what makes this such a perfect parody. And Yankovic's genius sense of humour got that and wrote more than enough of the same to make up his famous "Food Medley". My own favourite for Strangest Pairing is the music of Live and Let Die and the lyrics of Chicken Pot Pie (and not just because Sir Paul McCartney wouldn't agree to an official release because he disagrees with the idea of eating chickens--ROFL!).

Songs like Eat It are simply funny. Food is either something we take for granted or something we take very seriously, but it's not something which inspires much poetry, much less pop songs. (Relevant G.K. Chesterton quote: "Poets have been strangely silent on the subject of cheese.") And when someone goes ahead and writes a song entirely about food, it is a joke anyone in the world can understand.

Leave it to Yankovic to find the one classic theme that the Ancient Greeks completely missed.

. . . Ebay

Poor Ebay! Everyone reading this is thinking that Amish Paradise or Smells Like Nirvana should be here instead--and indeed, pitting one of those parodies of both a song and its music video against the groundbreaking Eat It would really make more sense. But, I ask, would it also make more cheese?

For despite the fact that Ebay was a radio-only single and I have nothing but the album cover to represent it, isn't a "poodle hat" precisely the sort of thing one can buy on the real Ebay?

Besides, you all know that "List Songs" do well here. (You've read/heard my Top 5 Country Music "Lists", right?) In fact the Lists page should probably have a banner with another relevant Chesterton quote: "The greatest of poems is an inventory." And lists really do appeal to us (though in a different way from food), especially when they're made of up of seemingly unrelated elements that become something more than the sum of their parts--as a constellation is always something more than the sum of its stars. However prosaic each individual element is, taken on its own, it helps make something new and beautiful when it is allowed to be part of a list.

And really, a "house . . . full of crap" can't be so bad when it has a Smurf TV tray and an Alf alarm clock! =P


Eat It vs. Ebay

Winner: Eat It--because it was (arguably!) Yankovic's true breakout single, comes with a hilarious music video send up, and is about food.

Image Sources: a) Eat It single, b) Poodle Hat album

21 comments:

christopher said...

After venturing to explore the mysterious depths without getting myself all wet, I have to go with "Like a Surgeon" because of its timelessness although I must admit I like the other one better.

Glad your computer survived the FB attack earlier :)

Dauvit Balfour said...

I think I like "I think I'm a Clone Now" better, so I'll go with that.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

@ Christopher: Ever conscientious, I see! ;-)

(Oh, it will take more than Facebook's petty, scornful attacks to bring this PC down!)

@ Dauvit: I think I like it better, too. There's something about the line "a womb with a view" that gets me every time. =P

Belfry Bat said...

On the one hand, Diva Madonna takes herself much too seriously, not to mention professionally blaspheming pretty much everything holy, so any parody of her music is richly deserved. Nonetheless, I don't even think Like A V. is among her better works --- it's just kind-of annoying; Just Want to Have {Fun|Lunch} (hey! more food!) does better for my parody-senses.

The Tifani is, in this case, a better song and I think the parody does better at subverting the lyric. Think about it: "We're alone now" vs. "I'm a clone now" --- in both there's a clear picture of TWO people, in some kind of isolation, and there's strains of reproduction (or facsimile?) in both... so it's funny!

More food: Waffle King, Grapefruit Diet, Talk Soup isn't *about* food, really, but it's a foody title... Jurasic Park involves people getting eaten...

Anyways, I'm voting for Clone, obviously.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

"Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch vs. Like a Surgeon" was one pairing I came up with for Round 1. Then I listened to the first song again and cringed too much at the interpretation to think of featuring it.

Interestingly, Madonna wanted Yankovic to parody one of her songs, going as far as to pick out Like a Virgin and come up with the title Like a Surgeon herself! I think this is the only time Yankovic has ever taken a request to do a parody.

But yes, Madonna takes herself awfully seriously.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

As much as I almost loathe the 'alone' song, I have to go with the clone song. It is funnier and like Bat explained it is more clever.

Sullivan McPig said...

I'll have to go for Like a surgeon. Both song and video are brilliant

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Interesting! Last week, White and Nerdy won the mini face-off by a landslide, but this week, it looks as if Clone and Surgeon are going to make it a photo finish!

Thanks, Lesa and Sully. =)

Salome Ellen said...

"Clone" all the way...

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Thanks, Ellen! =)

So now Clone is leading by two points!

I wonder if anyone else is still planning to vote . . .

dylan said...

About the GKC quotation: Not all poets have been silent on the subject of cheese! There is Donald Hall's "O Cheese!" and there is Thomas Merton's snarky parody of Joyce Kilmer, featuring the lines:

Poems are naught but warmed-up breeze,
Dollars are made by Trappist Cheese.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Well, that's good to know! Thanks, Dylan. =)

ninjapeps said...

I'm going with Like a Surgeon since it's among the first Weird Al songs I ever heard.

unrelated: The Expendables as explained by an 8-year-old

Paul Stilwell said...

Clone is now ahead three points.

I'm voting even though I've been venerably retired.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Oh, your vote is always welcome, Stilwell. =)

(Yours, too, Peppy! =P)

CMinor said...

Two votes for "Like a Surgeon" from me and the hubby! (or does he have to come on and submit his own?)

"Virgin" is a bit more challenging a song to parody of the two, and Al executed with the skill of a...well, you know. "Alone" doesn't place as many meter and rhyme demands on the parodist and is overall a simpler song, so though "Clone" is funny, we just can't rate it as highly.

Besides, the "Surgeon" video is a marvelous lampoon of Madonna's orgiginal!

CMinor said...

BTW, it was Tommy James and the Shondells (it figures) way before Tiffany!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I'll let his vote count. ;-)

And I hadn't known that Tiffany covered I Think We're Alone Now! Did you know that Cyndi Lauper covered Girls Just Want to Have Fun? (Or if she didn't actually cover an existing version, that the song was originally written for a man?)

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

That is one reason I can hardly bear to listen to 'alone'-- I'm a Tommy James fan and the radio played the Tiffany version to death!! Once or twice would have been alright but millions!!!

CMinor said...

So my increasingly gray-bearded walking Encyclopedia of Rock 'n' Roll tells me--I don't think the lyrics were much altered in Lauper's cover, but I gather the original (recorded in 1979 by some guy whose career escaped my notice at the time) was written to be sung with a leer!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

@ Lesa: That would be a huge deal breaker for me, too, I admit!

@ Cminor: I learned about it after a UK boy band did its own cover of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I was fascinated by how much the meaning changed--and yet still fit--despite the lyrics staying exactly the same.